In the end I decided on a combination of approaches, and then handled each food case-by-case. The plan was to puree all foods for the First Taste (I'm referring here to the 4 days in a row I feed her something new to watch for any allergic reactions). Then, if a food would do better as a finger food where she can feed herself, we'd try that next.
I started with avocado, sweet potato, and butternut squash, in that order. Some parents don't always start with avocado, but since my kiddo is a little on the small side and avocado is the only type of produce with natural fats, (oh AND I love all things avocado personally), this would be good for her. She loved them all.
At this point, my daughter is 8.5 months old and has eaten many things, though I am still pretty tight with the reins (it's pretty much all from our kitchen vs. a restaurant or whatever).
For details on how to prepare these foods, please reference the Wholesome Baby Food blog - it is a great resource!
Here is our menu so far:
Always Puree/Mashed (so far...):
- Sweet potato (mashed; tried to do steamed slices but they turned to mush and she couldn't pick them up; these mix well with some fruits and chicken)
- Butternut squash (she liked this a lot, but I haven't made any since the first pureed batch that lasted the first month or so)
- Banana (started pureed/mashed, but now I just slice and then quarter - this is the "stall" food in between bites of whatever she's being spoon-fed each meal)
- Apple (steamed and then mashed - mixes well with chicken and other fruits)
- Peas (steamed then pureed)
- Green beans (steamed then pureed)
- Spinach (steamed then pureed) (**side note - I now just keep frozen cubes of spinach in my freezer after this project for ALL of my cooking - so easy to just toss a couple into regular meals)
- Peaches (baked then pureed)
- Pears (baked then pureed)
- Avocado (mashed and in slices, this is great to mix with other foods)
- Chicken (not sure which list to put this on...I blended the chicken down to teeny bites, then shredded it further and usually mix it with something else - Apples get rave reviews)
- Blueberries (started these just cut into quarters right out of the gate - and these are already a favorite)
- Watermelon (started with a giant chunk and let her go to town - what a MESS! - pureed versions are really watery, but mixes well with peaches to dial down the tartness)
- Cheerios (as sold - these are great for on the go where you don't want to get into all the mess that comes with real foods)
- Pasta (organic Cavatelli from Whole Foods - these are mini baby shells - the perfect bite-size for Bugga!)
Also, you'll probably notice we skipped the baby cereals like rice cereal and oatmeal. I will probably go "back" at some point and give her oatmeal (because I love mine) but probably won't bother with the rice cereal.