These 10 Best First Foods for Baby are great served either as a baby food puree or as finger foods for baby-led weaning. Full of essential nutrients for a growing baby, these first foods also taste delicious from the very first bite. Great guide for Stage One or babies 4-6 months of age. PLUS, I give you 6 tips for getting started and over 30 easy-to-follow recipes!
Best First Foods for Baby
My favorite first foods for baby – all in one place!
While it was hard to narrow my favorites foods for baby down to only 10.. these 10 stood out to me as the clear winners!
These 10 wholesome foods are full of essential nutrients for a growing baby, are delicious in their own right, and they are super easy to make into a simple baby food puree or into a finger food for baby-led weaning. Plus, they are relativity easy to find in any grocery store.
10 of the Best First Foods for Baby (in no particular order)
- Sweet Potato
- Green Beans
When is Baby Ready for their first bite?
There is no particular age when your baby will be ready to start eating purees. It just doesn’t happen like that. Age takes a backseat to the signs your baby gives you herself as to her developmental readiness. While pediatricians generally recommend introducing solid food around six months of age, it’s more important that before starting your child on solids you can answer “yes” to most of the following questions:
- Can your baby sit up on her own?
- Is your baby able to hold her head and neck in an upright position?
- Does your baby reach for, or eye, your food while you are eating?
- Is she hungry more often and not satisfied after finishing her usual amount of breast milk or formula?
- Has her weight doubled since birth?
If those questions generate a mix of yes and no answers, it’s no big deal. Just wait a bit.
Start when the signs are there, and continue to keep trying. At some point, your little one will be ready, and she will open her mouth to her very first bite of food.
6 Tips for Getting Started
- Start Slowing – start by serving a small amount of one food item to baby once or twice a day, to see how they react. If they are reaching for more, then by all means, give them more. If they keep tossing it on the floor or refusing to open their mouths, then take that food away and try again in a couple of days. It takes some time before they are eating entire meals.
- Cut up Finger Foods – to avoid choking hazards make sure you are cutting finger foods for baby-led weaning into long 2-3 inch strips or cut them into small “pea” size pieces. You can also cut them both ways to see which one your baby prefers.
- Be Patient – it might take a while for baby to get into their eating groove. They may also love the idea of eating but get more food on the floor than in their mouths. Baby might even seem interested in food but then turn their head every time a spoon comes to their lips. It’s frustrating, I get it! But just keep on serving healthy foods and be patient.
- Eat as a Family – regardless if you are doing purees or baby-led weaning, eating as a family promotes healthy food habits from the very start! By eating with baby you are showing them how to bring food from a plate to your mouth, how to chew and how to swallow.
- Mix it Up – please do not take these 10 foods and serve them to baby all at once and for every meal. These are my favorite foods for baby because they are loaded with nutrients and flavor for growing baby. But baby also needs to eat a huge variety of foods to make them appreciate a wide variety of fruits, veggies, grains, and meats. So mix it up and try to serve them different items each week.
- Add Seasoning – I definitely recommend serving food with spices, herbs and added healthy fats (refined coconut oil, good quality of olive oil or butter) with their foods. Not only do healthy fats aid in brain development and keeps baby fuller for longer, they also make food taste better!
Purees vs. Baby-Led Weaning
Regardless of what you read or hear, there is no right or wrong way to feed your baby.
Purees might work better for your family because you can prep a ton of purees in an afternoon and have a freezer stash of food ready for baby to eat anytime they are hungry.
Baby-Led Weaning might be a more flexible way for your family to serve food to your baby right alongside everyone else.
Or maybe a combo of purees and baby-led weaning would work best for your family.
It’s important to remember that this stage of feeding is all about exposure to new flavors and textures of foods.
So, you do you!
Again, there is NO right way to feed baby! Play around and find out what works best for both baby and your family and go with it.
WHICH FOOD ARE YOU SERVING YOUR BABY FIRST?
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Avocados are often called one of nature’s perfect foods because they contain so many of the nutrients a person needs to survive and thrive. They are packed with all the B vitamins (minus B12), vitamin C, a wide array of minerals and lots of brain-building omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, 88% of an avocado is made up of healthy fat, helping us absorb certain fat-soluble vitamins, control blood sugar and support a healthy cardiovascular system. Avocados provide our bodies with a lot of nutrient support, but they are also the perfect first food for baby.
How to Make Avocado Baby Food Puree
Simply peel and pit a quarter of a ripe avocado and place on a cutting board. Then with the back of a fork, mash the avocado until smooth. You can add in a teaspoon or two of formula or breast milk to make it super smooth and creamy.
How To Serve Avocado for Baby-Led Weaning
Cut a slice of avocado off of the pit. Using a small knife, cut into the peel 1/3 of the way up the slice of avocado until you get to the flesh. Peel off 2/3 of the peel and hand baby the peel side of the avocado. This provides a nice handle for baby to hold while they eat the avocado.
Get more ways to serve avocado to baby here!
How to Make Egg Baby Food Puree
Using a hardboiled egg, peel away the shell and white part of the egg. Then place the cooked egg yolk on a cutting board or baby-safe plate. Using the back of a fork, mash the egg yolk until smooth, adding in a teaspoon or two of breast milk or formula if needed to make it creamy.
How To Serve Egg for Baby-Led Weaning
Peel a hardboiled egg and then cut into quarters the long way. I have also found scrambled eggs, plain omelets or egg roll-ups work great as a finger food for baby.
Sweet potatoes are at the top of the list when it comes to first foods to introduce to your baby. The nutritional value of sweet potatoes is outstanding! And the sweet taste of the sweet potato makes it super easy to introduce to your baby from their very first bite. Sweet potatoes are high in beta carotene as well as the ultra-important electrolyte mineral potassium! Sweet potatoes also contain a good levels of Vitamin E, calcium and folate. Due to their high fiber content, sweet potatoes help support a healthy digestive tract and promote regular bowel movements for your baby.
How to Make Sweet Potato Baby Food Puree
Peel and chop 1-2 sweet potatoes. Place in a steamer basket over boiling water and steam for 10-12 minutes or until tender when pricked with a fork. Add cooked sweet potatoes to a food processor or blender, and puree for 1-2 minutes until completely smooth, adding in water in 1/4 cup increments if needed. I had to use 1 cup of water for the puree above. Even more amazing recipes – Sweet Potato + Curry Baby Food Puree, Sweet Potato + Thyme Baby Food Puree or Sweet Potato with Coconut Milk Baby Puree.
How To Serve Sweet Potatoes for Baby-Led Weaning
Peel and slice the sweet potato into long strips that are half an inch thick. Place in a steamer basket and steam for 8-10 minutes or until just tender when pricked with a fork. You want them soft but not overcooked. Overcooked sweet potatoes tend to fall apart when baby fists them. Let cool and serve to baby. Will last 5 days in the fridge.
Apples are a yummy, nutrient-dense first food for baby. They’re easy to digest, high in immune-boosting nutrients, and perfectly sweet on their own. We’ve all heard the saying “An Apple a Day…”, well there may be some truth to this – apples are high in polyphenols and phytonutrients, which are potent antioxidants that help protect baby and kiddos from disease and illness. In addition to antioxidants, apples contain insoluble and soluble fiber which will help protect baby from diarrhea and constipation.
How To Make Apple Baby Food Puree
Peel and chop 2-3 apples and place in a steamer basket over boiling water and cook for 8-10 minutes or until tender. Transfer the apples to a blender and puree for 1-2 minutes or until smooth, adding in liquid (water, breastmilk or formula) in 1/4 cup increments if needed. Even more amazing apple puree recipes – Apple + Cinnamon Baby Food Puree, Apple + Clove Baby Food Puree and Apple + Coconut Milk Baby Food Puree.
How to Serve Apples for Baby-Led Weaning
Peel and slice an apple and place in a steamer basket over boiling water for 6-8 minutes or until just tender when pricked with a fork. You want it soft but not falling apart. Let cool and serve to baby. Optional – sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon on apple slices before serving. Steam apple slices will last in the fridge for 3 days, add a squeeze of lemon juice to help them from browning.
Broccoli is definitely one of the best food choices for baby. This green cruciferous veggie has been shown to lower cholesterol, aid in detoxification, rebuild vitamin D stores, and help combat inflammation. Steaming ensures the broccoli retains the most nutrients and that it won’t become too mushy – a characteristic many kiddos frown upon.
How to Make Broccoli for Baby Food Puree
Place 2 cups of broccoli florets in a steamer basket over boiling water and steam for 10-12 minutes until tender. Transfer to blender and puree for 1-2 minutes, adding in 1/4 cup of liquid (water, breastmilk or formula) until you have a smooth puree. Here are some more amazing broccoli recipes – Broccoli + Chives Baby Food Puree and Broccoli + Olive Oil Puree Baby Food Recipe.
How To Serve Broccoli for Baby-Led Weaning
Place a cup of broccoli florets into a steamer over boiling water and steam for 8-10 minutes or until tender when pricked with a fork. Let cool and serve to baby in florets or chopped up into “pea” size pieces. Here is a recipe for my fav roasted broccoli for baby.
Wild-caught salmon is one of the world’s healthiest foods! This is due to the fact that it is packed with vitamins and minerals, along with a high content of omega-3 fatty acids. Combined these nutrients help improve bone health, boost brain function, promote a healthy heart as well as it may prevent ADHD in children.
How to Make Salmon Baby Food Puree
I used grilled salmon as that is what I had on hand, but any cooked salmon would work. Place 1/4 cup cooked salmon along with 1 cup cooked sweet potato or squash into a blender and puree for 1-2 minutes, adding in 1/4 cup of liquids (water, breast milk or formula) until smooth. You can really use any fruit or veggie your baby prefers in this recipe. Adding another veggie in the puree helps the salmon blend into a nice smooth puree.
How To Serve Salmon for Baby-Led Weaning
Flake some cooked salmon onto a baby-safe plate or their high chair tray, making sure to pick off any bones. Let baby eat with their hand or with this baby-led weaning fork.
Plain full-fat yogurt is a yummy first food for baby. Produced by the bacterial fermentation of cow’s milk, yogurt is full of beneficial probiotics that help improve digestion and constipation and help keep our gut in good working order. Yogurt is also high in protein and calcium, helping bones and teeth stay healthy and strong. Yogurt has also been shown to help improve blood sugar control (the plain variety, not the sweetened) and helps reduce total cholesterol levels while increasing our “good” HDL cholesterol. You can also serve baby plain goats milk as a nice alternative to cow’s milk yogurt. I would recommend waiting to serve plant-based yogurts to baby until 7 months.
How to Make Yogurt Baby Food Puree
Place a small spoonful in a bowl and serve to baby.
How to Serve Yogurt for Baby-Led Weaning
Place a small spoonful of yogurt into a bowl and load up this self-feeding GOOtensil with a small amount of yogurt and hand it to baby.
Bananas and babies are pretty much synonymous. Bananas are sweet, mushy and easy to digest, so they make a perfect first food for baby. Bonus – you don’t have to peel, chop, steam, puree bananas. Just peel, pinch with your (clean) finger, then serve. Spoons are totally optional. Older babies love to squish bananas in their own little pincher grasp. Beware, the messy banana – on bibs, faces, highchair trays, clothing, the floor, the dog, your hair. Oh, bananas! Many a happy baby has gobbled, gulped, and giggled his way through those first delicious bites of bananas!
How To Make Banana Baby Food Puree
Place half of a ripe and peeled banana on a cutting board and mash with the back of a fork until smooth.
How To Serve Banana for Baby-Led Weaning
Cut a banana in half, and then gently cut about 2 inches from the stem around the banana. Peel the top off, but leave the banana attached, thus giving baby a handle to hold onto. Hand baby the stem part of the banana for them to hold onto while they eat the banana.
Find more ways to serve banana to baby here!
Squash comes in many delicious varieties and is a perfect first food for baby. Delicata, acorn, hubbard, kobocha and butternut are all a part of the winter squash family and are all high in carotenoids, a special class of antioxidants that may help prevent cancer and inflammation. Winter squash may also help regulate blood sugar, reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease and help improve mood due to a high content of mood-boosting Omega-3 fatty acids! Winter squash has a rich, sweet flavor that baby will enjoy year-round.
How to Make Squash Baby Food Puree
Place cubed squash (any variety) in a steamer basket and steam for 10-12 minutes or until tender when pricked with a fork. Transfer to a blender and puree for 1-2 minutes on high, adding in liquid (water, breastmilk or formula) in 1/4 cup increments until smooth. You can use frozen or pre-cut squash to make your life a little easier.
How to Serve Squash for Baby-Led Weaning
Cut long strips of squash and place in a steamer basket over boiling water. Steam for 8-10 minutes until tender. Let cool and serve. Love using this crinkle cutter to make veggies easier for baby to grip.
In just one serving of green beans, baby will be getting a nice big dose of some very important nutrients. These nutrients can help prevent a lot of different conditions including asthma, ear infections and even the common cold and flu! Even though green beans have a rich green color, they will provide baby with carotenoids, which are normally found in vibrantly colored orange fruits and veggies. These carotenoids are potent health-supporting antioxidants that will help keep baby free from illness!
How to Make Green Beans Baby Food Puree
Place two cups of green beans in a steamer basket over boiling water and steam for 8-10 minutes or until tender. Transfer the beans to a blender and puree for 1-2 minutes, adding in 1/4 cup liquid (water, breastmilk or formula) if needed until smooth. Here are some more awesome green bean puree recipes – Green Bean + Basil Baby Food Puree, Green Bean + Coconut Oil Organic Baby Food Puree and Green Beans + Parsley Baby Food Puree.
How to Serve Green Beans for Baby-Led Weaning
Place a cup of green beans in a steamer basket and steam for 6-8 minutes or until tender when pricked with a fork. Let cool, cut in half if green beans are too long and serve to baby.
More Recipes for Baby
- 15 Stage One Baby Food Purees (4-6 months)
- Ultimate Guide on How to Make Homemade Baby Food
- 36 Healthy + Homemade Baby Food Recipes (4+ Months)
- The Ultimate Guide to Fingers Foods (great for Baby-Led Weaning)
10 Best First Foods for Baby
- Sweet Potato
- Green Beans
- See above for easy recipes for both purees and baby-led weaning.