ezpz Blog

Intro to First Foods

Whether you plan on using the traditional method, the baby led weaning (BLW) approach or a combination of both feeding styles –ultimately baby chooses the method. So knowing about the benefits of each approach and how to safely administer them can support your baby on this delicious journey!

Choose a feeding method to learn more!

Traditional Method

Baby Led Weaning

Traditional Method

Starting solids takes patience, practice and repetition-just like everything else in parenting. And most moms are up for the challenge, but don’t know how to get started. We see you mama and team ezpz is here to help!

Here is a quick overview of the most common questions we receive about starting solids with helpful links and product information to get you going on your feeding journey. We make navigating starting solids ezpz!

Baby Led Weaning

Baby led weaning (BLW) takes patience, practice and repetition-just like everything else in parenting. And most moms are up for the challenge, but don’t know how to get started. We see you mama and team ezpz is here to help!

Here is a quick overview of the most common questions we receive on BLW with helpful links and product information to get you going on your feeding journey. We make navigating BLW ezpz!

What is the Traditional Method?

The traditional feeding method consists of parent’s spoon feeding their baby deliciously smooth purees. In this method, parents are in control of the feeding process; the pace of the meal and learning baby’s fullness cues. Here are a few ideas to think about, as you get started.

  • Start purees for the first few weeks of solid food introduction. Once you are sure baby’s swallow is safe on purees, start introducing small amounts of soft foods too.
  • Purees are a great texture that will stay into a child’s food repertoire for a lifetime. 

To learn more about the different puree textures to give baby and other feeding tips, check out our blog: Three Puree Textures to Try.

Can I start purees at 4 months?

Sometimes families are so excited to start baby on solids that they accidentally begin too early (without knowing some of the risks). Here are some signs of readiness to look for:

  • Can baby sit up on their own without losing their balance?
  • Does baby reach for your food or drink and/or grasp objects?
  • Does baby bring their hand, objects or food to their mouth?
  • Does baby have the head control to look up, down and to both sides without falling forward?
  • Does baby stare at you intently while you are eating and/or have an interest in food?
  • Does baby start to drool, munch on their hand or open their mouth in time with you feeding yourself?
  • Is baby’s tongue thrust reflex gone (or decreased)?Does baby have ALL the above skills and is at least 4 months of age?

To learn more about starting solids too soon and other feeding tips, check out our blog: Are you Feeding Baby Too Early.

How do I decrease gagging and choking associated with spoon feeding?

  • Make sure the spoon you are using is properly sized for baby’s tiny mouth.
  • Don’t overfill the spoon, give tiny bites.
  • Pause between bites and give baby time to swallow all the tastes lingering in the mouth.Look for signs of fullness (pushing spoon away, turning away and closing their mouth.

To learn more tips on spoon feeding, check out our blog: How to Decrease Gagging When Spoon Feeding Baby.

Should I spoon feed my baby or try the baby-led spoon feeding approach?

  • Select an infant training spoon (a spoon designed for a baby to hold), like the ezpz Tiny Spoon.
  • Pre-load the spoon with a puree (and hand baby the spoon) so baby can self-feed. Babies learn more about the tastes and textures of food if they are controlling their eating experience.

To learn more tips on how to avoid mistakes with spoon feeding, check out our blog: Three Mistakes Parents Make During Baby-Led Spoon Feeding. 

Can purees help my baby obtain feeding milestones?

It’s important to navigate purees safely, avoid feeding challenges and try to make mealtime less stressful. Choosing the right products can make this feeding journey ezpz!

  • Developmentally, at 4-6 months, baby should transition from breast/bottle to sips from an open cup held by an adult, NOT a Sippy Cup. The ezpz Tiny Cup is a perfect choice for teaching open cup drinking with thin and thick purees as well as liquids.Choose an infant spoon that baby can easily hold and self feed with. The ezpz Tiny Spoon was designed to help baby learn how to use a utensil independently and be successful with fine motor milestones of dipping and scooping!

To learn more about infant cup drinking and spoon feeding milestones check out our blogs: Feeding Milestones for Baby: Cup Drinking and  Baby-Led Spoon Feeding at 6 Months. 

What products do I need to get started?

Yes! Purees can help ensure baby has a safe swallow; assist with open cup drinking and develop self spoon-feeding skills.

Bowl

Select a bowl that will fit on the tiniest of highchair trays (for when you travel to grandmas, a restaurant, or friend house). Check out the ezpz Tiny Bowl!

Bib

Pick a bib that does not tie around baby’s neck (causing irritation, pressure, chafing and increased choking risk). We love BapronBaby bibs which tie around baby’s back.

Spoon

Choose a spoon that you can start feeding baby with but can easily be given to baby to learn how to self feed. Take a peek at the infant utensil, the ezpz Tiny Spoon.

High Chair

Pick one that has a stable and moveable foot rest to help with posture and decrease choking 

To learn more about products and tips for starting solids, check out our blog: Introducing Solids with the Tiny Bowl.

How to I offer purees to my baby?

Parents want to make sure they safely transition their baby from breast (or bottle) to puree foods. Here are a few of the tips to make purees tasty, safe and fun for both parents AND baby.

  • Offer purees that have bright colors.
  • Expose baby to a variety of colorful purees to help with variety (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown and white).Don’t get stuck on purees. It’s important to make sure that baby can handle a variety of tastes and textures that are safe and appropriate for their developmental age.

To learn more about offering purees and other feeding tips, check out our blog: Introducing Purees. 

How do I choose the right purees to start with?

You can introduce purees by purchasing already made purees; cooking your own baby food or starting with whole foods that are easy to mash into a puree. Here are a few ideas to start off with:

Pouches

The purees in pouches come in vibrant colors and delicious smells, but baby will never be exposed to them if you don’t pour them out of the pouch and into a bowl. The ezpz Tiny Bowl is a great choice for puree introduction! 

Jarred

Like with pouches, jarred baby food needs to be placed into a bowl that baby can see. Remember exposure to is key if we want to avoid picky eating tendencies in the future.

Spoon

Pick foods that are soft, like avocado. Take an avocado and scoop out the flesh; place it in a bowl and mash with a fork. Add a little breast milk or formula to make it the appropriate texture for baby. 

To learn more about making purees and other feeding tips, check out our blog: How to Make Four Quick Purees.

What are the developmental milestones for feeding?

• Lip Control – Having baby learn to close their lips on an open-cup or spoon is a feeding milestone critical for safe swallowing. Improve lip control with the: Tiny Cup + Tiny Spoon

• Drink from an Open Cup (Held by an Adult) – Developmentally, at 6 months of age, baby should transition from breast/bottle to sips from an open-cup held by an adult (not a sippy cup). Improve cup drinking skills with the: Tiny Cup

• Ready for Thin, Thick and Lumpy Purees – The unique oval shape encourages infants to easily see inside the bowl, making eye-hand coordination for self-feeding more successful. Improve feeding skills with the: Tiny Bowl

• Ready for Soft Foods (at 6 Months) – Baby led weaning (BLW) starts at 6 months of age. Since the Mini Mat suctions to the table, it supports stability and posture, allowing baby to pick up strips of food easily. Improve feeding skills with: Mini Mat

• Hold and Bring Object / Spoon to Mouth – The properly sized Tiny Spoon, helps baby move their jaw, cheeks, tongue and upper lip in order to decreased gagging associated with stating solids. Improve baby-led spoon feeding with: Tiny Spoon

• Rake (Grasp) Objects and Food – Baby can easily rake up foods, making self-feeding more productive since the Mini Mat stays put with it’s suction feature. Improve raking grasp with: Mini Mat

What is Baby Led Weaning (BLW)?

Strict BLW skips puree foods and starts baby on finger foods that the rest of the family is eating. In this method, baby is in control of the feeding process; the pace of the meal and learning their own fullness cues.  This approach encourages baby to be independent and consume the quantity they choose. Here are a few ideas to think about, as you get started:

  • In the beginning, start off slow, by only offering one food at a time.
  • Then offer 3 different foods at a meal (instead of just a bowl of cereal or a bowl of mac & cheese)
  • Avoid giving more than 5 foods (too many choices can be overwhelming for a new or hesitant eater)To learn more about the different BLW and other feeding tips, check out our blog: Baby Led Weaning.

How do I know when my baby is ready to start BLW?

Sometimes families are so excited to start baby on solids that they accidentally begin too early (without knowing some of the risks). Here are some signs of readiness to look for:

  • Is baby six months of age?
  • Can baby sit up on their own without losing their balance?
  • Does baby reach for your food or drink and/or grasp objects?
  • Does baby bring their hand, objects or food to their mouth?
  • Does baby have the head control to look up, down and to both sides without falling forward?
  • Does baby stare at you intently while you are eating and/or have an interest in food?
  • Does baby start to drool, munch on their hand or open their mouth in time with you feeding yourself?Is baby’s tongue thrust reflex gone (or decreased)?

To learn more about starting solids too soon and other feeding tips, check out our blog: Are you Feeding Baby Too Early. 

What products do I need to get started?

It’s important to navigate BLW safely, avoid feeding challenges and try to make mealtime less stressful. Choosing the right products can make this feeding journey ezpz!

High Chair

Pick one that has a stable and moveable foot rest to help with posture and decrease choking 

Plate

Choose one that suctions to the table, offers three food items, is non-toxic and is dishwasher safe. Take a peek at the ezpz Mini Mat!

Bowl

Select a bowl that will fit on the tiniest of highchair trays (for when you travel to grandmas, a restaurant, or friend house). Check out the ezpz Tiny Bowl!

Bib

Pick a bib that does not tie around baby’s neck (causing irritation, pressure, chafing and increased choking risk). We love BapronBaby bibs which tie around baby’s back.

To learn more about BLW products and tips for starting solids, check out our blog: ‘Feeding Tips That Will Change the Way You Start Solids’.

What other critical feeding milestones start at 6 months of age?

Open cup drinking, spoon-feeding and self-feeding milestones all start at 6 months of age. So parents need a safe infant cup and spoon to help baby become an independent eater and drinker! 

Cup

Select an open cup vs. a Sippy cup. Developmentally, at 6 months, baby should transition from breast/bottle to sips from an open cup (held by an adult). The ezpz Tiny Cup is a safe choice for teaching open cup drinking.

Spoon

Choose an infant spoon that baby can easily hold and self feed with. The ezpz Tiny Spoon was designed to help baby learn how to use a utensil independently and be successful with fine motor milestones of dipping and scooping!

To learn more about infant cup drinking milestones and infant spoon feeding milestones check out our blogs: Feeding Milestones for Baby: Cup Drinking and Baby-Led Spoon Feeding at 6 Months.

I’m nervous about starting BLW, and doing it wrong.

Introducing your baby to solid foods can be a fun yet scary transition for both you and your little one. Here are some expert tips, which will help you feel confident and comfortable starting BLW. 

  • Wait to offer food until 6 months.
  • Wait to clean baby’s face until the end of the meal.
  • Learn the correct portion sizes for your baby’s age.Use a sectioned plate.

To learn more about the most common pitfalls parents make (and how to avoid them), check out our blogs: Common BLW Pitfalls and How to Avoid them (Part 1) and (Part 2). 

How do I decrease gagging and choking?

Only place a few strips of food in a bowl at at time to avoid overstuffing.

Give baby time to swallow all the food in their mouth before offering more food in the bowl. 

To learn more tips on how to avoid mistakes with baby-led spoon feeding, check out our blog: Tips to Avoid Choking. 

How do I choose the right foods for BLW?

Pick foods that are soft.

Chose foods that can be cut in long strips (like French fries)

Use foods that baby can hold easily.

To learn more about introducing favorite BLW foods like banana and avocado, check out our blogs: How to Introduce Banana to Babies and  How to Introduce Avocado.

What are the developmental milestones for feeding?

• Lip Control – Having baby learn to close their lips on an open-cup or spoon is a feeding milestone critical for safe swallowing. Improve lip control with the: Tiny Cup + Tiny Spoon

• Drink from an Open Cup (Held by an Adult) – Developmentally, at 6 months of age, baby should transition from breast/bottle to sips from an open-cup held by an adult (not a sippy cup). Improve cup drinking skills with the: Tiny Cup

• Ready for Thin, Thick and Lumpy Purees – The unique oval shape encourages infants to easily see inside the bowl, making eye-hand coordination for self-feeding more successful. Improve feeding skills with the: Tiny Bowl

• Ready for Soft Foods (at 6 Months) – Baby led weaning (BLW) starts at 6 months of age. Since the Mini Mat suctions to the table, it supports stability and posture, allowing baby to pick up strips of food easily. Improve feeding skills with: Mini Mat

• Hold and Bring Object / Spoon to Mouth – The properly sized Tiny Spoon, helps baby move their jaw, cheeks, tongue and upper lip in order to decreased gagging associated with stating solids. Improve baby-led spoon feeding with: Tiny Spoon

• Rake (Grasp) Objects and Food – Baby can easily rake up foods, making self-feeding more productive since the Mini Mat stays put with it’s suction feature. Improve raking grasp with: Mini Mat

Happy Feeding!

Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP

Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for ezpz

Dawn Winkelmann, a.k.a “Ms. Dawn”, has treated thousands of kids across the globe by helping families overcome picky eating stages and food refusals, while adding new foods into their diet. Her high success rate is attributed to Ms. Dawn bringing her education, experience, sense of humor and her favorite feeding products to the family dinner table.

You will find Ms. Dawn’s expert feeding advice to be positive and fun for the entire family! She adapts complicated feeding/swallowing research and makes it practical and easy for parents! Get ready to learn the science behind your favorite feeding products and ways to bring happy family mealtimes back!