Baby's First Foods: The Basics {Free Printable Chart}

Starting solids is a huge step, especially for first-time parents like us.  So many questions, so many rules, so much to keep track of in the beginning!  Here we thought we'd share some of the basics, our go-to resources, and a handy chart to keep track of your baby's first foods.  

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Most pediatricians recommend starting solids between 4-6 months of age (closer to 6 months is best).  Baby must be able to hold their head independently and ideally the baby has also started to show an interest in food.  It's important to get the okay from your pediatrician first before starting solids.  

In the past baby's first food was always rice cereal, but that's not the case anymore.  Just about any pureed food that's considered "non-allergenic" and has been thinned down sufficiently can be given.  In general, it's best to work from a pre-determined list of typical "first foods" - these are foods that are least-likely to cause allergies or reactions in your little one.  Make sure the foods are well-pureed and thin them down with breast milk, formula, or water - the thinner the better in the beginning!  Once baby gets used to swallowing their thinned food, you can add less liquid and make the food increasingly thicker.  

Follow your baby's lead when feeding.  If they turn their head or push the spoon away, they're finished - don't pressure them.  And don't worry if baby seems to hate their dinner, it's been said that a baby needs to try a food at least 10 times before they're sure if they really hate it or love it.  If baby really hates those pureed pears wait a few days or a few weeks before trying it again, you may be surprised how much he loves it the next time!  

Always introduce new foods individually at least 3 or 4 days apart to make sure your baby doesn't have any kind of reaction.  Keep track of any symptoms or side affects no matter how insignificant, as it may be a coincidence or be related to the food.  If you notice your baby is extra fussy or gassy, for example, write that down and see if she has the same reaction next time she has that particular food.  If your baby breaks out in a rash, has a change in breathing, or any other kind of severe reaction call the pediatrician immediately!  

Fresh is best when it comes to baby food!  Making your own pureed baby food is quick and easy - all you need is a steaming basket, blender, and baby food storage containers.  Steam the fruit or veggies until soft then blend until smooth, using the cooking water to thin as needed, then store in baby food storage containers.  Breast milk storage bags can also be used to store baby food, and are especially handy if you've made a big batch and have run out of baby food containers.  

 

When buying commercial baby food, make sure to read the labels closely!  So many have ingredients that you wouldn't expect and might not want for your baby.  Even the organic ones may have ingredients that will catch you off guard - for example one that's described as "Pumpkin & Spinach" may also have another veggie or fruit such as apricot in it.  If your baby hasn't had apricot yet, you may decide to skip this one for now until she tries that food individually first.  

Our little one started solids around 5 1/2 months and was very picky in the beginning.  It seemed as though we could never find a food she liked or a texture that was smooth enough.  After a lot of trial and error (and record keeping, hence the chart), we finally got a sense of what she liked and she started to accept eating solids.  It may be hard in the beginning, but by taking notes and letting your baby set the pace of what they're ready for it will be a success.  

Baby's First Foods Chart

A simple chart to keep track of what food has been introduced (and tally how many times they have tried it), what they thought of it, and possible reactions.  This chart will also be a great record to keep for the baby book.

A simple chart to keep track of what food has been introduced (and tally how many times they have tried it), what they thought of it, and possible reactions.  This chart will also be a great record to keep for the baby book.

{Download free PDF of Baby's First Foods chart here.}

Our post was just a quick overview of the basics, for more information we recommend some of our favorite resources:  

  • Wholesomebabyfood.com - a great online resource for what to introduce when, what to avoid, recipes, and more.  
  • Sage Spoonfuls Cookbook - this cookbook lays out everything in an easy to read manner.  I love having this in the kitchen as a quick-reference to see how long I need to steam food for, how long a particular pureed veggie will keep in the fridge, etc.  (Sage Spoonfuls also has a baby food making kit, which includes the food processor, storage jars, cookbook, etc - and it's all made in the USA, which I love)
  • Homemadebabyfoodrecipes.com - another great online resource for recipes and guidelines.  
  • Baby Food Ideas (Instagram) - This mom shares photos of the homemade baby food she makes for her kids - lots of creative combinations and ideas.  

Disclaimer:  The info I am sharing is based on my own experiences; I am not a medical professional.  Always double check with your pediatrician before starting solids and get their professional opinion on the best way to introduce new foods to your little one.  

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