Safe positioning when feeding your baby solids

07/05/2021

Safe feeding positions

When starting solids, many parents like to begin with their child in a high chair if they can sit up themselves, but you can also offer to feed your baby on your lap facing to the side or in front. Most importantly, feed them in a semi-upright or upright position.

When choosing a safe high chair, look for any safety standards label (such as EN, ASTM or ISO Standards) and one that is sturdy and stable with a harness with straps that go over the shoulders and hips and between the legs. If it has wheels, make sure the wheels can be locked and look for a simple design that’s easy to clean! High chairs are useful until your child is two or three years old.

Either way, make sure your baby is comfortable and that their feet are supported, rather than dangling from the chair. The tray height should allow your child’s elbows to rest comfortably on the top, usually at elbow height or just a little higher than elbow height. If the tabletop is too low your child will end up hunched forwards, and too high they will scrunch their shoulders up high.

It’s important to feed your baby front on so they are not turning their head to you and remember to always stay with your baby while they are eating. Where possible, feed your child in a quiet area with less distractions.

Unsafe feeding positions

It’s unsafe to feed your baby lying in a cot, the bath or whilst you are driving. It’s also not recommended to feed in on the floor or on cushions.

Kidsafe recommends extreme caution when using a booster seat or a hook-on seat because children can easily be injured if they are used wrongly.

Sitting to the side of your baby requires them to turn their head to the side for food. Your child’s trunk is less stable this way and they are not feeding with head in the midline position. So best to feed them directly in front of you!

Where possible, try to avoid feeding in areas that have a lot of noise and distractions like the TV.

References:

  1. National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013). Eat for Health – Infant Feeding Guidelines Information for Health Workers. Available from: https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/publications/infant-feeding-guidelines-information-health-workers
  2. Better Health Channel Baby Furniture – safety tips. Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/baby-furniture-safety-tips?viewAsPdf=true
  3. Kidsafe – high chair safety. Available from: https://www.kidsafensw.org/imagesDB/wysiwyg/HighChairSafety09_2016.pdf

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