New Born - 3 Months
Bottle Fed or Breastfed
From the time your baby enters the world till he/she is about 3 months old the only thing they will have had to eat is either bottle fed formula or breast milk. Whether you are a breastfeeding mother or a formula feeding mother, as long as your little one is getting the right amount of nutrients and vitamins they should receive a bottle for the first full year. Some mothers even decide to continue after year one. Check with your pediatrician and decide what your game plan will be for bottle feeding/ breastfeeding your baby.
When taking the leap to transition into baby foods you will want to make sure your baby has good posture and can support themselves sitting up in a height chair. This would include good neck support and not as much slumping. My little guy came out super strong with his neck and posture and didn't have too much of an issue sitting up in his height chair the first time. Though it was new to him and he wasn't too sure about it, he sat up very well. Don't confuse your baby's fussiness with not being able to- there is a high probability that your baby will most likely not want to sit in his or her high chair, but practice makes perfect and consistency is key- so stick with it. Trust me.
Gerber Baby Food Stages
4 Months - 5 Months
Rice cereal is a first staple item that will most likely stay with your little one throughout their first year. In the beginning you'll want to just follow instructions and mix it with your breast milk or formula. This way they will recognize the taste somewhat, even though the consistency is completely new to them. Keep in mind that this change in diet can cause your little one to possibly become constipated and you'll want to be careful how much you're feeding at a given time. I added some prune in to help with the constipation to ensure he was passing stools easily.
When you first start off with the rice cereal start off with 1 rice cereal meal a day in addition to your bottles. Do this for at least 3 consecutive days to make sure your baby is not reacting poorly. Once you and your baby have gotten the hang of the sitting and feeding of the cereal you can start to pull a bottle away and up the amount of cereal intake. Slowly adding to the ounces and pulling back on bottle ounces is the best way to go about this.
I found that once we got the rice cereal down that oatmeal actually tasted and worked better for my little guy. Something about these grains kept my guy from becoming constipated. It is very similar to rice cereal so I wasn't to worried about that.
This is where the feedings get really fun... First foods for your baby include a few different items. Apple, Bananas, Pears, Prunes, and sometimes even Carrots are a few you'll see on your grocery store shelves. Gerber actually has a cute little first foods starter kit (pictured below) to make your first few days of figuring out new foods easy and compiled. Each little tub is 1 oz and perfect for starting off since you might want to mix it in with some rice cereal or oatmeal to start off to slowly adjust. Once your baby is adjusted and has done well you can start with medium size jars and dive right in.
6 Months - 7 Months
You'll find that all of your second foods will be mixtures of everything you have tried in the beginning. Some may have rice or oatmeal already mixed inside. While others may be a chicken and rice mixture. First time for meat but not first time for rice. These foods can be a little much taste wise when first starting out so you can always cut it with half rice or oatmeal and mix in a little water so it is not too thick. This way your baby can adjust to the taste but be familiar with the rice or oatmeal consistency.
Once your baby has gotten through all of the first foods and second foods with no issue give some dissolvable snacks a try. I found that the banana tusks dissolved the quickest and worked well for me. You can break it apart or give it to your baby and have him or her start to learn how to grab their food by themselves. Banana tusks are easy for them to pick up and soft enough to where they shouldn't choke. Half the time in the beginning it ends up on the tray or floor anyways. However, anytime your baby is snacking you should always be supervising and making sure they are eating and swallowing okay- you never know what could happen!
Cheerios are a great treat for your baby. You'll want to make sure you get the plain cheerios and not the honey nut since the coating on the honey nut cheerios will not allow for much dissolving as fast. Not to mention babies naturally have a sweet tooth and don't need all that extra sugar.
Take a cheerio and break it into a few little pieces the first time your baby is trying them out. You could also let them soak in a little bit of milk to soften them up before handing one over to your baby.
8 Months - 9 Months
These are a super easy and yummy snack for your little one. They dissolve quickly and come in a variety of flavors. I break up the little star shaped puffs so my little guy can eat them easier (he likes to shove multiple in his mouth at a time).
These snacks can be a little tricky depending on how well your baby takes to the taste and consistency of them. They're dried and melt relatively fast. I would suggest breaking into small pieces the first week of eating so that your little one can get used to it.
Crawler foods are the next step up and have more of a chunky texture rather than a smooth puree. They come in bigger portion sizes and can throw your little one off for sure the first time they eat one. Try a familiar flavor the first time you try and only feed in half bowls at a time. You might even want to add some rice in to help it go down easier and to help add some weight. As they start to adjust remove rice and start feeding whole serving sizes.
10 Months - 1 Year
Once your little one has mastered the majority of most baby food items and is over all, relatively comfortable with small pieces you can start to feed him regular food! Cut up into small pieces of course!
For breakfast I usually lay out a few cheerios and make 1 scrambled egg. I make sure the egg is cool enough and cut into tiny pieces for my little guy to grab and feed himself. It can be a bit messy but he loves the eggs! We eat a bowl of rice cereal with this most mornings and my guy stays full for up to 4/5 hours.
Avocado's are a favorite item for us and we try to eat a good amount per week. I might make some rice and mash up an avocado for lunch for my little guy, and even maybe myself. We also love pasta! Boil a cup of pasta or 1/2 a cup and cut into bite size pieces. Let your little one pick up and feed himself.
There are so many things you can eat for dinner with your little one. Start out with some soft foods like mash potatoes and gravy and work your way into the fuller items. Pasta or Rice are a great meal base and then you can just add in some veggies and protein for extra flavor. I found ground chicken works best for my little one because it can breakdown so easily.
As your little one grows and becomes more comfortable with different food items you will also grow into understanding just what and when your little one is ready for. Always remember to try something for at least 3 days to make sure their are no allergic reactions. Be aware of what you are feeding and how much and trust your instinct! Good luck!