introducing solids + the basics of homemade baby food

With both girls, we introduced solids around 6 months of age. At that point they were both showing interest in what we were eating, able to hold their head up and sit independently. For Olivia, I made all my own baby food and with Penelope we have been doing a combination of homemade purees + baby led weaning {often referred to as BLW...this basically just means you skip purees and offer table food}. Whatever methods you decide to use, here are the basics of introducing solids and homemade baby food. The methods are super simple, the tools you need are minimal and bonus: everything can be done with a toddler at your feet. 

From 6-7 months we really only offered Poppy purees,  I began with super smooth ones & eventually moved to textured. Once she reached 7 months, I started offering everyday foods we always have on hand in small pieces for her to learn to chew and swallow. A few examples of foods that are great for this {soft and easy to mash even without teeth and swallow smoothly without choking risk} when cut into very tiny pieces are avocado, banana, black or pinto beans {cut in half}, strawberries, rice puffs, and any soft fruit or vegetable.

We also skipped rice cereal altogether and instead found alternative "first food" options with both girls that are much healthier and nutritionally sound. My aunt is a Registered Dietician with over 25 years of experience in her field, so when Olivia was a baby I was able to sit down with her and spend a lot of time learning about healthy foods for babies and their development, foods that offer the most complete nutrition and satisfying well-rounded options.

Our top 3 recommended first foods:
Avocado || Sweet Potato || Cooked Egg Yolk 

I started Olivia on sweet potatoes. I simply peeled and cubed them, steamed them and then using a food processor, pureed them until smooth. We often use coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil to smooth out purees while blending. I started Penelope on avocado, simply taking a ripe one, cutting it in half and using a fork to mash it. She began eating about 1/4 avocado at a time and I just stored the rest in fridge until I needed it. After about a week, I added in cooked egg yolk with  her avocado, but it could really be mixed into any food. To prepare, simply hard boil eggs. Once cooled, remove the whites and store cooked yolks in glass container in fridge for up to 5 days. Mix in with your baby's meals as desired; Poppy eats about one egg yolk per day.

It is recommended to only introduce new foods every 2-3 days in the event of an allergy, it makes it easier to pinpoint which food may be causing a reaction. For the first few days I only gave each of them sweet potatoes and avocado, then after about a week I started introducing a new food every day or two. Now that Penelope is 7.5 months, she gets multiple new foods each day.

After you've introduced their first foods, you can move on to other complex carbohydrates {essentially vegetables}, protein {meats, beans + lentils}, fruits and of course, healthy fats. A well-balanced diet can be accomplished with the rule of thirds: 1/3 of daily calories (or 1/3 of meals) should be complex carbohydrates, 1/3 should be protein and 1/3 should be healthy fats.

Here are some ideas:

|| complex carbohydrates ||
sweet potatoes / butternut squash / broccoli / cauliflower / green peas / green beans / bell peppers / eggplant / rainbow carrots / zucchini / summer squash / cauliflower / spinach / swiss chard / rainbow chard / kale / oats / quinoa / beets / peas

|| protein ||
cooked egg yolk / free range organic turkey + chicken / wild caught salmon / wild alaskan cod / grass fed beef / split red lentils / beans / quinoa 

|| fruits || 
avocado / banana / blueberries / strawberries / apples / pears / peaches / mangoes / raspberries / kiwi / pineapple

|| healthy fats ||
avocado / cooked egg yolk / wild caught salmon / unrefined coconut oil / extra virgin olive oil / avocado oil / any unrefined seed oil / nuts + nut butters {when age appropriate; recommended to avoid until 1 year}

To make your own baby food, you really only need a few basic items. It's way easier to do than most people think and you can get a ton of food made in one afternoon if you have everything on hand and a plan. I choose a "prep" day {usually a Sunday afternoon} where Dustin can be with the girls and I can spend a few hours making enough food for 1-2 months. I make it, freeze it in trays, then store it in labeled bags in our freezer in 1 oz portions and can take it out as I need it each day.

|| homemade baby food basics || 

stock pot with steamer / food processor {I have a 3-cup and a 9-cup size I use} / trays for freezing in individual portions {our favorite here} / thin jar spatula / binding agents {coconut oil, olive oil, chicken stock, etc} / your food

|| simple step by step guide ||

1. prepare food // this is super easy to do. whatever the food, prepare it as if you were going to eat it that day. for most vegetables -- steam them individually in a pot until tender; frozen food can be steamed directly out of the bag otherwise peel/cut/chop fresh food before steaming {steaming is better than boiling because it preserves more of the nutrients}; for certain vegetables {like rainbow carrots, bell peppers, cauliflower, etc} I roast them on a flat sheet at 375-400 degrees with olive oil until tender.

2. steam or bake until tender // the goal is just to soften your food enough so that it can easily be blended in a food processor

3. puree in food processor // I do each food one at a time; while warm, add to food processor and while blending, stream in a binding agent. We use a lot of coconut oil here and I love the yummy flavor it adds to food in addition to how many health benefits it has. You can use olive oil, low sodium organic chicken broth or vegetable broth {I always buy organic since many non organic brands contain wheat}

4. fill trays + freeze // once smooth, pour into your food trays for freezing. I use a thin jar spatula to smooth out the top and then lay them flat in our freezer for 6-8 hours or overnight

5. remove from trays + organize // once hardened, I pop all the cubes out of the silicone trays and put them in to labeled freezer bags. Another reason I love the tovolo trays is because they are 1 oz portions and perfect squares, making it super easy to stack in bags.

6. defrost + feed // most mornings, I pull out the food I'll be feeding Poppy for the day, typically 2-3 oz of food per meal. I put it in ramekins or a bowl in our fridge to defrost through the day. To reheat, simply put in small saucepan until softened and warmed through or microwave. I add coconut oil before serving if I didn't use it in the blending process and my favorite spoons for feeding are here. Once my supply of a specific food gets low {sweet potatoes and green beans below}, I restock it. You can do it all in one day over the course of an afternoon or one food per day in 10-15 minutes.

I'll be doing another post soon with more tips on preparing meat for your baby as well as our favorite food combinations and recipes and feeding products. We also love pouches and I've found a lot of organic options that are low in sugar with loads of vegetables I don't always have on hand. Pouches are great for on the go, busy mornings and to complement your meals.

bananas / strawberries / black beans / vegetable bake with lentils

Below are a few books that have been extra helpful for me in this season of introducing solids:

If you have other questions about introducing solids or homemade baby food, please leave them below so I can be sure to answer them in my next post!! Have a great day!!


  1. Great info!!! Thank you! At what age did you introduce food?

  2. Thank you for this post! I just started my baby on solids (6 months) and feel like I don't know what I'm doing. She's been breastfed, and all of a sudden I feel clueless about how often to feed solids, when to back down the nursing, when to give her water, etc. Any additional info would be great, thank you!

    1. Hi Sam!! Most people and resources say "Food before 1 is just for fun" so most Moms continue to nurse at regular intervals OR nurse on demand and then just offer food 2-3 times a day (for example, breakfast / lunch / dinner). Breastmilk is still the best source of nutrition up to one year so that's great you're nursing -- just keep doing that and add in food day by day, even if just small amounts. As far as water goes, unless she seems thirsty, she doesn't necessarily need much. You can offer solids and a little bit of water in a sippy cup (like 1 oz or so) and give her a sip of that between bites of food. But you don't want to fill her up with water since then she's less likely to nurse as long or eat food if her tummy is full of water. Does that all make sense? Hope that helps!! :)


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