Despite being second nature to adults, learning how to eat is a complex task. It requires focus and concentration as well as the appropriate foods for growing babies. How infants are seated directly impacts on how much focus they can put into learning to eat. A supportive, safe and comfortable chair will help children engage at meals and concentrate on eating. Without supportive seating the child will be using some of their energy and focus to sit and correct the posture of their body and legs.
For the best position think: 90-90-90 (that’s 90 degree angles for hips, knees and ankles)
Using supportive seating with a foot rest will give the learning eater full body support from the bottom up. The feet should be comfortably flat on the footrest. The adjustable footrest feature of the Tripp Trapp make this easy at every age.
Hip position and knees can also be at the ideal 90 degree angle by sliding the seat segment forward or back and adding a back support to move the torso forward and allow knees to comfortably fold over the edge of the seating plate.
For a paediatric dietitian to have success with introducing a wide and healthy diet including finger foods these seating needs are paramount. Concentration and focus on eating allow the child to learn to chew new textures and use fine motor skills to pick up foods and learn to self-feed. A child who is comfortable and well supported will find it easier to self-regulate and eat what they need at each meal rather than stopping a meal due to fidgeting or distraction. This is often discomfort disguised and often these children are labelled a fussy eater.
Great seating combined with nutritious and colourful foods appropriate for their stage of eating will create a positive eating experience. Children who enjoy getting into their high chair and are excited about having a meal are less fussy and eat a wider variety of foods. Great seating helps create great eaters.
Author: Lauren Gladman – Accredited practicing dietitian (APD) specialising in infant, children and adolescent nutrition for 16 years. Mum to Isla, 8 years and Finn, 6 years and Ted 2 years .