Ready to start weaning and not sure what highchair to contain your child in? Unfortunately, a lot of the options out there are pretty useless…
Fear not, though, our handy guide features a chair for every taste, budget and type of eater.
1. Best for posture: Stokke Tripp Trapp
Why we love it: Mostly because it doesn’t look like a huge hunk of plastic sitting in your kitchen. It also comes in a pleasing selection of colours (we have a red one and a duck-egg blue one, although if I could have my time again I would potentially go for chic whitewash numbers), tucks neatly under the table and crucially, grows with your child so that in theory they can be sitting in it until adulthood. It also gives them naturally good posture when they’re sitting in it, so no more baby slumped around a set of straps.
The downsides: It doesn’t come with any sort of tray arrangement, which means your child basically has to sit with you at the table (and spread all their attendant mess into your eating space). You also have to pay more for all the extras, whether it’s a basic bar to keep them in or a baby attachment that means you can use it from when they’re tiny.
From £178, Mothercare
2. Best on a budget: Ikea Antilop
Why we love it: When funds are tight, there is no better highchair you could buy. And, as well as being cheap as chips, the Antilop is also dead easy to clean, comes with a handy detachable tray, so when they stop chucking food around you can push them up to the table with you, and the legs come off too, which makes it easy to store or take with you when you travel.
The downsides: It takes up quite a lot of floorspace, so you’ll need a dedicated corner to put it when you’re not using it. And it’s not the most attractive piece of furniture – but then, most highchairs aren’t.
3. Best for travel: Phil & Teds Lobster
Why we love it: Because it folds down into nothing and you can take it anywhere, which means no more balancing the baby on your knee while your partner shovels food into its’ mouth (and you pray that it doesn’t get dropped all over you). Perfect for keeping in the back of the car.
The downsides: It won’t clip onto a table that doesn’t have a lip/overhand. And you can’t take the actual seat bit off the frame to wash it.
4. Best for style: Baby Bjorn Appetite
Why we love it: As with everything from the Bjorn stable, this ergonomic highchair is super-stylish and easy to use. There are no fiddly straps; instead, your child is held in by the tray, which locks snugly into place around their tummy while they’re in it (perfect if your child’s a mini Houdini). No staps also means no scrubbing ingrained food – another bonus. Parents rave about how easy it is to clean – no cracks for food to disappear into, and you can remove the tray-top to give it a scrub. You can also fold it up one-handed and it is super-lightweight, so easy to move around and store.
The downsides: It’s not huge, and although it’s supposed to hold a three-year-old, if you’ve got a chunky one, you might find they begin to dwarf it. No rim to the tray also means food slides off fairly easily. It’s also quite low (roughly the height of your table), which is great when they’re small and you’re sitting down next to it to feed your babe, but not so great when you want to be able to pull them up to the table to join in.
£199, Baby Bjorn
5. Best for longevity: Oxo Tot Sprout
Why we love it: Because you can use it from six months to five – you can adjust the seat height and depth and the footrest height (no tools needed – hurrah for un-handy types), and you can take the tray off when your baby’s ready to join you at the table. The crotch post, tray and harness then come off, turning it into a youth chair once your child turns three. It’s also super-comfy with all its nice padded plastic (wipeable) cushions.
The downsides: It ain’t cheap. And the pristine white tray won’t stay white for long, as it gets stained by things like carrot and butternut squash – annoying when you’ve forked out that much for a high chair.