When little ones reach their developmental milestones, it can be exciting – almost a cause for celebration! One such exciting moment is introducing them to the world of solid foods. But every baby has different needs and abilities. While some babies may be ready to start eating solid foods earlier, others may need to wait a bit longer.
Is Your Baby Ready?
When it comes to your baby's readiness for solid foods, a good sitting position is key. How your little one is sitting during mealtime can greatly affect how they bring the food to their mouth and how well they can chew it.
When a baby can sit up independently, without slouching or falling over, they are better equipped to handle solid foods. This is because proper body alignment, good head and neck control, and stability at the hips are all associated with stability at the jaws, which is important for chewing and bringing food to the mouth.
Sitting Up Right?
To check whether your baby is ready to sit independently, you can place them on the floor and observe how well they can hold themselves up without any support. If they can sit without falling over or needing any assistance for a few minutes, they are likely ready to start trying solid foods.
Whether they sit up or fall/slouch over, do not fret. Every baby has their own pace of learning and developing!
Another way to gradually extend their sitting time is to put them in a high chair or have them sit on your lap with minimal support. That’s why getting a high chair or booster seat is a nice way to get them to practice a good sitting position.
What’s a Good Sitting Position?
It’s called the 90 90 90 rule, which means that:
1. their back is straight at 90 degrees,
2. their hips are at 90 degrees, and
3. their knees are at 90 degrees.
If your baby’s sitting in a high chair, their feet should be on a footrest or on the floor straight down, not dangling in the air.
If your baby’s sitting on your lap, make sure you’re supporting them just enough to maintain stability, but not so much that they are not able to sit up independently.
Choosing the Right High Chair for your Baby
When babies spend mealtime in their brand new high chairs, they must be at the same level as the table, so their elbows can rest comfortably on the table and their feet can be comfortably resting on a footrest or flat (never dangling). Some chairs even come with adjustable footrests, which are useful for babies as they grow in height.
Here are some helpful tips for buying the right high chair:
1) Make sure that your baby can sit straight up and is not slouching or falling to the side. This will ensure that they are able to maintain good posture while eating.
2) Sometimes babies may be able to sit independently on the floor (yay!) but not in the high chair. That’s okay too. It just means that the chair perhaps lacks good positioning. What you can do is add some support using a rolled-up towel or find a chair that's a better fit for your little one.
3) Some booster chairs or wooden chairs might be too big for them, which can make their position more unstable.
4) Don’t buy a high chair that has a reclining feature. It’s of no use for your little one; reclining chairs are best suited only for adults!
Sitting Indian-Style During Mealtimes
Many parents don’t use a high chair and the baby joins the family as they sit Indian-style on the floor. That’s perfectly fine too! But here are some tips to make sure your baby practices good sitting position while on your lap:
Some parents prefer to have their baby sit with them on the floor during mealtime, and that's okay! Here are some tips to ensure that your baby maintains good sitting posture while on your lap:
Avoid these positions during mealtime with your baby:
In case your baby is not yet sitting independently, don’t fret! They probably need more tummy time. Indulge in more tummy time activities here until your little one feels more comfortable and confident to sit upright!
Also, remember babies have great grasping power and are quick learners, so your little one will sit up soon enough.