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Starting Solid Foods Part 4

Today’s the last installment on introducing solids, and we get to the fun stuff – spending money. 

While you were registering for your baby shower, starting your baby on solid foods probably seemed so far away you didn’t give it a second glance; you were much more concerned about picking out the right stroller and the perfect itty bitty booties.  Now the time’s come, and here’s what you’ll need.

A place to feed your baby.  Some of you would call this a high chair.  I call high chairs a huge space hog and live in a New York apartment, so I do not have a specific one I can recommend to you.  I know several people that have gotten the cheap one at Ikea and been very happy.  But unless you live in a large house and plan on having several kids, you may want to simply buy a booster seat instead.  We started Madeleine in the Bumbo Sitter; we had bought the Bumbo to give her a place to hang out with us and started using it for meals to delay buying another piece of gear.  It’s small, portable, and wipes clean easily.  The disadvantages as a feeding station:  it doesn’t have a tray, which becomes a problem when you add finger foods or self-feeding.  And if you’ve got a squirmy kid, it doesn’t come with straps so they’ll arch themselves out of the chair.  Finally, it doesn’t come with a way to strap it to a chair either, so unless your baby is very docile or you feel comfortable sitting with her on the floor, it’ll be outgrown relatively soon as a feeding chair.  Maddie is docile and we do sit on the floor, so we just bought her a real booster seat when she hit nine months.

The booster seat we got is great for a few reasons.  It reclines, so you can buy it early and use it for bottle feeding or propping your baby in while you run to the bathroom.  The tray fits in the dishwasher, and the cloth lining comes off easily for the washing machine.  The base is nice and wide, and seems to come with more straps for attaching to a chair than the others which made it seem safer to me.  The main disadvantage is that it’s not as collapsible as others I saw; the Fisher Price came highly recommended to me and seems to fold smaller if you’ll be traveling it a lot.  Our booster seat does break down, but still is a bit bulky.

Wherever you feed your child, you will need a bibPlease buy the one I linked to.  It’s available in several stores, and comes in infant and toddler sizes.  It unfolds completely so the crumb catcher gets really clean, it goes in the dishwasher, it’s soft, the reasons are endless.  I love it. 

Bowls for feeding baby – don’t stress about this too much.  We’re still getting away with a set of small glass bowls, since she doesn’t feed herself with a spoon, or small pieces of Tupperware.  When we move to more self-feeding, we’ll buy some sturdy plastic pieces, but don’t spend a fortune on them.

Spoons – you need baby spoons.  They look impossibly tiny but actually fit in baby’s mouth!  I really like the ones that change color when food’s too hot; it keeps me from having to stick my finger in her food over and over.  I’m that lazy.

For traveling, get some of those small Glad Ware Tupperware things at the grocery store.  They’re a great size for a half jar or cube or two of baby food; then you don’t have to throw the rest of the jar away.  They also keep cheerios from getting crushed in the diaper bag.

Also for traveling – this travel place mat is great for restaurants with older babies; it’s got a spot to catch all the stray Cheerios.  And we use our grocery cart liner from Cart Along Baby in restaurants to line the booster seat; it keeps Maddie from eating the previous occupant’s lunch.  Not necessary, of course, but very helpful and to me, worth it.

If you’re going to make your own food, you’ll just need ice cube trays to freeze the purees in and something in which to puree, like a food processor, as well as a way to steam foods for optimum nutrient retention.  Honestly, don’t buy a fancy steamer.  I use my pasta insert on my big pot as a steamer, or use the $5 steamer insert I bought at Target.

A couple of good reference items –  Baby Bistro Box is a cute little notecard kit, with advice on baby food from pre-natal (taking care of mom’s diet) through the first year.  Most info is accurate, but turn to reference sites for more fleshed out information.  Also, the Fresh Start Cworkbook is a great reference/work book to have on hand.  They’ve got lots of great info on food allergies, recipes, food combining, introducing foods, and so forth, and plenty of journal space so you can keep track of what’s been introduced.  I think it’s a great book.

And regardless of how you do it, make a place on your fridge/countertop/whatever to keep track of what your baby’s eaten successfully, and what baby’s allergic to.  You’ll need this information handy when you head to the grocery store or have Grandma come over to babysit.

So good luck to you!  Get out there, and give that baby some solid food.  Have a great time.

And Daddies, start your video cameras.


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