As we all know, the amount of stuff associated with babies is insane. There are so many products and styles of products that the choices seem infinite. Here at BabyFood101, we do not take advertising dollars so we are not beholden to any manufacturer's interest. In fact, we believe that less is more and that the best way to start feeding your baby solids doesn't involve products at all. Just take her on your lap, dip your finger in some rice cereal, and spoon it into her mouth. This way you don't waste any time or money trying to determine if your baby is ready.
On the other hand, baby products are just so fun! Here are some products suggestions to get you started on your path to solids:
First Feeding Spoon
Your baby isn't going to eat much when you first start feeding him. Just dip your finger in rice cereal, put it in his mouth (without forcing), and watch the reaction. If he wants more he will tell you!
There are so many different kinds of spoons on the market. Just be sure to buy many of them so you can put one in your diaper bag and give one to your baby to hold while you feed him. Kids love using colorful spoons so go ahead and gets lots of different colors. Baby product manufacturers are very aware of parent's concerns about BPA (please read our section on BPA on the Foods to Avoid page of the website), so don't worry too much about plastic.
The First Years makes a cheap and colorful set.
Take & Toss Infant Spoons - 16 Pack
Plates and Bowls
The best way to go is plastic. If you are worried about BPA, please read our section about BPA on the Foods to Avoid page. Plastic is better than ceramic or glass because it is usually unbreakable. Your baby will find ways to knock that feeding bowl out of your hands. Also, as soon as possible, you will want baby to be trying to feed himself, so plastic is the safest bet. There are so many cute bowls and plates for you to choose from.
BabyBjörn does not use chemical additives such as Cadmium, Lead, Bisphenol A (BPA), Phthalates, Bromine or Chlorine. Nor do they use PVC, and all of their plastics are recyclable. Of course, your baby's grandparents are going to think you bought him a dog bowl!
Food Storage and Travel
The easiest way to bring baby food with you is to use baby food jars. They are economical and easy to pack. Of course, then you are feeding baby out of glass which can get dangerous if your baby is a burgeoning soccer player. Glad and Ziploc both make very small containers that are disposable (but washable in the top of the dishwasher). These are very helpful with homemade baby food as well as portioning out the baby food from jars. When your your baby starts using his fingers, it can be fun for him to have a "snack trap". These allow him to walk around and carry his snacks without pouring them all over the floor. In addition, they are great for packing snacks for the park since they are reusable as opposed to Ziploc bags. Ziploc bags are another great way to pack Cheerios and other snacks for trips.
Probably the easiest bib is no bib at all! You want your baby to have a good experience with food and that means mess! If he isn't wearing your family's heirlooms, then you don't have to worry about him wrecking his clothes. After feeding, you can play in the bath.
There are a million different types of bibs. They include: terry cloth, waterproof with pocket, and plastic. The best bibs are the ones that your baby can't take off and actually protect their clothes. Unfortunately, you will probably have to go through some trial and error before you determine which is your best bib. Buy a bunch of different styles (or even better get some hand-me-downs) and see which you prefer.
We recommend trying the Baby Bjorn soft bib because it has a pocket for catching the food as it spills, as well as being washable in the dishwasher.
First Feeding Chair
Your lap is a good place to start feeding your baby. You might get covered with some food so don't wear anything valuable. A chair is a nice upgrade when you want to be able to do something else in the kitchen while your baby watches you. Remember to stay in the room when baby is eating to keep an eye out for choking.
Cheap: First Years 3 in 1 Booster Seat
This seat is great because it fits on a chair that you probably already have. It reclines to help with the first feedings when your baby is still getting the hang of sitting up, and it converts to a booster seat for when your baby is ready to sit with you at the table. The booster seat is a nice thing to have because you want to transition your baby as quickly as possible to eating meals with you at the table. Also, it is easily portable for family outings and the tray can be put in the dishwasher. This product did have a recall in 2007 for a problem with it's straps so if you are receiving a used one, make sure you look at this recall information:
Most Expensive: High Chair
If you have the space, a high chair can be a very helpful for feeding your baby. There are so many different brands, styles, and prices that it would be difficult to choose the best one. Look for wheels on the legs and how easy it is to clean. Also, the more expensive ones will probably last longer so if you are planning on having lots of children you should make the investment.
Free: regular cup
Learning to drink from a cup is an important skill. We use "sippy" cups in order to have the convenience of not spilling the liquid in the cup every where. Of course, your baby won't have the ability to pick up and drink from a regular cup for a while, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't teach your baby to drink from a a regular cup. Put a little water in the cup and tilt into baby's mouth and see what happens!
Cheap: sippy cup or straw cup
There are so many different types of sippy cups it is truly amazing. Sippy cups allow children to suck liquid out of a cup without spilling it everywhere if it is dropped. There is a valve that stops the flow of liquid out of the cup, and your child will have to suck to get the liquid out of the cup. There has been concerns that the sucking motion can affect speech development, but this seems to be in older children. Playtex sippy cups and straw cups are BPA free (please read our section on BPA on the Foods to Avoid page of the website).