Whether you’re starting baby on solids at six months or ten, introducing foods for the first time can be both exciting and stressful. Finding selections that are safe and healthy is a top priority—but with hundreds of colorful baby food jars, boxes and bags lining the shelves at the supermarket, the choices can be overwhelming.
Given all of the options available today, you might be surprised to find that the most nutritious foods for your child aren’t found in the infant aisle at all—they already exist in your very own kitchen. Choosing and preparing your baby’s meals at home is not only one of the best ways to give your child a healthy start, it’s also much less complex than you think. In fact, most first foods require no preparation at all.
Starting solids is a big topic in the Mothering community, so we scanned the conversations for the most recommended suggestions for your baby’s very first foods to help you decide where to start.
Here are the 10 most mentioned favorites:
- Ripe Avocado: mashed or sliced
- Ripe Banana: mashed or in chunks for older babies
- Other Fresh Fruits like Blueberries, Watermelon or Pear: mashed for small babies
- Egg Yolks: from a foiled egg, mashed or whole for older babies
- Sweet Potato: cooked well and mashed up with water or breastmilk to thin, these can even be cooked in microwave for super simple prep
- Veggies Like Green Beans, Broccoli and Carrots: use fresh steamed veggies, pureed and thinned with breastmilk or water for young babies
- Brown Rice or Wild Rice: cooked well and pureed with water or breastmilk
- Homemade Applesauce: preferably organic since apples top the dirty dozen list — here’s how to prepare it
- Red or Yellow Lentils: Cooked down with water and mashed up, no spices, avoid green until they’re older
- Thin Oatmeal: you can grind the oatmeal in your blender before cooking to make it less lumpy, mix with breastmilk to thin
All of the above foods are generally considered safe for infants six months and up, but since each child is different it’s wise to use discretion—test a small amount of the food with baby before letting them enjoy too much and always take your family’s allergies into consideration. Never feed an infant honey or anything they could choke on (such as unmashed blueberries, grapes or nuts).
After firsts are introduced, and as baby grows, most parents slowly transition baby to eating whatever the family is enjoying at mealtime. Many foods can be easily pureed and served by spoon or chopped up and served as a finger food.
For more ideas and information about creating your own baby food check out In the Kitchen with Baby, a very helpful article from Cynthia Lair–author of Feeding the Whole Family and creator of Cookus Interruptus.
You might find that you also want to invest in a baby food maker. Although you don’t need one (a blender or even a fork can often work just as well) getting one can make the process more fun and simplify storing.