Congrats! You’ve been a mama for about 4 months! Breathe for a second… cuz it’s about to get real crazy again for a little bit! 🤣
It’s time for your little one to start trying baby food (after you get an okay from your pediatrician at the 4 months appointment).
I can honestly say beginning this new chapter with Joshua has been insane! There are not a lot (or any that I have found) of clear resources on how to introduce new foods to baby. I’m the type of person that needs step-by-step specifics — you give me the big picture and my brain shuts down. So, for all of my fellow sequential learners, this one’s for you! I’m going to try my very best to lay it out as simply and comprehensibly as possible! And BONUS — I’m going to provide you with a free downloadable schedule of foods and exact portions to feed baby until you get the hang of it!
See also: The Work-At-Home Mom’s Flexible Schedule
What You Need Before You Start Baby Food
If you haven’t stocked up on new things since your little turned three months old, check out my comprehensive list of what to get rid of and what you will need to stock up on, but for now, here are the basics.
- High chair — There are 3 main types of high chairs — the traditional high chair, the clamp-on-seat that connects to the side of a table, and the booster seat high chair; the one you choose depends on your preferences and house/storage size.
As my family lives in a pretty small house, we decided it would be the best fit for us to get a foldable traditional high chair. Our chairs are too short for a booster seat to be comfortable for us to feed my son, Joshua and the idea of my squirmy little one hanging off the side of a table just didn’t sit well with me.
We chose the Graco Table2Table Fold 7-in-1 High Chair for our “tiny home.” I was very impressed with the Graco brand when we bought our stroller, so I knew this was a brand I could trust. I love any product that grows with your child (money I don’t have to spend later). This high chair turns into a booster seat, a seat with a table, and a toddler youth chair. Also, you can sit your toddler in the toddler chair and baby in the booster seat at the same time. My favorite part? It’s foldable! You can easily store it away when it’s not in use. (It comes in three different colors that range from $139-169, so make sure you click on the three color options to choose the best price/color combo for you!)
Related: The 3-Month Purge
2. Baby Food and/or Baby Food Processor — Parents can make the decision to either make their own baby food with a baby food processor or buy pre-made baby food from the grocery store. Neither option is “more correct” than the other. It is an individual decision for what works best for your family.
If you do plan on buying baby food, I encourage you to research the best brands. This will be the first manufactured food (unless your baby has been drinking formula) that will go into your little one’s body. They are not used to manufactured foods like we are, so it is best to make sure you are putting quality, safe, and natural products into your child. There are some great, reputable organic baby food brands out there!
Plum Organics, a certified organic non-GMO brand, was ranked the #1 baby puree in 2020. The Stage 1 Plum Organics (what your baby will start out with) has only 1 ingredient, fruit! It has no artificial preservatives or sweeteners and is unsalted — not to mention kosher. You can buy an 8-pack with 4 different flavors, a 9-pack with 3 different flavors, or an 18-pack with 3 different flavors. The packaging is BPA free which is always a plus for our littles (and for ourselves). And if you’re really into the environment you will be happy to hear that the packaging is recyclable.
If you’re still wanting to be in charge of every ingredient that goes into your little one’s mouth — like this control freak mama right here! — and you have a farmer’s market in the area (or a green thumb), then you have the option of making your own baby food. This really excites me as a mom because I feel like I am nurturing my child in every way possible! I get to change him, cuddle him, love him, and now I get to make his food!
We have the Magic Bullet Baby Bullet food processor for making Joshua’s baby food. I love that it comes with tons of accessories including a mixing bowl, a spatula, separate containers for the refrigerator and freezer which have rotating caps to mark the date, and a recipe book that tells you how to introduce new foods and gives suggestions of which foods to try based on your child’s developmental level! I just love products that manufacturers obviously put parents first when they were creating it, and this is one of those products!
**Keep in mind that homemade baby food can stay in the freezer for 30 days and the fridge for 3 days.
3. Infant spoons — Now that my son has been eating baby foods for a month, I have discovered that rounded spoons work better than squared spoons. It may be the brand or my individual child, but the rounded spoons seem easier for him to get every last drop of baby food off of.
4. Bibs — I’m sure you received more bibs than you know what to do with at your baby shower. If you haven’t already, it’s time to pull those out! I’ve come to love using polyester bibs for feeding-time — I like that I can wipe them off and use them all day instead of getting a new bib for each feeding — and regular (cotton-blend) bibs to catch unforeseen drool and spit-up accidents the rest of the day. We also absolutely love these apron-like bibs!
You may also be interested in: 20 Newborn Must-Haves in 2020
5. A calendar — I have a calendar on my fridge specifically for Joshua. It has all of his appointments, who will be babysitting him on what days, and now what foods he will be eating. It isn’t absolutely necessary to plan out exactly what your child will be eating, but let me tell you why I do it.
🍼I am not a morning person, so when I first wake up I don’t automatically remember what he’s
supposed to be eating or how much.
🍼In that first month or two when he is trying new foods, the days may start blending together
and you may forget if he is supposed to be eating half a jar or a whole jar today.
🍼You never know when an emergency may come up and someone has to watch your child. What
and when he is supposed to eat will already written out for a babysitter and that’s one less thing
you have to worry about.
🍼You can make sure you have all of the supplies you need for your baby’s meals for the whole
week (or month if you plan that far).
🍼If you’re making your own food, you can write down when to make a food, what day it expires,
what day to pull it out of the fridge, etc.
6. Patience and a good attitude — The first (or second, or third) meal of baby food isn’t going to go smoothly (but congrats if it does!). Your little one has never eaten food off a spoon, nor have they ever had anything except breast milk and/or formula, so suddenly having a colorful foreign object with a strange smell in their face is going to be met with some interesting reactions. Your baby may eat nothing! Your baby may open his mouth right away and then spit it all out! Or your baby may eat her whole portion after 5 minutes of trying. All of these are okay results! The point of the first week or so is to get your baby used to eating from a spoon! No matter the result, you are doing great, Mom!
Don’t forget to smile through the grossness! Your baby knows your emotions and if you’re stressed, she may not respond well! Just have fun! This isn’t a test; it’s preparing your baby to one day (not today!) be able to eat on his own. Baby steps, Mama, baby steps!
Related: Enjoy the Little Moments, Mom!
What Baby Foods to Try First
There are a plethora of baby foods to try with your little one! You can really start with anything, just make sure you are choosing single-ingredient foods that are appropriate for a “supported sitter.” If you are buying pre-made baby food, look for labels that say “supported sitter” or “stage 1.”
My son’s pediatrician — and Gerber — recommends starting the first week with rice cereal — which you will see on the printable schedule I will provide you. As this is the first week he will be having something new in his system, you will need to start slow (see schedule). With each new food she tries, you will also need to introduce these slowly to make sure she does not have an intolerance or allergy to a specific food, but once she has tried that food and loves it, you can feed it to her regularly. I like to switch back and forth between fruits and veggies each day to make sure Joshua is getting a good balance. I also like to put a little bit of rice cereal and formula in his baby food each day to give him some extra sustenance and calories because he is a slow grower. This, however, is optional.
**After following the schedule for 2 months, you will have introduced your baby to every food available in Gerber Supported Sitter. If you still want someone to plan your feeding schedule for you, Gerber has a weekly schedule with 6 different weeks planned for you. They provide these schedules all the way up to preschool age!
Baby’s First Foods Schedule:
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You may also be interest in: Free Baby Playtime Schedule and Activities
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Have you started baby food with your little one? What has he or she loved and hated so far? My son LOVED prunes and HATED peas. We would love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments!