When it comes to starting your baby on solids, a question parents ask themselves (aside from how and when to start) is, “What foods should I start with?” After all, your baby hasn’t tasted anything but breastmilk or formula up to this point; whatever foods you offer first are going to have a big impact!
There are a few rules when it comes to what foods you should feed your baby first. Avoid any allergenic foods (like milk, eggs, tomatoes, nut butters, etc.) Think about textures, too; whatever foods you start your baby on should be smooth, runny, and pretty lump-free. So raw carrots are out. And you’ll want to start with foods that are easy for your baby to digest. Avoid things that’ll cause gas (like broccoli) or that are highly acidic (like tomatoes and strawberries).
Below, we’ve compiled a list of the 8 most common “first foods” for baby, along with a few words about each. This list is in no particular order. What’s more, this list isn’t meant to be a rigid, inflexible guide; you don’t have to start with these foods! Simply use this list as a guide to help you create the “menus” for your baby’s first few weeks of meals.
This is the #1 most common first food for babies, for a few reasons. It’s bland, so babies usually don’t reject it based on its taste. Its texture makes it easy for babies to swallow. And it’s easy to digest, making it a good first option.
Once babies have mastered rice cereal, many parents move on to oatmeal. Like rice cereal, oatmeal is fairly bland and smooth.
Applesauce is smooth and easy to swallow, making it a good first food. And since babies tend to prefer sweet flavors, it’s usually a baby favorite Plus, it’s easy to find sugar-free applesauce at the supermarket, making it an inexpensive choice.
Many parents love the convenience of serving mashed bananas — they’re easy to mash, and since they’re already soft and don’t need cooking, they provide a great way to feed your little one fresh fruit. What’s more, bananas are easy for tiny tummies to digest.
Avocados are great first foods for many of the same reasons as bananas — they’re easy to mash, they’re soft and easy to eat when they’re fresh, and they’re highly digestible. And you can feel good knowing that each time you feed your baby avocados, you’re offering her heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
Pears are fiber-rich and delicious; they can also help relieve constipation and reflux.
Sweet Potatoes are a fantastic first food for baby. They’re packed with vitamins and minerals, they’re easy to digest, and babies usually love their naturally sweet flavor.
Winter squash, like butternut and acorn squash, is delicious and nutritious. And squashes tend to produce smooth, runny purees — all the more reason to make it one of the first foods you offer to your baby!
Of course, you can buy commercial, prepared versions of all the food above; you certainly don’t have to make your own baby food. But if you decide you want to try making your baby’s food yourself, check our our recipes for homemade cereal, homemade fruit purees, and homemade veggie purees.
You may also want to check our our Types and Amounts of Solid Foods By Age charts, for more information on what first foods are best for your baby.