Refuses to sit in high chair to eat

Nicole - posted on 01/02/2011 ( 23 moms have responded )

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My daughter Lucy absolutely screams and goes into hysterics when we put her in her high chair to eat. She has been sick for a little over a week and wasn't eating much so we didn't have her in her chair then, but tonight she had a fit (the first I have seen other than when we go to the doctors) in the living room for awhile (on the floor, crying, shaking). I think we've ruled out sickness, a stomach issue (she"ll gladly eat animal crackers in the living room) and think maybe this is a phase? Our sitter said she was having some issues with Lucy several weeks ago with her not sitting in her high chair there for lunch and wanting to snack all the time. The sitter didn't give her snacks and when Lucy was hungry, simply put her back in her high chair (again and again). The only thing that worked tonight was putting her baby in her high chair and letting lucy feed her. Even then she only ate a few bites and only sat in her high chair to have 2 animal crackes after dinner. Any suggestions? Anyone else going through this? Lucy will be 20months on the 12th. Thanks!

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Nicole - posted on 01/05/2011

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third day lucy sat in her seat...we'll see what tonight brings. we realized we were giving her some light snacks before dinner (she acted hungry) and this prompted her to refuse her dinner...or not want it (duh right?) so no more treats until after dinner

Melissa - posted on 01/17/2011

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My daughter is so much of a wiggle worm. I figured out (after the highchair refusal episodes) that she will eat, at the table, with the rest of the adults, if she can stand in a regular chair She must have ants in her pants! It's not the best practice, but I feel it's the best for her (and us parents) for right now. I try to think about what will work best if we go out to eat. We sit in a booth and the booster leaves her still too low. A highchair doesn't let her wiggle and she feels confined/ clausterphobic. If I let her stand, she will at least do everything else I ask of her, including eating. I've picked my battles carefully.

Tiffani - posted on 01/15/2011

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Yeah, my daughter just sits at the table in a chair-with arms, it's supposed to be a patio set chair- on her knees and eats with the family. She would actually climb out of her highchair and perch on the tray if I put her in the highchair, so this is definitely safer and she eats more. The not eating more than a few bites is probably a phase. She's probably in between growth spurts and isn't hungry very much. My son is going through that and my husband is scared to death he's going to get sick from not eating. The doctor assures us children that age won't starve themselves, just make the good food at meal times and healthy snacks through out the day available to her. She'll eat when she's ready.

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23 Comments

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Dana - posted on 01/23/2011

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WOW, I am experiencing the same thing. My so William is also 20 months and he recently started refusing to sit in his highchair. I have not been able to figure it out because as a rule I have always put him in the chair for all 3 meals ever since he has been eatting meals. It is really becoming a problem because he is refusing to eat. Then he wants to snack. I am asuming that this is a phase and I am going to stick my ground and continue to put him in the chair. Thanks

Amanda - posted on 01/19/2011

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I posted a response on the 2nd and guess what... my little gremlin hit an ABSOLUTE refusal to sit in her high chair AT ALL anymore. We ended up switching to a booster and now she sits like a little lady at the table with the rest of the family... go figure. Isn't it funny how quickly things change with our kids!

Tiffany - posted on 01/10/2011

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my daughter won't sit in her high chair either because at daycare she sits at a little table with chairs to eat so i had to buy her a booster seat and she seems to like it much better and doesn't usually fight and she enjoys sitting at the table like an adult

Roshawnda - posted on 01/09/2011

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My daughter has a problem with sitting in her high chair to eat cuz she sees her brothers in a big chair, so I suggest u gt the chair that connects to the adult chair and u should be fine.

Kelly - posted on 01/07/2011

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My 20 month old didn't want to sit in her high chair either so we got her a booster seat to sit at the table with us. She used it for 2 days and now we ask her what chair she would like to use: "the big girl chair" or her high chair...she almost always picks her high chair now! go figure, but no more tantrums! :D

Amy - posted on 01/06/2011

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My son started this a couple months ago and we got a booster seat like his big brother and he really likes it now. He usually sits in a booth with us in restaurants too...no more high chairs for him :)

Simone - posted on 01/06/2011

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Its definitely a phase that they go through. This is the time when they're showing some form of independence. My little one only sits around her toddler table to eat and refuses to sit in her high anymore. Including feeding herself most of the time.

Tiffany - posted on 01/05/2011

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My daughter has refused to sit and eat in her chair for a few months now. I gave up and just put her plate at the coffee table since we still don't have a kitchen table. That is next thing on my list to get along w/ a booster seat.

Lela - posted on 01/05/2011

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Yea we started using a booster seat about two months ago. I wanted my son (19.5 months) to get use to seating at the table before I needed to start using the highchair for my 3.5 month old daughter.

Rhionna - posted on 01/04/2011

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We gat an adjustable height chair so our kids sit at the table with us and my DD will climb up herself, it gives the feeling of a little independance and can be adjusted to suit toddlers to young children. My 4 and 5 year olds have them too!

Nicole - posted on 01/04/2011

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The chair I am using now and have been is kind of like a travel chair...it ties right to the chair and pulls up to the table. We had another episode last night. We kept persistent and let Lucy have her fit in the living room while we ate in the dining room. I tried to get her twice and she started screaming the moment she saw the dining room table and went right into the kitchen for her animal crackers (which we now have hidden). The third time I went and got her she let me hold her at the table and she ate. She recently transitioned out of the chair at the daycare...I am wondering if this, her age, and being sick recently (not being in her high chair at home) are all contributing. It's just so hard because I don't want her to go hungry but I don't want to let her eat in front of the tv or walking around with snacks either. I may go out and buy a booster seat today...

Carolyn - posted on 01/04/2011

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I got rid of the high chair a couple months ago, mainly bc he had a big nasty poop that was all over including the straps, so I had to cut them out and after that I got rid of it bc my little monkey wouldnt sit.
The best suggestion I would have it getting a travel chair.,
I have one by the first years. It ties to the chair at the table so she can feel like she is included in the meal rather than off to the side. Its washable and folds so you can bring it with u when you travel to have dinner at other peoples homes.
Good Luck

Laura - posted on 01/04/2011

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Be persistent, I had this when my daughter was about 12 months. Once she realised that mummy wasn't going to give in to her then she soon sat down and ate her dinner. I agree with Deirdre, when she is hungry she will be more co-operative. :)

Deirdre' - posted on 01/03/2011

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I had the same problem for about 1 week, I was persistent about the high chair , even if it was just for a few minutes at a time, she got over it and now is fine in it again. I think this happened when she was in her stage of not wanting to eat, once she started getting hungry again she was happy to get up there. Good luck!

Nicole - posted on 01/03/2011

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We have a tabletop type highchair that goes right up to the table too...hope she gets better with this!

Kim - posted on 01/03/2011

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My high chair turns into a booster. I took it apart and put it on a dining room chair slid it up to the table and have not had any trouble since. My son just turned 20 months.

Nicole - posted on 01/02/2011

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Thanks everyone! The highchair we have goes right up to the table (it hooks onto a regular chair). I don't think the sitter has used it for a time out (at least I hope not) and we don't do anything else other than eat there. We did let Lucy get down several times only to put her back in when she pointed to snacks in the kitchen or wanted daddy to hold her to eat. I am considering a booster...

Amanda - posted on 01/02/2011

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My little girl is going through this phase too. It is for meals only. When we have art time she sits in her chair and paints while my son is at the table. She is always right in the middle of the action so it isn't that she is feeling left out. We went through a bought of sickness too but still asked her to sit in the chair during meals. If she didn't want to eat we gave her a magnetic writing board to keep busy. Any time she wants to eat or drink she sits back in the high chair because I don't want food and drinks around my house. We don't use sippy cups anymore and I dread what my carpets would look like. If she gets hungry enough, eventually she is going to eat if you offer it in the chair.

I wouldn't force her to sit if she doesn't want to. If my daughter wants down, she is allowed down, and there have been a few times she walks right over to daddy and wants to sit on his lap and be fed -- so back in the chair she goes. There is usually crying and tears, but if you let her keep getting away with it then she will keep pushing boundaries.

Rebekah - posted on 01/02/2011

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Hmm... My daughter hasn't sat in a high chair in a very long time. Could you try a booster seat? Or sit her at a small table with a chair her own size.

Kandice - posted on 01/02/2011

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Kamrynn did not enjoy her high chair for a while either. I started letting her sit in it & "paint" her tray with a teaspoon of pudding while I was prepping her meal. I also let her color or other fun activities in it.

*Also, make sure your babysitter hasn't used the high chair as a "babysitter" or for a time out. Sometimes something as little as that can make them not want to be in it.

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