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Welcome to the world of weaning, a whole new stage of parenting whereby new mums can kiss goodbye to any hope of me-time while the baby sleeps (going on Insta… showering… going back on Insta) and spend nap times chopping, puréeing and freezing instead. Or perhaps using that precious hour to clean up the mess caused by baby’s last attack on the kitchen. One thing’s for sure, if you have time to consume more than a cup of coffee before 11am then you’re either winning at life or have live-in help… 

But seriously, once you’ve established that your little one is ready to start on solids, choosing their very first foods can feel like a huge life decision. You might worry that baby will end up detesting their greens, or maybe you’ve read about the links between gut health and the foods you eat in the first few years of your life. There’s also the perceived pressure to tick many boxes – is the food healthy, tasty, easy, quick and visually appealing? We get it, we’ve been there. Which is why we’ve put together a list of single foods to start feeding your baby with (regardless of whether you follow spoon-led or baby-led weaning) all grouped by ease of preparation. Because let’s face it, we mums need all the help we can get.

First, a few ground rules:

  1. Aim for variety.
  2. Fruits are not the enemy. They contain plenty of minerals and vitamins so excluding them is not doing your baby any favours.
  3. Hold the salt and sugar for under ones.
  4. Purees: you can add baby’s usual milk to loosen the food.
  5. Finger foods: usually around 6cm long and soft enough to squish when pinched.
  6. Peel off any skin from fruits and vegetable, as this can present a choking hazard early on in weaning.
  7. Ensure food has cooled down before serving.
  8. Good quality food pouches are okay. Not everyone has time to cook, and not everyone wants to. If you can, go organic.
  9. First foods should not replace baby’s usual milk feeds.
  10. Offering around one tsp of first purée is fine; they’re just exploring for now.

Babies are already accustomed to slightly sweeter tastes such as breastmilk or formula, so it is likely that they will accept sweeter foods such as fruit and root vegetables more easily than complex flavours. Based on this, many mums give their little ones neutral foods before introducing more bitter ones. Avocado for example (filled with healthy fats, creamy in texture and not too sweet) swiftly followed by bitter greens and root vegetables. 

Ok, you’ve made it this far so here’s your go-to-guide for first tastes, categorised in a way that all mums will understand:

Mash it up: 2 min preparation time

Avocado
Banana
Mango
Papaya

Steam/stew and blend to a purée: 15 minutes prep time.

Green beans
Spinach
Courgette
Peach
Blueberry
Pineapple
Raspberry
Apple
Pear
Plum
Nectarine
Strawberry

20 minutes prep time.

Broccoli
Kale
Sweet Potato
Carrot
Potato
Cauliflower
Butternut Squash
Pumpkin
Swede
Parsnip

Learning to eat is a major challenge leading to an important life skill. You and baby will have good days and bad, so encourage them, be patient and stay calm… even when they’re spitting food all over your new Givenchy bag. And good luck!

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