upseat with baby playing with toys on tray

The Best Floor Seat for Baby, Recommended by an OT

I was gifted this product in exchange for writing this post. This post contains affiliate links. I only ever recommend products I use personally or professionally.

As an occupational therapist and busy mom of 2, I understand both the need to have a convenient and safe place to put your baby, as well as the negative impact baby equipment can have on infant development.

The Upseat is the best baby floor seat out there and was designed with baby’s development in mind. I will dive into why I love the Upseat, but let’s talk about some important things first.

The Importance of Floor Time for Babies

baby doing floor time

If I’m going to recommend baby equipment, I also have to reinforce the importance floor time. It’s 100% okay to use equipment to keep baby in a confined, safe place while you do the many things parents have to do. It’s okay to put baby in a swing for 15 minutes while you fold a load of laundry. And it’s okay to use a baby seat for 15 minutes while you prepare a meal.

This becomes an issue when baby is spending an hour per day in the car seat, another hour in the car seat when used on the stroller as a travel system, and then uses swings, bouncers, and seats when they get home. You can see how the time in these “containers” as therapists refer to them, can really add up quickly.

So make sure you are spending just as much time giving baby full freedom of movement without significant confinement. This could mean rolling around on the floor, playing on their back in a pack-and-play, or doing tummy time on your chest. It’s important to allow baby to spend time each day moving their body freely to develop appropriate muscle strength, movement patterns, and motor skills.

So now let’s discuss floor seats…

The Problem with Other Floor Seats

Occupational and Physical Therapists have historically discouraged parents from using floor seats due to the negative effects they can have on development. This is because the first seats to become popular positioned babies with their pelvis in posterior tilt (tilted back) which causes slouching and limits the activation of core muscles. They also tend to keep the hips too close together and some limit the ability of the hips to move.

The International Hip Dysplasia Institute cautions against using baby equipment that keeps the legs in a straight position or prevents hip mobility. This can increase the risk of abnormal hip development or hip dysplasia.

The front portion of sling style chairs are also often too high for young babies, limiting the use of their arms.

Why the Upseat is the Best Baby Floor Seat

upseat with baby sitting in it

The Upseat does the opposite of the poor positioning mentioned in the previous section.

The Ergonomics of the Upseat:

  • Positions baby’s pelvis in anterior tilt
  • Encourages an upright position
  • Encourages core muscle activation
  • Positions the hips wide (abducted with some external rotation)
  • Allows for some freedom of movement of the hips
upseat for fine motor skills

Other reasons to love the Upseat:

  • Has a safety harness strap
  • Easy to clean (seat is made of polyurethane foam, tray is made of food grade plastic). The tray is even dishwasher safe!
  • Removable tray that is easy to put on and take off with one hand
  • Can be used as a booster on an adult chair
upseat strapped to kitchen chair with baby

The Upseat’s instructions states that the age range it can be used for is from 4 months to 2 years with a weight limit of 30lbs or 13.6kg. Baby should have good head control before using this seat.

If your baby is beginning to lean backwards, they recommend either purchasing the Splat Mat to place under the floor seat, or only use the seat as a booster.

Upseat also has an Ergonomic Toddler Booster Seat that can be used starting at 18 months.

You can purchase Upseat products directly from their website. They have free shipping and returns within 30 days! They even sell refurbished products which are products that were returned but are still in great condition, if you’re on a budget!

Click here and use my affiliate link and enter my code THRIVELITTLE10 to save 10% off your order!

You can also find Upseat on Amazon (affiliate link) if you prefer!

How to use the Upseat to Support Development

As babies get older and become more aware of their surroundings, they often love to be in an upright position. Whether they are being held upright in your arms or sitting in a seat, this position allows them to have a better view of the world. Babies are naturally driven to want to learn about their environment and being able to see what’s going on around them helps them to do that.

Supported sitting helps younger babies (4-8 mos) work on upper trunk control which they will need in order to sit completely upright independently.

Babies can work on fine motor skills while sitting in the Upseat thanks to the tray! Babies can start to pick up objects from a table surface typically between 4-5 months of age. This is a very different skill than reaching for objects you dangle over them while they lay on their back.

It is easiest for baby’s grasp patterns to develop when picking objects from a table surface while sitting. Learning to pick toys up from a table surface is essential to self-feeding skills and the more refined their grasping abilities are, the easier it will be for them to feed themselves.

When babies first hold small objects, they use a palmar grasp (3-6 months)

palmar grasp
Palmar grasp

Babies then begin to incorporate using their thumb more, which is a called a radial palmar grasp (5-8 months). The object is still touching their palm with this grasp.

radial palmar grasp
Radial palmar grasp

As they continue to use their thumb even more, they can move objects further away from their palm, radial digital grasp (6-10 months)

radial digital grasp
Radial digial grasp

By 8-10 months, most babies will begin to use a pincer grasp which is using the thumb and the index finger to pick up something very small

pincer grasp
Pincer grasp

Using the Upseat to help baby to sit with good support is a great way to work on grasp pattern development. You can give baby toys of various shapes and sizes, just nothing too small that would be considered a choking hazard! Except for food of course, if your baby is eating solids.

Using the Upseat as a Feeding Chair

It is typically recommended to begin offering solids around 6 months of age and when baby is able to sit with minimal to no support. Babies can typically learn to pick up food from a table surface and feed themselves around this age. If you start offering toys for them to practice picking up while sitting around 4-5 months of age, you can help prepare them for what is coming next!

Using a baby seat like the Upseat as a feeding chair is a nice alternative to a high chair. You can easily move it around the house, secure it to a chair so baby can join the family at the table, and you can easily take it on the go for outings or travel as well. It is lightweight and does not take up much space.

If you’re in the market for a floor seat for baby, you can’t go wrong with the Upseat!

Click here and use my affiliate link and enter code THRIVELITTLE10 to save 10% off your order!

Or find Upseat on Amazon (affiliate link)

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