I was so excited to start incorporating proteins into Charlotte’s diet, which we did at around 7 months. Most pediatricians recommend whole milk yogurt as an excellent choice for one of your baby’s early foods, because it contains nutrients such as calcium, protein, and vitamins. I was already a fan of the HappyFamily brand of products (teethers, puffs, etc.), but their Whole Milk Yogurt with Vitamin D might just be my favorite product of all. It’s mindfully made with probiotics, no added sweeteners, non-GMO, and USDA organic. They have the following flavors available: blueberry, peach & mango, banana & sweet potato, and plain. Charlotte’s fave is the banana & sweet potato, and I love that it comes in the perfect single-serving size for her. You can find it at your local retailer and click through to download a coupon!
- Eggs, Poultry, Salmon, Turkey, Cheese, Hummus
When Garrett first started preschool, one that his aunt actually was the director at, they had a simple rule that every student learned at lunch time – “Always eat your proteins first”. I loved it, and even use it to this day with him at home. These are just a few of our favorite proteins, and I’ve started working them into baby Cha Cha’s lunch/dinner. I was shocked when I realized what a huge fan of salmon she was, and definitely going to try other fish as she gets older. As for other meats like ground turkey and chicken, I used to puree them for Garrett but Charlotte actually just prefers to eat them in bite-sized pieces which has been so much easier. I haven’t tried much cheese or hummus yet, but she definitely loves hard boiled and scrambled eggs for breakfast.
You can spy Dr. Garrett here enjoying his favorite HappyTot Whole Milk Yogurt in their apple & blackberry flavor. p.s. He hasn’t taken his new Melissa & Doug Doctor’s Dress Up Set off that the “Easter Bunny” scored at Target, and is currently taking new patients 😉
Fruit (Cut into small pieces or pureed)
These are by far the easiest and most common first fruit to introduce, because they’re non-cook and most baby’s love the sweet taste. I began by using my food masher/bowl (linked below) to make it almost like a pureed consistency, and even mixed with cereal and breastmilk to get her used to the flavor. Once she could mash food on her own, I found it to be the easiest food to bring on outings since all I needed was a spoon to scoop it out with and feed her.
- Apples/Pears, Mango
Apples/Pears were Garrett’s fave combo, so I knew I wanted to try it as one of Charlotte’s first purees. Now that she can handle finger foods, I’ve started just steaming the apples/pears to make them soft enough for her to mash. For the Mango, I buy it frozen and thaw it out to make it super soft and easy for her to chew.
- Kiwi, Strawberries, Melons, Oranges
I waited a little longer to start her on these fruits, around 7-8 months. I cut them into pieces small enough for her to mash on her own, and she loved all of them – even the oranges which I thought would be too tart for her.
Veggies (Cut into small pieces or pureed)
I’m not sure why or how, but Garrett never took to avocado, which is such a bummer since it’s literally the easiest food (right up there with bananas) to prepare. All you have to do is use a masher/bowl like the one I mentioned and linked to below, and voila – dinner is served. I started out by including 1-2 tbsp. of breastmilk to make it super creamy and add a familiar taste – which is maybe why Charlotte loves avocados way more than Garrett ever did. Thank goodness, cuz it’s my total go-to lazy day food when I don’t feel like steaming or pureeing anything.
- Carrots, Sweet Potato, Broccoli, Butternut Squash, Peas
I call these the “First Five” because they are the first veggies I fed Garrett, and he actually loved them all. But if you’re baby doesn’t like one on it’s own, you can always blend it with another to take the edge off – like sweet potato with broccoli, or carrots with peas, etc. Charlotte happens to love them all as well, and now I even work in sweet potato fries as a special treat and she devours them – we love the frozen Alexia ones! Oh and if you’re feeling like you don’t have time to cut, peel, and steam fresh veggies – I’ve found that there are some awesome organize frozen options that you can just pop in the microwave for 5 minutes and either serve as is or puree. Done and done.
Helpful products I used for Weaning
With my first, I was admittedly pretty lost when it came to knowing what foods to prepare, but I did know that I wanted to make my own. Mostly because it was a great way to save us some money, and I liked the idea of knowing exactly what food/ingredients they were eating. Read on to shop my favorite products that has made making my own baby food super easy and affordable.
My grandma bought me the Magic Bullet Blender before I had Garrett, which I used to make all of his baby food purees. It was so simple to use but I always wished I had the Baby Bullet, because it comes with dated storage containers and silicone batch trays perfect for freezing food. Luckily my sister in law was done with theirs after their last baby was born, and I was so excited to inherit it for making all of Charlotte’s baby food this time around.
We got this puppy as a wedding gift actually and I absolutely loved how easy it made cooking rice. When I started researching what I needed to make my own baby food, I kept seeing all kinds of fancy equipment that I really couldn’t afford. I decided to give the veggie steamer feature on my rice cooker a shot, and it worked like a charm. Not only was it the perfect portion size, but it was also a heck of a lot easier than the old “boiling water in a pot” method.
- Annabel Karmel Top 100 Baby Purees
I remember searching high and low for the best baby food books when I was pregnant with Garrett 5 years ago, and this puppy right here is literally like a mama’s “bible”. It helped me so much as a new mom when I had no idea what foods to first introduce to a baby. I loved all the unique recipe ideas, and step-by-step instructions to help even the most insecure new mama, cuz trust me that was totally me.
- Annabel Karmel New Complete Baby & Toddler Meal Planner
This is the 25th Anniversary Edition, and features a ton of new recipes, tips, advice and even meal planners. I love that it also covers the toddler years – cuz we all know how fun feeding a toddler can be 😉 Garrett may eat slower than the grass grows, but I feel better knowing I’m at least trying to feed him the right foods, ha.
- NUK/Annabel Karmel Food Masher & Bowl
I honestly could not live without this simple tool – it’s perfect for making instant baby food whether at home or on-the-go. I love the masher and always have friends ask me about it, saying how it works so much better than an old school fork. My favorites were mashed bananas and avocados, on its own or with a little breastmilk.
- NUK/Annabel Karmel Food Cube Tray
The best part of making your own food, is that you can steam lots of fresh veggies/fruits and use an easy pop tray like this to freeze small portions so that you only need to cook once a week. This was a game-changer for me, and highly recommend for anyone looking to make their own baby food.
I hope y’all found this helpful, since whether you’re a mom of one or a mom of four – we all could use a helping hand every now and then 🙂 Also, don’t forget to download this coupon for $1 off any two (2) HappyBaby or HappyTot multipacks or single pouches.