Oh! How I hear you on the mainstream advice! There are SO, so many things I thought I'd never do with my child before Erin. I wouldn't give her juice, no chocolate and things like that until she was much older, but somedays the "bad" foods are the only ones I can get into her so all that went out the window.It is different with a premmie in more ways than just eating, but I like to think that having and nearly loosing her has made me more attuned to her - I don't miss a thing and we celebrate the little things she does for the first time unlike I a lot of mums with healthy (I can't think of a more appropriate word...) kids that I know who totally miss them.
We did start with rice cereal but she wouldn't have a bar of it - even now she still hates a lot of cereals so we moved on to fruit fairly quickly. In the beginning though she was very keen on veggies. She loved sweet potato and carrots, but the sweetness of fruit was a little too much.
As far as sippy cups...we only started trying to get her to drink from a sippy cup at about 8 months or so corrected, but she wouldn't have it. I spent a small fortune on sippie cups trying to find the right one with no luck. The funny thing was, she'd sit in my lap and drink a few sips from an open cup or even an open bottle no problem.
It's only been fairly recently that she'd take, hold and drink from her own cups and in about the last month she's started drinking from a straw cup
: . I really wanted/needed her to drink from her own cup for convenience. It was already taking me an hour to feed her each solid meal three times a day and then there was clean up which usually meant a proper bath because she wont let me wipe her face with a wet cloth, plus bottles which she wouldn't hold for herself (before she started to refuse those) so my docket was pretty full.
Don't feel bad about needing to make things a bit easier for yourself - if you do. Having a child who has eating problems is a marathon, you need as many pit stops as you can find.