Baby Feeding Essentials for Starting Solids + what we feed Thomas
Introducing solids can be super stressful. There are LOTS of opinions on how you should do it: pre-made purees, baby-led weaning, homemade purees, etc.
Then, you have to figure out what portions to give them and then how that fits around breastmilk/formula and how that impacts their sleep schedule. It’s a lot to figure out.
I was overwhelmed by all of the things I heard and read, and I’ve learned that you just have to decide what is best for YOUR family and YOUR baby. (That’s true for most things as you navigate parenthood!)
I’m sharing my experience today in case it helps give you ideas, but PLEASE consult with your pediatrician about the best route for your little one.
Baby feeding essentials for starting solids
When to start solids?
Typically, babies start trying solids around 4-6 months, and a lot of experts recommend waiting until 6 months. (We did.) Remember, food before one is just for fun. The primary source of nutrition should still come from breastmilk or formula for the first year of your little one’s life. Introducing solids helps add texture to your child’s palate and gives them more experience with new tastes, but shouldn’t be their main source of calories. Introducing solids is also helpful for your baby’s coordination development – it’s amazing to watch them improve their pinching skills.
When we started solids, I referenced Cribsheet (one of my favorite newborn baby care books). This article from What to Expect was helpful too!
We ended up going a hybrid route, with some store bought purees, some whole foods (baby-led weaning style…ish) and some homemade purees using a countertop food mill.
Making baby food at home
In the food mill, things that worked well for us were meats (like turkey and chicken) and vegetables that I was worried he could choke on like broccoli, cauliflower, etc. I just cooked them and then put them in the mill. Now that he’s a bit older, I can give him small pieces of all that and he’s just fine. I only used the food mill for about a month so it’s nice that it’s cheap!
I wouldn’t too much money on baby food preparation tools since babies don’t keep. There’s no need to spend $300 on a baby food maker when your baby will be chewing in no time. I’d say we do 30% baby food and then 70% real food we already have in our house. More on that below.
As a note: Keep in mind when making food for babies, you need to cook it well. It should be softer than you might like yourself. Don’t add salt and don’t add too much spice! I typically just take a little out of whatever I’m making for Tommy and me and then don’t season it. That way I’m making sure Thomas isn’t getting too much salt or anything he shouldn’t be having (like something spicy!).
Sharing meals is also great way to introduce your baby to new foods before he actually feeds himself. After he eats his purees, I put some small pieces of real food for him to pick up and experiment with. Most of it didn’t make it in his mouth at first – that’s okay!
Here’s what we, and more importantly, Thomas loves.
Pre-made baby food
Serenity Kids veggie and roots packets
Serenity Kids meat packets:
So far we’ve tried the Chicken, Salmon, and turkey. I haven’t tried any beef or bison products with him.
Happy Baby Oatmeal
I alternate between the regular oatmeal and the one with quinoa. And I mix it with breastmilk and sometimes add cinnamon or peanut butter, which he loves!
I get most of our pre-made baby food from Thrive Market but Amazon carries a lot too, including the Happy Baby Apples, Kale & Avocados packets (he loves those!) and the Pumpkin Tree Apple, Pea and Spinach packets.
He also LOVES the Serenity Kids grain-free puffs and Happy Baby creamies.
And let’s be honest, I do too. I think he likes these because they’re easy to pick up and feed himself! He’s quite independent. I have no idea where he gets it. 😉
I literally didn’t know what to give Thomas so I just started looking at things in my house! I introduced just one new food every 3-4 days so I knew if he was having a reaction, I could likely attribute it to a certain food (like chickpeas). Eventually we had a pretty good repertoire of food so he can have well-rounded meals. Below are the foods he has on a regular basis.
This was his very first food! He loved it!
He’s hit and miss with liking sweet potatoes. Gasp! Is he even my child??
Seriously, Thomas loves this! (I just sautéed it in olive oil and then ran it through the food mill!)
I never season it so I have to remember to set this aside when I’m prepping dinner for Tommy and me.
We’ve tried black beans, chickpeas and great northern beans so far. Chickpeas gave him horrific gas and he didn’t sleep every time we tried these (4x) so I’m holding off on those for now!
I overcook some for him so it’s soft and then mix it with a Serenity Kids pack for the “sauce.”
I buy a bag of frozen peas and defrost them. I smash them just a little for him to eat. He loves feeding himself!
Halved or quartered so he doesn’t choke
He seems neutral on this. More for me!
We both love the unsweetened Icelandic Provision oatmilk yogurt, found at Whole Foods.
I scoop out the flesh for him!
He’s neutral on bananas, just like his mom.
He LOVES these. I don’t like sharing them. 😉
He loves loves loves peanut butter!!
He views it the same way I do. It’s acceptable but inferior to peanut butter.
Sunflower Seed Butter
He seems confused by this. Me too, kid. Me too. I want to like it but I don’t.
He loves broccoli, both steamed and roasted
He loves loves loves cauliflower.
Bread (locally made, not commercial bread)
He LOVES bread, just like his mom.
He hates it.
Other Baby Feeding Supplies we use
Baby Food Mill
I used this to make our own baby food. It’s cheap and doesn’t take up much space. I only used it for about 1-1.5 months so I’m glad I didn’t invest in anything more expensive!
Mesh Baby Feeder
This feeder is great for introducing flavors of things that are difficult for babies to eat at first (e.g. blueberries, bell peppers, etc.).
He thinks he’s VERY cool with a popsicle. I freeze breastmilk in this mold but you could make homemade popsicles with fruit and yogurt! It’s great when he’s teething too!
Lalo High Chair
It’s way smaller than others we look at it and looks great in our kitchen. We like it so much we bought a second one for our home in Boone.
We don’t like the Lalo bibs because they don’t stay open to catch food. We prefer these from Amazon.
If we’re letting him experiment with something extra messy, we put this under his bib. It makes clean-up easy!
He uses these to feed himself, but we prefer these spoons when we’re feeding him. The Lalo spoons just don’t hold enough, but the Munchkin ones have metal and he’s not quite gentle enough for that on his own yet!
The suction does not work well enough – he pulls it right off – but I haven’t found another plate that fits on the tray. We rarely put the plate on his tray anyway so it probably doesn’t matter. Tricky marketing. 😉
What was your baby’s first food?
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