Is your baby ready to start solids? Great! As long as you have the go ahead from your child’s pediatrician and your baby is displaying ready signs (below!) – your off to the kitchen to cause a big mess!! Yippie!
Your pediatrician may recommend you begin exploring solids with your baby between 5-8 months old. Don’t be mistaken, however, children who aren’t interested in solids can and do still thrive solely on breast milk until 9-12 months (or later). You might hear some people say, “food is for fun” around this early age marker, and they are right! Your baby will still receive most of their nutrients from formula or breast milk and exploring foods is just a new extracurricular activity for them (and you!).
Here are some signs that your baby is ready for solids:
- Your baby can sit up by themselves, well, and without support.
- Your baby has lost the tongue-thrust reflex (i.e. your little one no longer push solids out of his mouth with his tongue immediately).
- Your baby is developing a “pincer” grasp
- Your baby is ready, willing, able, to chew (ya know, mush and other forms of mush)
- Baby is interested in food and mealtime, your baby is trying to grab at food or put food in their own mouth.
What do I need to begin feeding my baby solids? You asked, so here it is!
A Place to Eat: Highchairs
My favorite and most highly recommended high chairs are things that are EASY TO CLEAN! Lots of frills, fabrics (like on the seat!) and various pieces get tricky when they are covered in icky mush. Stay simple and easy.
- My top chair to group-gift friends at showers is, hands down, the OXO Sprout Chair. It is decently affordable, really simple and thus easy to clean and manage, and chic/modern with an option to spice it up in other various colors. You won’t go wrong with this pick.
- I really love the Strokke Steps Chair and the Tripp Tapp High Chair (that you can find at Baby Earth). The Tripp Tapp comes in multiple colors, grows with your child, is easy to integrate at a dining table for family dinners and is easy to wipe down after a messy baby.
- The 4Mom’s High Chair (also available by Baby Earth) is another great high chairs in this easy/clean category with a few more bells and whistles like a magnetic tray top.
- For a super modern look, you should explore the Fresco High Chairs that can be found at Bloom Baby. Although these chairs are too big for my small kitchen, they are definitely what I picture a celebrity like Kim K. posting up in her feeding space.
- The look, feel and ease of this Han-MM wooden Baby High Chair is awesome. Removable tray and easy to wipe down – high on the list of things you need in a highchair!
- If you have a great countertop or super study table to attach a Fast Chair, these are awesome for convenience. But, I must say, it can be difficult to be across from your baby to feed with these chairs unless you have just the right width countertop or table. The fabric also needs to be cleaned well on a normal basis as wiping it down doesn’t always do it the justice it truly needs.
- Check out the Seedling High Chair for my last recommendation on feeding spots!
Bibs & Smocks: Keeping Clean(ish)
I have two types of bibs I love: silicone (easy to wash in seconds) and smocks (not so easy to wash but a must with messy babies you and trying to keep from ruining all their clothing).
- We have a handful of silicon bibs like this, and these for out and about (they roll-up easily!).
- We have at least 8 of these shirt bib smock thingamajigs and throw them in the washing machine with rags and towels on a very regular basis (pro tip – add white vinegar to your wash for a non-toxic super charged clean!). We, wastefully, throw them out when out kids outgrow the disgusting-mess-stage because, frankly, no matter how many times you wash them, they start to smell. I still love them for their purpose and highly recommend them. Here are a few examples of smock bibs: unisex colorful smocks, these toting odor resistance, and these with patterns that hide stains. Do yourself a favor and get a few.
Spoons & Forks
- In Baby Earth’s Tableware section, you can find a few useful items. Most specifically, the Feeding Starter Kit is a great and easy way to get going. I also like their suction bowls, which can also be found on Amazon if you are already building a cart there.
- For baby’s first spoons, I really prefer things that are soft like silicon (or plastic like these soft tips from Munchkin). These silicone ones from Munchkin are also great. You’ll need a couple in your drawer so don’t hold back on getting a few that seem interesting to you!
- Even though I don’t always love plastics for feeding products, it is wise to have a few less expensive plastic bowls and spoons you don’t mind getting lost along the way – like at daycares, outings, overnights to grandma and grandpa’s, etc. You don’t want to lose your more expensive products (like bamboo or silicon) as time goes on!
As your kids get older, you’ll get more “real” silverware, but you don’t need to worry about it for now. When the time comes, check out my post on must-haves for toddler mealtime!
- I am a big fan of suction bowls. Although the kids quickly learn how to get them off the table anyway, they do help with unintentional spills even with toddlers. A few suction bowl options I really enjoy are these silicon set of three and Avanchy’s non-toxic plastic free bamboo suction bowls. We have both! I don’t recommend you overdo it with suctions bowls, a few are likely enough unless you have multiple young babies.
- For regular bowls, I love anything Bamboo (instead of plastic) like these from WeeSprout (other colors here) or these from LittleFoodies.
- You don’t really need plates for baby for awhile, but if you are eager to build up your collect, LittleFoodies makes cute bamboo plates in happy colors but I am also a sucker for a fun bamboo animal shaped plate.
- I have recently invested in a handful of these awesome silicon plates that come in really perfect for mealtime, as I can divide up the kid’s feast a bit more easily.
- Bobo and Boo make great feeding products as well with a variety of colors you can match across sets.
Making homemade baby food? Awesome. At first, you don’t really have to make a bunch of food. Allowing your baby to explore mushed up things like bananas and avocados is fun and exciting enough. But as you move along, you might be interested in some combination recipes with things like veggies and various fruits or proteins.
We have this The Big Book of Organic Baby Food: Baby Purées, Finger Foods, and Toddler Meals For Every Stage but I’d also recommend this Super Easy Baby Foods Book!
(There is also a whole great movement about baby led weaning if you are interested in going that route!)
Anyways, back to making baby food at home! If you don’t already have a food processor, it may be time to invest in one.
- Cuisinart, is obviously, a trusted brand in this product sector and has a great machine to get you started.
- If you are a super serious food making pro- you might have to invest in something by Breville like this for professionals.
- I have friends who loves the Ninja set for both their family and themselves (good morning smoothie!).
- You could also just scoop up a bullet and call it a day!
The Actual Food
Not making homemade baby food? Awesome.
Check out baby led weaning as a path to go on with your child, or start looking into some great baby food delivery services. My absolute favorite is Little Spoon. But, I also have tried and like Raised Real (which is great but just requires a wee bit more work). As your child gets older – I have more relevant food delivery recommendations so check-back at your next stage!
Containers & Jars
Once you start making baby food, you need a lot of containers. This is something no one told me – but once I had kid’s my need for tupperware skyrockets. Even with toddlers, I am constantly pre-cutting fresh fruits and veggies for snacks, or packing dry food for outing and need a lot of containers. Who knew?
- If you plan to freeze or heat your foods, I highly recommend having a variety of glass containers like these as plastic is not good to expose to varying temperatures – especially with food products.
- Sage also makes some great 4 ounce containers which are the perfect size for baby meal times. Wee Spout also makes ones with various lid colors which is great for organization and – fun.
- We also utilize a lot of 2-ounce jars from Green Sprout. I’d recommend getting a variety of shapes and sizes like the ones recommended above for baby foods, and into your “toddler snackhood”!
- Don’t get me wrong, glass is not the only way to go. For things I keep in the fridge or on-the-go (outings, park outings, beach days, friends houses, etc) I normally use plastic tupperware which is lighter, easier to carry, and less breakable. I have a set just like this – BPA-free and with great snapping lids for a tight seal. These 4- ounce plastic containers by OXO are perfect for the kids dry snacks when we are on-the-go (I have like 8 and it feels like not enough during the week!
Once you start on the solid’s train, things get messy around the kitchen. I recommend:
- Eco-friendly sponges
- Free and clear dish soap
- An abundance of cleaning rags in your house unless you are cool with cutting down like a billion trees a year in paper towels and giving all your money to Target’s home supplies (if you already don’t do that enough…).
- Blueland is my favorite, favorite, favorite new cleaning supply provider for all things kitchen (save your money, space and the earth all at once).
I hope this recommendation lists help you get successful started with solids! It is a fun, funny and messy journey – enjoy!