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Baby at the Dinner Table
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Baby at the Dinner Table
My almost 4 mo. old is too young for a high chair, but is
getting too big and active for our current method of having
him join us at the table: putting him in his quilt-lined
bathtub (with a reclined back) on a non-skid pad on the
We like to have him at that height so we can converse with
him and enjoy his company when we're at the table or doing
chores nearby, although he happily spends time playing on the
floor at other times. He already spends time in the bjorn
or sling but what we want here is something different.
Not only is the bathtub seeming unsafe, he tries and tries to
sit up in it, even though he can't yet, just as he does in his
car seat. It looks uncomfortable to be in a perpetual sit-up!
So ideally the solution wouldn't be at that carseat type angle,
but maybe this is impossible and I just have to wait until he's
old enough for the high chair.
How do other people include babies this age in life at the
table or in the kitchen?
Have you checked out bouncy seats? They are certainly not completely
upright, but a lot if not most of them are at an angle from which the
baby can see and interact without having to strain. My son lived in
his--I finally reluctantly gave it up way past when I was supposed to
(when he could sit up by himself) because it was the best way to keep
him nearby and yet safe. They all have straps of some kind, so
there's no danger of a non-mobile infant getting out, and they are
sturdy; they only become a hazard, theoretically, when the baby can
sit up enough to tip one over. But, as I said, mine was so happy in
his that it was not a problem until he was crawling. I could keep
him with me this way when I showered, cleaned house, etc. The bouncy
was one of the few baby items my one child actually wore out.
Our son is almost 5 months old, and beginning at around 4 months we also
wanted him to be at the table with us or higher up off the floor while we
were working in the kitchen. He seemed/seems happier that way, and at 4
months was already thrashing around in his "bouncy seat" and giving us the
impression that it was unsafe to put him in that up on the table or
counter. So we did actually switch to a high chair at that point, albeit a
reclining one. We bought a Chicco Mamma, since it had both wheels (to move
him around if we weren't eating), and a seat that reclined to several
positions while leaving the tray in a flat position. We've kept it
reclined so far, and give him toys to play with while we eat. That way
he's up "with us," but not sitting straight up. He really seems to like it.
When my son was this age I put him in his stroller and kept this
next to the table. Although not at eye level, I still talked to him
quite a bit and interacted with him. Also, from the stroller's roof
I hung (using those plastic links) various small toys for him to play
with. Perhaps this will work for you.
Our son started joining us at the table before he was ready for a
conventional high chair in one of those chairs you attach to the table. It
clamps onto the table and has an extra secure seatbelt with a strap that
goes between the legs. He's very secure in there and it's great to have him
with us during meals or when we're hanging out in the kitchen. I think we
started him in it at about 4.5 months. Good luck! Elizabeth
My now 14 months old daughter "sat" with us on the table until very recently
in the chair of a baby swing (Graco in our case) The seat is very rigid so
she couldn't move it and confortable enough.
You could also go for a reclinable highchair (Peg Perego makes one for
instance) that can be used right away even if your baby doesn't seat up yet.
I agree with you that it is very pleasant- and important- to share the meal
time with baby at the table...
We used a "bouncer" which is a little cloth seat with a seat belt for
newborn to about 25 pounds, and this works great. You can get them
at Target- I just bought a super delux model for a friend for $28.
There are some for less.
Two things we did: in the carseat, with straps over the arms so the baby
can't wiggle out. And in a bouncy chair -- the wire frame seats, with
cloth covers, some come with a battery to vibrate which can sooth a
getting-fussy baby. The angle is similar to the car seat, so maybe that
doesn't solve your problem.
There ARE high chairs that recline for very young babies. I think the
expensive models like Peg Perego offer this. Might not be worth the money
to you for the short time you'd need that feature. See the book "Baby
Bargains" to find out more about these high chairs.
We dealt with this by buying a high chair that had a reclined for
infants option (ours is the Cosco 5-in-1 high chair). This high chair
has the foot rest come off and the chair reclines to an angle like a car
seat, but still on the high chair frame so you can easily feed them at
the table or from a chair. Their belted in which is comforting, and at
some point you just simply switch it to regular high-chair mode. You
could also use one of those baby carrier car-seat kind of things, but
that too will only last a little while until they are wiggling more and
more. Good luck!
I used a bouncy seat to feed my son at that age. It's a lightweight fabric
seat on a light metal frame that bounces when the baby kicks his legs and has
a small battery powered vibrating motor that always put him to sleep. It
also has a seat belt to hold him in. It was a life saver when he needed to
take naps and wanted to hang out with me. I could set it on the table and do
dishes or whatever while it to lulled him to sleep. You have to be very
careful when placing it on a table because if you have an active baby he
could kick so hard he scoots himself off the edge of the table. My son never
did that but you never know. Anyway, I think it's made by Fisher-Price and
it's called a vibrating bouncer. Every mom I know had one.
When our daughter was about 4 months old, we made a major investment and
bought the prima pappa high chair that reclines (it is very expensive).
That way she could join us at meals as she was able to sit in the chair in
the reclined position. We do not regret buying the chair. It has wheels
and we roll her around to different areas in it, it folds easily so we were
able to bring it with us to a beach house this summer, and the tray comes
off very easily for easy clean-up. The only down-side we have found with
the chair is the cost, and the nooks where our now 9 1/2 month old daughter
"hides" dozens of cherrios and various other foods. Lisa
this page was last updated: Dec 27, 2004
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