Once your baby turns about 6 months or is sitting upright (and your pediatrician tells you it is time to start solids), you start feeding solids to your baby! (We delayed til 8 months as they weren’t sitting up well and had acid reflux.)
Some parents start with cereal, some with fruits, some with pureed pouches or baby food (the jar ones, for example). It is a messy, slow process. Mine would spit out the pureed food the first few days and made lots of faces when tasting the new food. And then they wouldn’t swallow (so back to bottle feeding). This is very common and don’t get frustrated. It takes time to teach a baby how to chew and swallow and how to eat from a spoon.
Banana is one of the easiest foods your baby can start eating as it is soft, sweet, and available everywhere. How to slice it to maximize toddler self-eating success? I cut it in a slightly thick slice then that in half or a third to be perfectly sized for little mouths, yet maximize finger grab rate as they start self-feeding. (Then later we focus on the stab and stay on fork to mouth success rate.) A flat sided banana slice may be stuck on your toddler’s plate, causing frustration.
Aside from a high chair and feeding spoons (these aren’t necessarily the same as baby spoons which may have shorter handles for self-feeding), you will decide on which food. We started with one flavor of ready to eat pouches – Mango flavor. Gerber, Plum Organics and Ella’s Kitchen all had this mango flavor. It was sweet and smelled attractive (I think) and not too thick. After 4 days of trying, my babies finally started swallowing. We were instructed to keep it simple and repeat the same food again and again (5-7 times to rule out any food allergies) before moving on to another food.
There are parents who start with cereal and other parents who start with fruit (banana is a popular one). One thing with cereal though: There are dissolvable cereal puffs such as Plum Organics Puffs (gluten-free) or Happy Baby puffs (gluten-free) that are meant for babies instead of regular cereal from the supermarket cereal aisle. These puffs dissolve in the mouth of babies (who don’t have teeth yet) and can lessen (in theory) choking risk. However, these dissolvable cereal puffs once opened, should be discarded in seven days or else the puffs get stale and hard (and no longer dissolve well). Teething wafers also are dissolvable.
Our favorite to feed were the Boon feeding spoons that were dishwasher-safe and silicone coated, but stiff enough to scoop puree and food. I didn’t like the floppier handles of other feeding spoons. Oneida baby spoon has a feeding spoon (longer handle) that works well but I wanted a softer surface that the Boon spoons had.
Instead of baby food jars, nowadays most ready made baby food comes in pouches, so we used Wean glass containers to squeeze the puree from the pouch. These glass cubes are the perfect size for 2.3 – 3 oz baby pureed pouches and come in colored lids for storage or traveling! They are dishwasher washable and the see through glass makes it easy to see the amount of food left, the glass material easy to rinse and easy to scoop when feeding, and the size easy to hold in a hand for an adult. A plus are the lids that can seal the glass cube for fridge storage. Later on, toddlers can self-feed yogurt and applesauce with these wean glass cubes too!
Having a clear container (or plastic basket) keeps these pouches are taking over your kitchen counter or cabinet. You can also wash these containers regularly.
I had a cabinet just for baby feeding, to keep it all separate so the baby flatware didn’t get mixed up with the adult silverware. You can order a deeper fridge container (deeper so can hold utensils and dishwasher-friendly) to store your baby forks and spoons.
Ikea high chair is one of the best selling high chairs in the world, for good reason. It is easy to assemble (easy to take apart legs for traveling by car), affordable, stable, and rinsable (without the optional cushion).