Babies starting solids is such a fun and exciting time! My daughter loved trying to eat inedible things like napkins, her toes, power cords, etc… so I was excited to see what her response would be to actual food. We had quite the array of facial reactions – from disgusted and disturbed to intrigued and elated. Really, I should say bodily reactions since some foods made her shiver in disgust from her head to her toes, while others made her whole body wiggle as she kicked her feet in joy and opened wide for MORE!
Whether you’re planning on doing baby-led weaning, purees or a combination of the two, you’re going to need some gear to get started. If you plan to make your own baby food, be sure to check out the special section just for you at the bottom of this post.
This is not a comprehensive list. I’ve left out most of the super basic things like spoons and cups. Instead I’m only going to share my absolute favorite items with you.
** You can find all the items in this post, plus some additional favorite or top-rated baby feeding gear (including said spoons and cups left out of this post) on my curated Amazon list. **
The Best of the Basics
Bumkins Splat Mat. Super helpful for avoiding mopping twice a day at the beginning stages when a lot of food ends up on the floor. This one is machine washable. It can also be used as a craft table cloth once they’re older.
Avanchy Bamboo Bowl + Spoon – These are a little pricey, but you really only need one, and it lasts. Unlike most silicone suction bowls, the suction cup is removable, so the bowl can continue to be used without suction once baby is old enough. It transitioned well with us from beginning feeding to toddlerhood. We still use it daily with our 2 year old.
Infantino Attachable Pouch Spoons – If you are using baby food pouches, GET THESE. They attach to the pouch and allow you to spoon feed baby right from the pouch. They’re specifically made for the Infantino-brand squeeze pouches (for making your own purees), but they seem to fit several other store-bought pouch brands, too.
Stokke Tripp Trapp High Chair – We love this streamlined high chair that transitions from babyhood to toddlerhood. It can either pull right up to the table with you or you can purchase the attachable tray. But I’ll admit I haven’t tried it with a new eater (my daughter was about 18 months when we got it). For more details on why we love this chair, see my writeup of it in this post on Worth-it Splurges for Babies and Toddlers.
Joovy Nook High Chair – While I haven’t tried it, it looks amazing and easy to clean, gets rave reviews and I’m considering getting it for baby number two. Be sure to watch the video available on Amazon – it gives a really good explanation of the features and benefits.
Finger Food Prep Gear
These items are either for those doing baby-led weaning, or those who are transitioning from purees into finger foods.
Spiralizer – This tool is not only great for making healthy foods for adults, but it can cut veggies into smaller fun strips for babies.
Crinkle-Cutting Tool – This cutting tool gives the food a crinkled texture to help baby better grip slippery foods.
Food Cutting Shapes – Make food fun with these tiny cookie cutters for fruits, vegetables and more.
The Cleanup Crew
A Dog – The biggest helper when it comes to cleaning up the floor after baby. (We don’t have one, this is my mom’s dog, but I often wish we did solely for this reason).
Reusable “Wipes” – Instead of going through a forest-full of disposable wipes or paper towels, we ended up using (and still use)… wait for it… cloth diaper inserts. Yep, that’s right. They’re incredibly soft, absorbent, and excellent for clean-up… they’re great for spit up clean up in the early months, too! They seem costly up front, but we’ve used the same ones we bought when Ava was born two years ago (we used them as burp cloths first), so they’ll likely save you money (and the environment) in the long run.
Dyson Cordless Vacuum – I know this seems odd on a baby feeding post, but it is SO SO helpful specifically when it comes to cleaning up after kiddos’ mealtime. It works like a charm on tile, linoleum or wood floors. I hate vacuuming (really I hate any type of cleaning), but this makes it too easy. Just grab it off the wall, swish swish, and you’re all done. I especially like the crevice tool which is perfect for painless removal of high chair and carseat crumbs. I could go on forever about this vacuum and how I think every mommy needs one.
For Those Making Your Own Baby Food
Infantino Squeeze Station & Extra Pouches – If you’re making your own baby food, you NEED this. I would prep purees about once a month, put them in these squeeze pouches, label and freeze. This squeeze station was so easy to use, the pouches are great space-savers in the freezer, and I was able to stock up once a month instead of constantly having to mix stuff up.
The attachable spoons mentioned above are made specifically for these pouches, though they seem to fit on other store-bought brands as well.
OXO Storage Containers – For chunkier foods such as hand-mashed sweet potatoes, oatmeal, etc. these containers (and the trays below) worked better than the squeeze pouches. We used both the 4 ounce and 2 ounce options.
Silicone Food Trays – I used these for smaller portions of foods. They’re easy to freeze, pop out of the mold and store in Ziplocs. Also great for freezing extra broth, for that recipe that calls for 2 TBSP of chicken broth, or tomato paste…. because every recipe calls for a tablespoon of tomato paste, and you’re always left with the other 3 ounces of tomato paste and no use for it. Anyone? Just me?
NutriNinja – I made all our baby food in our NutriNinja. We also have a Vitamix, but I found this to be much easier for the thicker texture of the purees and smaller portions I was wanting to make. Plus it was easier to clean between batches than the Vitamix was. We’ve had ours for over 2 years, it still works perfectly and gets almost daily use between smoothies for myself and my now-toddler and protein shakes for my husband.
That’s all I got for you on this post! Be sure to check out my curated Amazon list where you can find all the items in this post, plus some additional favorite or top-rated baby feeding gear.