When Emmet was teeny we literally had no idea what we were doing. Each time we went to see his doctor we were super surprised at what new things he told us. I remember his 4 month appointment being super exciting because his doctor told us we could start introducing rice cereal and purees. Partly because it just seemed really exciting to give him food AND because I was getting tired of breastfeeding so much (and pumping in the library closet at work).
Fast forward to this time around with Henry. This time I was expecting to start food at 4 months, but our doctor suggested waiting until 6 months instead..he has since switched over to the "baby led weaning". We decided to try it out but ended up caving and introducing rice cereal at 5 months to help fill his belly at night. If I could go back, I think I would have just started feeding Henry purees in addition to rice cereal around 5 months as well. He seemed ready.
From my understanding, when practicing baby-led weaning, you wait until babies show readiness signs for feeding themselves and you simply start placing small pieces of food in front of them for them to eat. So after our 6 month appointment we tried for a few days and I found it incredibly inefficient, at least for having 2 kids around. So instead I started introducing purees and putting out small pieces for him to practice with at the same time.
When Emmet was little I was still working and the idea of making our own purees seemed really daunting, so we bought the plastic ones from the grocery store. This time around I also decided to brave making my own baby food because a) I have more time and b) because we are trying to waste less and the idea of throwing out 3+ plastic containers a day (aka 21 little plastic containers a WEEK) seemed incredibly wasteful. As it turns out it is not hard at all! I spend a lot of time in our kitchen anyways with Emmet on eating or making art at the dining room table, so chopping up a few vegetables and steaming them doesn't seem to add too much to our day.
I think what made it less scary to start out was finding the cookbook, The Big Book of Organic Baby Food. We don't always adhere to organic part, BUT it spells out step by step how to make smooth purees, chunky purees, and more! Plus, it also suggests a variety of vegetables and flavor combinations that I wouldn't have ever thought to feed a baby. So hopefully with trying vegetables that Emmet never has, Henry ends up being a far less picky eater! Plus we get to rest easy knowing exactly what is in Henry's food and that he is getting a healthy diet.
We didn't completely drop the baby led weaning practice that our doctor suggested. Instead, I leave some of each vegetables steamed and not pureed. Then when I am feeding him a puree, I also give him some of the chunks instead. I just make sure they are small enough and soft enough that he can safely eat. Bananas, avocados, and the center of bread work really easily in a pinch too!
Making our own food also gives us the benefit of wasting FAR LESS plastic and trash in general. We use only glass, silicone, wood and metal when possible, and only things that are entirely reusable. We also have been composting all of the vegetable scraps in hopes of using it in our garden in the spring (to grow Henry even more vegetables!) Below are some of the supplies we use:
The Big Book of Organic Food -
Glass Jars - I used 4 oz jam jars that are now sold out on amazon, but these are similar in function and size. Bonus, they are perfect for storing baby food and feeding babies from AND they can be reused for something else later on.
Silicone Freezer Tray - For freezing 2 oz portions of food to use later. The recipe book uses frozen portions to make the combination purees (aka apple & pear puree, etc)
Ninja Blender - I used this blender until I warped the plastic by putting in food too hot, whoops. Now we use our Ninja Blender and it works just as well.
Re-Usable Baby Food Pouches - Emmet got really into these pouches at about 1 year, they were really handy for letting him feed himself a puree so I could get some things done. We used disposable ones then, and again felt really wasteful. These are reusable and dishwasher safe!
Silicone Bib - Keeps food off of Henry AND it is dishwasher safe. You are welcome.
Bamboo Baby Spoons - We also use their plates, bowls, and child sized cutlery for Emmet.
Stock Pot with Steamer Insert - The book has you steam just about everything, this one works just great.