Why am I talking about the Stokke high chair or the Ikea high chair? What's so special or notable about these chairs?
I remember when I was pregnant and we were registering for all of the baby gear that we thought we would need. I spent hours researching what we wanted! It was important to me to only get things that we would use, and things that had great reviews.
As a dietitian who focuses on helping families start solid foods, you can imagine that the baby high chair we registered for was incredibly important to me. I wanted to find the absolute best high chair out there.
After lots of hemming and hawing about the price, we ended up registering for, and ultimately getting, the Stokke Tripp Trapp. We also got the Ikea Antilop highchair to have as a second high chair at my parents house.
After using the highchairs for a good deal of time now, I thought I would summarize their good and bad points so you don't need to re-invent the wheel when it comes time to buy a high chair.
High Chair Basics
I look for two main things in a high chair.
- It needs to be easy to clean. That means no cushions, plastic padding, nooks and crannies. I want to be able to wipe down everything! I’m pretty sure my worst nightmare around this stuff is finding crumbs in plastic crevices. Don’t ask me why!
- It needs to promote good posture. It is incredibly important as you start feeding your baby that they are sitting well in their chair with their hips properly positioned and their feet on a foot rest. No slouching, slipping down, or slumping to the side. Dangling feet can be very distracting, as can overall improper posture.
Stokke Tripp Trapp
Let’s start with the Stokke high chair, as this is our daily high chair.
Is the Stokke High Chair really worth it?
I’ll get right to the gist of it. YES!
As someone who is fairly frugal and doesn’t take big purchases lightly, you won’t find me recommending expensive things very often.
But this high chair is so worth it, and I can tell you that if/when we have another baby, we will be buying another one for them.
I could care less about name brands, or trends, or anything like that. Something doesn’t get my recommendation unless it functions well. That’s the bottom line for all my baby purchases. So while the Tripp Trapp might theoretically be trendy for some, that is besides the point here.
The number one thing I love about the Stokke high chair is how it positions my baby at the table.
Her hips are positioned correctly 100% of the time, her feet are firmly planted on the foot rest, and she is right at the table sitting just like us. She can’t slouch down or pull up a knee in the Tripp Trapp.
Good posture promotes good feelings around meal times. You’d be surprised at how fussy a baby that is uncomfortable in their high chair can be. That’s not a good meal time for anyone!
As a dietitian, I help people learn proper nutrition for their kids. But an even more important part of my job is helping to teach how to feed kids. In my mind the how is infinitely more important than the what when it comes to good health and a healthy relationship with food.
This chair in and of itself is a great starting block for promoting good feelings around meal times!
It properly positions your baby and allows them to sit right at the table with you. Both infinitely important things in the how of feeding.
When we originally got the Stokke high chair, we got the baby set, as well.
If I had to do it again, I would save myself the extra $30 dollars and only buy the infant insert. We have never used the cushion (see #1 above!), and the tray sits in our closet and has also never been used. One of the reasons this chair is so great is because it allows your baby to be right at the table with you. The tray would defeat that purpose, and in my mind is simply not necessary.
Baby Led Weaning and the Tripp Trapp
From a baby led weaning standpoint, this chair is ideal. It allows you to eat with your baby, which is an important part of teaching your baby how to eat.
It also keeps your baby secure without the use of the straps. While I’m not recommending you don’t use the harness, as all babies are different and using the straps is definitely a good safety practice, sometimes they can be a hindrance.
When babies first start eating they do tend to gag more. I like easy access to babies in case I need to intervene at all. This harness can be cumbersome to unlock and could potentially waste several precious seconds in the event intervention is needed. I like knowing that my baby is secure and can’t climb or slip out of the high chair, without the need for the straps.
While this really doesn’t have much influence in what I think of the chair’s usefulness and my overall review, it does look very nice at our table. It has a small footprint, and doesn’t scream out baby high chair. We have the gray one, just like the rest of the chairs at the table.
A last plus
While this chair is definitely an investment, the fact that you can use it for years as your child grows is huge. We will be using this throughout our daughter's entire childhood. That means it will never turn into another baby item that your kid grows out of. You don't have to figure out how to get rid of it or store it. It’s usefulness is endless!
The Ikea high chair is $23. I feel like that in and of itself is huge! It is unheard to find a decent, new, chair for that price. That is quite the large plus right there.
This chair is all hard plastic. That means it is incredibly easy to clean, and meets criteria #1 above for a high chair.
It’s legs are removable, making it very easy to store. We keep this at my parents house, and they are able to store it in a small closet while it’s not being used.
That means that it is a great portable chair, as well. We’ve taken this to other people’s houses, and even camping. It provides more structure for a younger baby than just the average travel booster, so can be great for trips taken in the car.
The Ikea High Chair Negatives
My biggest gripe with this chair is that it really doesn’t do much at all for positioning your baby properly.
It’s bucket seat is very large compared to the Stokke High Chair. That means that babies can easily move around in it, slouch, bring their legs up, etc.
Once my daughter hit about 9 months and realized that she had control of her body, she started sitting sideways in it to look down the table at other people. And pulling her leg up like this picture. No good for eating.
It also has no foot rest. This is the most glaring omission of the chair, and in and of itself means that I can’t recommend it.
Foot rests are so important to help set up a good mealtime environment! How would you feel if you could never rest your feet on something while in a chair? It’s distracting and can be uncomfortable for babies.
Another negative that doesn’t necessarily have to do with the baby actually sitting in the chair is the way the legs are spread. They go down from the chair angled out. This means that the base of the leg area is much wider than the chair. And inevitably results in stubbed toes when we are using it. Every. Single. Time. Not a deal breaker, but a good to know!
Baby led weaning and the Ikea High Chair
This chair is quite popular among the baby led weaning crowd. And I can see why with it’s price. But again, I have a big gripe about it.
It comes with a tray, which works well for what it is, but the tray is literally impossible to get off. We store the chair with the tray on and legs off because we gave up trying to remove it.
When the tray is off, the high chair doesn’t have much in front to keep the baby contained, even when strapped in. So while pushing your baby up and under the table could help to keep them contained some, the chair in and of itself doesn’t do much for that. That means that having your baby right at the table with you in this high chair is much more difficult than it is in the Tripp Trapp.
The Antilop has its place
Here’s the thing. I can’t argue with the usefulness of a very easy to clean, $23 high chair.
But I definitely can’t recommend that anyone use it on a daily basis. As a second high chair to pull out or keep at the grandparents, it is excellent. It travels well, too.
But the dangling legs and positioning of the baby really leave a lot to be desired. So I wouldn’t plan to have this as a primary chair.
Coming back to the price
If you can’t tell already, I am a huge fan of the Stokke Tripp Trapp. I think it is absolutely worth the price, and have zero regrets about getting it. If you look around at reviews of other people that have it, it is rare to see anyone really regretting their purchase.
Babies spend a significant portion of their lives in their high chairs once they reach 6 months, and I think it is important that you have one that sets your baby up to succeed.
But the Tripp Trapp is by no means the only high chair that can do that.
I don’t pretend to have tried out all the other high chairs on the market. I’ve seen many of them, and read a ton of reviews. There are other ones that can come close to the Stokke high chair, I’m sure.
If you don’t have the money for the Tripp Trapp, buying a cheaper one that meets the ergonomic requirements I mentioned above will be a great step. But do your best to find one with at a minimum a foot rest! Your baby will thank you, even if they can’t say it with words.
And if there’s any way that getting a Stokke Tripp Trapp fits into your budget, or you have a family member or friend who would buy it for you off of your registry, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It is a parent’s best friend when starting solid foods. Then you can keep the Antilop for trips or the grandparents house.