Feeding Baby Pt. 1: Starting Solids & Useful Tools

baby sleeved bibs turban for tots headband girls bows

Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair, bib w/ catcher pocket, TFT headbands (code JEANWANG for 15% off)

As frequent readers may know, Nick and I love making all kinds of food, so we wanted to expose Nori to lots of different flavors and textures early on in hopes that it’ll help her grow into a non-picky eater. We introduced her to solids around 5 months, but every baby is different! I decided to write this as it’s been a highly requested post, but remember I’m just one mama sharing her experiences with one baby.

1. when to Get started with solids

We figured Nori was interested in solids when we went out for hot pot, and she gave us a jealous stink eye with every bite we ate! This Kelly Mom article outlines some things to look for when deciding if your baby is ready for solids, and I found this book to be extremely helpful with info on safe first foods, the difference between gagging vs choking, nutrition, recipes with photos, and example milk + solids feeding schedules. Of course, with any major milestone you should discuss it with your pediatrician first, in addition to doing your own research.

introducing solids baby cereal first foods ideas
how to introduce solids baby led weaning ideas
First foods at 5 months! Left: baby cereal // Right: avocado + banana in a strainer (see “tools” below)

Like most babies, we started Nori with single-grain cereals prepared with formula or breastmilk (even some of my frozen lipase milk!). We started with a small taste of solids once a day and worked our way up to three meals daily at 10 months, in conjunction with milk.

2. SPOON FEEDing VS. BABY LED WEANING

As a new mom, I kept seeing the acronym “BLW” around the internet, and had no clue what it meant! Basically, baby led weaning is just the concept of letting your child self-feed regular (non pureed) pieces of food at their own pace. It supposedly teaches babies good eating habits, and encourages motor development with chewing and hand dexterity.

I like the concept of this but don’t like the mess and how it made each meal an hour-long production, so we did a combo approach. I would offer Nori some finger foods at the beginning of each meal, then spoon feed her some purees or mashed up foods. I’d mix in the finger foods she dropped or didn’t eat into the spoon feeding bowl to minimize waste. While spoon feeding, I encourage her to grip the spoon and help guide it into her mouth, but don’t completely let go to avoid a big mess!

3. Most useFUL feeding TOOLS AND GADGETS

These are also summarized on my regularly-updated Amazon baby favorites page!

Sleeved bibs with food catcher pocket

Hands down this is the baby item I get the most questions on from IG stories! We tried a couple of brands and would recommend Bumkins which is good quality with a string tie back, and this avocado one which is thinner quality (but adorable) with a velcro tab back. Now that it’s summertime, we’ve shifted to these sleeveless bibs which are nice but don’t have a handy food-catching pocket.

BEABA BABY COOK (STEAMER + FOOD PROCESSOR IN ONE)

I received the Beaba Baby Cook (on sale!at William Sonoma! also available at Nordstrom, Pottery Barn, Amazon) as a gift, and since we have a small kitchen I initially thought it’d be a waste of precious counter space. But since we enjoy making Nori’s food, I honestly use this SO much from quick steaming to making batches of baby food to freeze. It took me a little time to learn how to use it but is a piece of cake afterwards. I have some small issues with it (like the location of the water reservoir and how easily the steaming basket gets stained from veggies), but it’s notably better than the other options I researched on the market. One tip is I always leave the top lid open overnight to make sure the steaming reservoir has time to fully dry after using. We also run white vinegar through the vessel to clean / de-scale it once in a while.

If you don’t want to buy a dedicated cooker, you can steam food in a basket over a boiling pot or rice cooker, then use a blender or food processor to puree it. But I like that I can just press 1 button and walk away worry free while it steams (mom brain has been leaving the stove on one too many times!), and then chop up the food in the same container.

beaba babycook baby food maker review

Early soft spoons

We used this soft, pliable option as Nori’s first spoon, and the Beaba spoon for a firmer option (our current favorite). You’ll want to start each meal with a few spoons since one (or all) will inevitably end up on the floor! For the longest time, Nori also wouldn’t let go of her iron grip on a spoon until we offered her another one aka the famous 3-spoon circus.

FEEDER TOOL

This feeding gadget looks like a pacifier but with little strainer holes. Nori really enjoyed this when she first started solids (I filled it with avocado and/or banana pieces), but we stopped using it because she would slurp one down in seconds! Now that she’s teething again we put frozen blueberries and other fruit in as an icy treat to soothe her gums.

BABY FOOD SCISSORS

These food scissors are fantastic for quickly cutting bite-sized foods without having to take out a knife and cutting board. They also have a little safety lock button feature and a cap for use on-the-go!

simba baby food scissors blw tools pancakes

4. CHOOSING A HIGH CHAIR

We bought the Stokke Tripp Trapp because it has an ergonomic adjustable footrest, looks visually nice, and can “grow” with our child in our tiny, already overcrowded condo (several of you shared that you still use this chair with your now 8 to 10 year old kids!). When we first tried it with Nori around 5 months, though, it wasn’t the most comfortable option because she couldn’t sit up on her own yet. If you’re looking into this chair, I would definitely recommend going with a set including baby kit, tray, and cushion. We never got the cushion, which supposedly makes a notable difference for younger babies.

infant baby fisher price booster chair first food ideas
baby portable high chair blw asian food ideas
Left: banana break in the Fisher Price booster // Right: enjoying homemade noodles at grandma’s house

As a transitional option, we got this Fisher Price booster seat after trying our neighbor’s. It straps on to any chair (or can sit on the floor), is slightly molded and supportive for babies who aren’t expert sitters yet, and folds down for travel. You can roll up some bibs or towels as padding for extra support. We used this happily for several months until Nori got stronger and became comfortable in the Tripp Trapp (which we now LOVE), and then left the Fisher Price at my parents’ house for use there.

baby introducing solids stokke trip trapp high chair review

strokke trip trapp high chair review 6 months old
Berries + pancakes made with mama’s milk for brunch, after graduating to her big girl high chair!

5. favorite First Foods

Some of Nori’s favorite foods she actually hated at first! I keep a food log and re-introduce her to things multiple times if she doesn’t like it on the first try. I mix the offending new food with something she’s already familiar with and loves, and gradually increase the ratio of the new food in the mix.

5 to 6 months:

  • baby cereal with mashed prunes, peaches or pears. Breastfed babies need iron around 4 months and most baby cereals are iron-fortified, so we give her oatmeal cereal. We initially tried rice cereal, but there are mixed opinions on it due to traces of arsenic. 
  • mashed (or in the feeder tool) banana and avocado (didn’t like at first but now loves). FYI some say too much banana and cereal can cause constipation in babies.
  • steamed sweet potato, parsnip, butternut squash, and carrot sticks (all favorite finger foods!)

7 to 8 months:

  • all the finger food suggestions from the book below, except egg & dairy
  • steamed and flaked fish (nutrient-packed salmon has a fishier taste, so we eased her in with white fish)
  • ground beef as a source of iron, cooked and chopped smoothly with a veggie or starch she loves
  • mashed potatoes, thinned out with bone broth for protein (she is obsessed with this)
  • chicken and veggie congee cooked in the instantpot

baby led weaning first food ideas blw 6 months

A much referenced page out of this baby feeding book. We cook the foods down extra soft, to be safe.

baby led weaning first food ideas
sample 7-8 month meals // Left: steamed fish, asparagus, butternut squash // Right: lentils with carrot, spinach, and bone broth, whole grain pasta with olive oil, avocado, steamed sweet potatoes

6. Drinking Water

When you start feeding solids, it’s also recommended to start giving your baby a little bit of water to help wash down the food. The Feeding Littles guide we referenced suggests starting with an open cup, so we helped her with using the cup in our Beaba silicone meal set. Recently, we’ve been using the Munchkin 360 to give her a little more independence. She LOVES water and always tries to chug it, so the munchkin keeps it from all ending up on her lap.

7. FOOD AllergIES

Talk to your pediatrician, but it seems like most are on board these days with introducing major food allergens early to help lower the risk of allergies. That is, unless your baby has eczema or a family history of allergies. Due to eczema, our pediatrician had us do a blood test for allergies at 6 months, and it came back positive for dairy, eggs, and a variety of nuts. Since I’m still breastfeeding, the allergist told me to eliminate these items from my diet, but said some babies outgrow these and that I could start incorporating eggs and dairy in baked formats around 8 months. He said it was less likely for her to outgrow the nuts allergies, unfortunately, but I’m still hopeful!

This post got lengthy, but I have some go-to “recipes” / time-saving food prep methods and tips for dining out with baby that I’d be happy to share in a Part 2 if you guys are interested! Let me know, along with any questions on topics I might’ve missed!

See more baby posts here, including our traveling with a baby series!

feeding baby solids first finger food ideas and tools

 

48 thoughts on “Feeding Baby Pt. 1: Starting Solids & Useful Tools

  • Reply Emily June 30, 2019 at 10:04 am

    This is great! I would love to see a part two 🙂

  • Reply Jenny June 30, 2019 at 10:31 am

    Thanks for the useful tips!! My baby girl is about to be 6 months and also has eczema so I’m a little nervous letting her try new foods but also want her to be a good eater. Looking forward to reading part 2! 🙂

  • Reply Angela June 30, 2019 at 10:39 am

    This is so helpful! Please share a part II. Thanks so much!

  • Reply Steph June 30, 2019 at 11:35 am

    Great information! I saved so many of the recommended items on my amazon list, my 4 month old will be eating solids soon so I’m so glad to have this information early on. I’m nervous but better to be prepared! Thank you!

    • Reply Chelle July 4, 2019 at 8:10 am

      Very helpful! Please do a part 2!

      • Reply Nancy July 6, 2019 at 8:16 pm

        This is so helpful! Would love to see a part 2!

  • Reply J June 30, 2019 at 11:50 am

    Very helpful! Part 2 pls! Can’t wait to read it

  • Reply Ram June 30, 2019 at 11:53 am

    My baby is now 8months and still he doesn’t like to eat anything… only breastfeeding.. still I am trying to understand his taste. So I like to read your part two as well

  • Reply Amy June 30, 2019 at 11:58 am

    Love this! Yes to part 2 please!! My daughter is 9 months and we are just starting to consistently do 3 meals. Tips for going out and feeding baby would be great!

  • Reply Amy June 30, 2019 at 11:59 am

    Love this! Yes to part 2 please!! My daughter is 9 months and we are just starting to consistently do 3 meals. Tips for going out and feeding baby would be great!

  • Reply Anonymous June 30, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    Would love to see part 2! Tips and recommendations on preparing food when you’re out and on the go, what you pack, or for moms that go back to work would be helpful as well. Thanks Jean!

  • Reply Sabeeka June 30, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    Love this post, I had been waiting for this! I absolutely love how thoroughly you always explain about everything , why you chose it, how it helped you. Just fyi you are my absolute favorite blogger. Definitely interested in the recipes post.
    My little one is 7 months and refuses to eat any “baby food”. She wants all of the spicy south asian food that is in my plate 🤦🏻‍♀️😂.

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite July 3, 2019 at 8:52 pm

      Thank you so much for the kind words, Sabeeka! Sounds like your little one knows where the good stuff’s at ; )

  • Reply Kayla June 30, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    Thank you for this list!!! As a new mom with a little one behind your Nori in age, I’ve been struggling with what to be feeding her. Your post helps!!

  • Reply Anonymous June 30, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    Does it gets confusing doing both purée and BLW at the same time?

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite July 3, 2019 at 8:54 pm

      I really don’t think so! I would just go into it with low expectations, because oftentimes my baby would not be interested in self feeding but would open her mouth for the spoon, and then vice versa. I wouldn’t stress about it if a certain approach isn’t working during the early few months, since they usually figure things out down the road!

  • Reply Dianne June 30, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    Yes! Part 2 please! I bought those scissors from your Amazon page and they have since changed my life. Going out, those scissors have become as essential as wipes and diapers. Can’t believe I lived three long years feeding my toddler and baby by prepping with archaic knives and forks.

  • Reply Demetria June 30, 2019 at 5:38 pm

    Love the post! My bf now reads your baby related post. They’ve been super helpful as we’ve purchased and used a lot of your recommendations. Bring on part two!

  • Reply Joyce June 30, 2019 at 6:13 pm

    Yes, definitely interested in a part 2! Your Nori is about 7 months ahead of my little, so it’s been extremely helpful seeing what works for you! Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply Lam November 15, 2019 at 3:23 am

      Loving this post! Yes please post a part 2!

  • Reply Valeri Pighini June 30, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    Jean. You’re amazing. The work you put into these posts is mind boggling to me. I wish you were around, as well as the internet, 37 years ago (LOL) when I had a toddler. Nori is SOOOOO darling. What kissy face. Great share today. Thank you. Love, Val

  • Reply Nancy June 30, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    Thank you so much for this post! My baby is a few months younger than Nori and I love reading your recommendations. I’ve read a few reviews about mold issues with the Beaba Babycook. Do you notice this problem with it at all?

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite July 3, 2019 at 8:55 pm

      Hi Nancy, no I have not. I read those reviews ahead of time so have been vigilant with letting my pieces dry before storing it closed, letting the steaming reservoir fully dry before closing the top lid, and also following Beaba’s instructions on cleaning the handle occasionally to avoid mold. Hope that helps!

  • Reply Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog June 30, 2019 at 7:40 pm

    Ugh, Nori is adorable! Love the photos! ❤️✨

    http://charmainenyw.com

  • Reply Maryelle June 30, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    So glad I read this post. I raised 3 sons and my “baby” is now 22 years old, so I was going to skip this post as I thought I wouldn’t get much from it. Boy, was I wrong – I was happy to read about all these new, helpful feeding gadgets. Now I know what to buy for that next baby shower gift. Thanks for the thorough reviews and info!

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite July 3, 2019 at 8:56 pm

      Hi Maryelle, gosh time really flies doesn’t it? Thank you for reading and for your comment even if this post wasn’t the most relevant for you : )

  • Reply Seema June 30, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    Great post! I’d love to see a part 2!

  • Reply Demetria June 30, 2019 at 8:19 pm

    A non food related question, have you all chosen which car seat you’ll use when she outgrows her Nuna?

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite July 3, 2019 at 8:56 pm

      Hi Demetria, I’m starting to stress a bit on that choice! We haven’t looked into it at all other than seeing friends who use the Clek and the Nuna Rava .

  • Reply AJ June 30, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    My two year old twins are also allergic to dairy, eggs, and nuts (except for almonds). If you ever need tips, resources, and great recipes (including baked goods!), I’d be happy to share. =]

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite July 3, 2019 at 8:57 pm

      They must keep your hands full! : ) Thank you for offering. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that my baby outgrows those allergies, at least the dairy and egg part.

  • Reply Amy June 30, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    Such a helpful post!! Thank you for sharing. I’d love to see part 2.

  • Reply Annie July 1, 2019 at 12:16 am

    Hi Jean! How would you start teaching her to drink from the cup/open cup at first?

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite July 3, 2019 at 8:58 pm

      Hi Annie, I follow Feeding Littles and we just helped guide her hand with the cup. She is a little overzealous and would dump the whole cup of water on her face if we let go of the cup, but at least she has learned the motion of it!

  • Reply Courtney Zachman July 2, 2019 at 10:28 am

    Jean, this was so helpful. Our baby is close in age to Nori. You have convinced me to get the Beaba now 🙂

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite July 3, 2019 at 9:01 pm

      I hope you like it, Courtney! Honestly I would not have gotten it for myself initially, but after using it for 5 months I really love the ease.

  • Reply MiaBelle July 5, 2019 at 1:37 am

    I love LOVE this post. thank You !!!

  • Reply simran July 6, 2019 at 5:36 am

    wow!! baby look like too cute.. smile, also thanks for lovely posting..!

  • Reply Abra Lyons-Warren July 8, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    do you have issues with your silicone spoons getting stained from foods, like carrot? How do you handle? Thanks!

  • Reply Angie July 9, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    Can you do a blog post on Nori’s skin care routine for eczema?

    • Reply My July 11, 2019 at 11:41 pm

      My baby has eczema too! After using Baby Aveeno Eczema with every bath, she no longer has a breakout! It’s oatmeal based and doesn’t have steroids. My hubby even snuck some to use on his face breakout. Lol.

      • Reply My July 11, 2019 at 11:45 pm

        My daughter is 3 months and she’s struggles with constipation. I’m currently trying to avoid dairy products as an experiment to see if it affects her. What are your “go to” snacks as a breastfeeding mom trying to avoid dairy?

  • Reply Rona July 15, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Thank you so much Jean! This review is really helpful. Thorough enough for what new moms just need to know. So, our son is 5 months and getting ready for his first solid, we’ve been trying to find the perfect high chair. Most high chairs are space consuming which is not ideal for our not-so-spacious flat. So I told my husband that my favorite blogger uses the Stokke one. I showed him this review and when he looked into it further, he was so convinced that’s what we’ll be buying (despite the price!). Haha! So we’ll be ordering now!! 😂 thanks to you! looking forward to the part 2!

  • Reply Christine July 16, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    Hi Jean! I’ve read reviews for Beaba BabyCook where people have had issues with mold developing in the water reservoir. Have you experienced when using yours or heard of anyone with this issue?

  • Reply Ann Chen July 18, 2019 at 12:02 am

    Would LOVE to see a part 2. My little one is now 9 months old and we are also doing a combo of traditional and BLW. He loves his puffs, teething wafers and pretty much anything I spoon feed him… but does not like to touch many textures, so is hesitant to pick up “real” food.

    Would love to see more meal ideas that you do for Nori!

  • Reply J D July 22, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    Hi Jean! I am looking forward to part 2, can you please include tips for eating out with Nori? Snacks to pack? Tools to avoid a mess in the restaurant? Thanks!!

  • Reply Bella September 10, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    Hi Jean
    I recently found out my 10 month old is allergic to peanuts and egg whites. I am devastated. I feel so sorry for my little one and for ourselves. Life will not be same for her and I feel very depressed about that. I came across your blog that your little one also got diagnosed with some allergies. How did you cope with that? Where did you find support if needed be. I am so lost and I feel very isolated so therefore reaching out to you. Thanks for reading this.

  • Reply LeeAnn Grim September 17, 2019 at 3:12 pm

    Hi Jean! Have you tried any reusable baby food squeeze pouches? Or, has anyone else who is reading this? I’d love a recommendation! Thanks.

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