The basic equipment needed for feeding solids

Despite what your wife and mother-in-law have told you, you need minimal equipment to start the baby’s journey into eating.

All that is really needed is a small plastic feeding bowl because your baby has such a small stomach. A feeding bowl with rounded edges and a suction base comes in handy because the bowl then sticks to the table because junior will without a doubt, try to test gravity…

A soft-edged spoon for easy feeding. Some spoons are heat sensitive and change colour if the food is too hot. Your baby’s car seat OR a highchair should be used once your baby is sitting unsupported, usually at the age of 6 months, for
easy feeding.

  • A protective mat to cover the floor.
  • A large plastic sheet or black bag torn open will also do.
  • A bib or clean tea towel to catch food spills.

Tips for choosing a high chair

A highchair gives your child a safe place to experiment with food. It also makes it easy for you to supervise meals – and clean up afterwards. Basic highchairs will do the job, but some high-end models hold up better to wear and tear and can be more useful in the long run.

Type and style:

This will vary depending on your wife’s taste, but you need to stay focused. Do you have space for it? And remember, bigger is not better! Your child may use a highchair until age 2 or 3.

Ease of cleaning:

Starting your baby on solids is a messy experience which lasts for a long time. Check the seat, harness, tray, and frame for hard-to-wipe areas, and if you find too many, go for a different model. Choose one where the seat and harness can be wiped clean or where the tray can be removed.

Tray:

The tray should be able to detach without difficulty to allow access to the table once your baby is bigger. Some trays can be placed in the dishwasher; however, all trays should fit easily in the sink for cleaning.

Versatility:

Some highchairs convert to a booster seat or kid-sized chair to use when your child is older. Be careful though, these are often bulky and take up a lot of space.

Adjustability:

Chair height adjustment is handy, as is an adjustable tray to make sure your child’s tummy isn’t squeezed as he grows. Each adjustment should lock securely into place.

Sturdiness:

Chairs with wide bases are harder to tip over. Give the chair a couple of shakes to check for stability.

Comfort:

Padded seats are easier on your baby’s bottom; a footrest is a nice feature for older babies. The seams along the front of the seat must not have sharp edges. Check the bottom of the tray for holes or sharp edges that could hurt your child’s fingers.

Safety Harness:

Choose a high chair with a safety harness. The 5-point harness is generally more secure. A3-point harness and crotch post will keep your child from standing up or slipping out. The buckle should not be easy to open. Harness straps should adjust to accommodate your growing child. Use the harness whenever your baby is in the high chair.

Wheels:

These make it easy to move a highchair. Make sure the wheels lock to prevent accidental roll-away’s.

Safety Standards:

Look for the SABS logo. This national body promotes and maintains the standards and quality of all childcare equipment that are available in South Africa.

Company:

Buy from a well-known company that will be able to provide after-service and spare parts. It might not be the one beautiful high-chair that your wife wants, but when you need spare parts, she will be grateful that you were so sensible.

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