Baby food has been one of the biggest unknowns for us. What should she be eating? How much? When can she start puffs? How do I know when she's full? When will she actually realize that she's eating and not just playing? Did she get any of it down?
I can't say I found a great resource for us or that I have all the answers. Day after day we kept experimenting and learning from our mistakes and successes - it was frustrating at times, but now I look back and realize that we found out a lot that way. I hope that in some way our experiences will be helpful to you.
1.We splurged on our high chair, and I am so glad we did. (We also have a booster seat for traveling and if she eventually wants to sit at the table with us.) Our high chair has wheels, and I roll it around our house daily so she can eat O's while I get ready in the morning (to the bathroom if I'm straightening m hair, or to the kitchen if I'm making my lunch, etc.). It's a great design, is easy to raise/lower, and the tray goes on and off with one hand. Roo also gets to go for rides in it occasionally, which she loves. :)
2. Our favorite bibs are cloth bibs. We have almost 20 bibs, in many different brands, shapes and colors. The cloth bibs are the only ones that Roo doesn't get distracted with and try to eat. We throw them in the laundry when they're dirty, but my cousin told me she washes hers in the dishwasher. Note: I only do laundry once per week, so ideally I'd have at least seven of them (we only have six). Keep in mind that Roo goes to day care and I am not responsible for cleaning those bibs. Luckily, there are some feedings where they don't get dirty.
3. We've taken a slower pace. For some reason I felt a lot of pressure for her to try foods at 4 months (even when the recommendation from the AAP is 6 months), and to give her puffs before she had top teeth. The saying is "Under 1, just for fun." Honestly, at first it wasn't much fun for us. Once we started, we didn't do it daily. Eventually we worked our way up to 2 meals (8 months) and then 3 meals (10.5 months). Your baby will let you know when they are ready to add table foods and when they are full. She has gagged on pureed peas (one of the thicker baby foods) and puffs (still haven't tried them again). So at those times we just step back and try it again in a few weeks. I knew she was ready to chew table foods when I was eating a banana and she crawled over, took a bite off it, and proceeded to chew and swallow it. Success!
4. We've been very protective of her diet. We didn't feel comfortable with rice cereal, so we skipped it altogether. She gets very little grains, and when she does it's from oatmeal or Trader Joe's O's for a snack. She just recently had some dairy when we made smoothies and she wanted a taste (there was organic yogurt in it). We've chosen to stick to mostly fruits, vegetables and meats for now. We only buy organic. I know we can't protect her forever (they don't serve organic at day care or school), but we're trying to get her started on the good stuff.
5. Homemade vs. store-bought. We made 5 sweet potatoes, 6 bananas and 5 avocados in August, and it lasted for months! I'm serious. I think it lasted five months! I wish I would have also made broccoli, since I haven't been able to find that in stores until recently (Earth's Best has stage 3 zucchini & broccoli). I sort of lost interest in making it, so we've bought jars/pouches as of late. If you do have the determination, I would make very large batches (like we did) at a time.
6. The first food doesn't really matter. I obsessed over what food to give her as her first food, which was so silly! We chose egg yolk, which was weird (hard to cook it right), and found out at 4 months that she wasn't ready to even swallow it. We waited a couple more months (when she was more ready) and then we did avocado. But, three days later, we tried sweet potatoes. So, what was the big deal with her first food -- three days?! Haha.
7. Rooney has liked every single thing we've ever given her (on a spoon). Her mom (yeah, that's me..) is a SUPER picky eater, so this is kind of surprising. She has never refused anything on a spoon, but I know that can be a common problem. She shows more fear and resistance to table foods (as seen by her face in the photo above), but we keep trying!