The most common question people ask me (aside from "where did you get those fabulous shoes?" ha ha) is "How do you start feeding your baby?". So I thought I would begin at the beginning. Bai and I were in this great mom's group with kids from 0 to 1 year. I heard from moms with older kids what their struggles were with food. I decided that I wanted Bailey to eat with us; when we ate, what we ate. Since I was nursing Bailey and she wouldn't take a bottle, I naturally became in charge of feeding her solids. However, Mike did and still does most of the grocery shopping (it keeps me from buying too many bags of Oreos!) so I wouldn't always get to pick out her jarred food. I decided (it sounds crazy now, but sleep deprived moms make all sorts of loopy choices) that it would be easier just to make her food. At the time I didn't know what a butternut squash was, how to peel it or how to steam it - in fact, I didn't even have a steamer basket! But, I had a great mom-friend who was going to make her son's food as well - a partner in crime.
So at five months, I tried to give Bailey rice cereal. She wasn't interested. My mother-in-law was visiting and I didn't want her to think I was starving her granddaughter but Bailey would just let it fall out of her mouth. Grandma tried too, to no avail. So while I waited for Bailey to start eating, I would put her in her highchair whenever we were eating and let her play with her baby spoons and sippy cups; that way they weren't strange when it was time to use them. She finally started eating at 7 1/2 months! I would give her cereal once a day when she seemed bored but not tired, at about the same time and I would eat something with her. Rice cereal is very constipating so after a few days, when I knew she was handling it fine, I switched to a mix of grains. I like Earth's Best brand.
Once Bailey (and I did the same thing with Clare, but she started at 5 1/2 months) ate the cereal well and she seemed to be hungrier I started giving her cereal twice and then three times a day. But I didn't want her to get used to cereal for every meal because that is not what we eat. So then I washed, peeled, chopped, steamed and pureed apples, pears, butternut squash, sweet potatoes and zucchini. These are all great first foods because they are mild flavors and low allergenic triggers. I would introduce one every three or four days. I still gave her cereal as well. So that first month Bailey and Clare learned how to eat and were introduced to six foods. I mixed these all up with each other and cereal to give her new flavors. Babies thrive on routine but I constantly changed Bai's foods so that she never had the same thing at the same time. I wanted her routine to be to accept new foods and the only routine about it would be that she would get something to eat.
I still mix pureed fruits with morning oatmeal for the girls (and me! ). Our favorite is peach puree. I just wash, peel, and chop the peaches then puree them and freeze them in ice cube trays. Then I just throw a frozen peach cube into the steaming oatmeal. It cools and flavors the oatmeal for us - yum!