Hi there! If you’re new around here, I’m Tara and this is my son, Jamie. I’m a speech-language pathologist and new mom figuring things out as I go 🙂 I’ve gotten lots of help and recommendations from various professionals when it comes to infant feeding, so I wanted to share some resources here with you, too! I share our feeding journey on Instagram stories a lot and have some highlights for you to check out as well. Feel free to follow me to on Instagram for all the behind-the-scenes action. 🙂
Free Online Resources
– Solid Starts First Foods Database
– Baby-Led Weaning Made Easy Podcast
– Solid Starts free app – everything you need for introducing new foods
– CPR Information
– Baby-Led Weaning Basics – Use the dropdown menus at the top for additional information
Favorite Instagram Accounts
– Solid Starts
– Baby Lead Wean Team
– Baby Led Solids
– Feeding Littles
– My Munch Bug
– Healthy Mom Healthy Kids
– Amelia Tang – First 100 Foods
– Nina B Eats
– Kids Eat in Color
– 101 Before 1
– Happy Healthy Eaters
– Nutrition for Littles
– Eat Play Say
*Amazon links are affiliate links
– Bowls/Plates – This partly depends on your highchair. I see a lot of people say their highchair’s tray isn’t big enough for certain plates or silicone mats. I have the Abiie highchair (will discuss more below) and the tray is a bit slim so you need to use their brand plates on the plastic tray. If you take the plastic part off and just use the wooden tray, all the suction plates I have fit on that wooden surface and suction well. The Abiie plates are called Octopod plates and they work with their tray. I also read that the Tripp Trapp highchair has the same issue with a smaller-sized tray and only a few suction plates work with it (I’ve read these are some of the only plates that suction on the Tripp Trapp tray). As far as serving bowls, I just use these suction bowls for the most part. They’re a good Basics item. If you want to level up, I also have this Olababy bowl that is notably much better quality and comes with a lid. One bowl I highly recommend is the Olababy steamer bowl. I frequently steam a fruit/veggie in it on the stove, mash the food right in the bowl and serve it in that same dish. You can take it from stove to tray, super convenient. I use mine a lot! (When you look at the listing on Amazon, check out the different options. I got mine in a first foods starter kit that came with 2 spoons)
– Bibs – We have been mostly using the Bibado long-sleeve coverall bib and silicone bibs. I really love the Bibado bib because it catches all the food that typically ends up on his lap or the chair (even when using other long-sleeve bibs, they don’t catch all the mess). This is the only one that catches it all and makes cleanup the fastest. Depending on how messy it is, I either wipe it down and use it again or just toss it in the wash. It is super convenient! Scroll to the last section for more info on discounts and special deals on Bibado bibs. We also have a long-sleeve Bumkins bib that works quite well and is typically my second choice. It can also be wiped down or tossed in the wash. I will say, you’ll want to wash them in the washer every few days because they do start to smell a bit funky after a few times of just wiping down with dish soap.
– Spoons/Forks – Olababy self-feeding spoons have incredible reviews and they worked so well for Jamie! I also used their parent-guided spoons when we first started purees and Jamie did really well with that, too. I ended up getting a set of both spoons with a steamer bowl in this starter kit. If you’d like to try their fork, they also have a training spoon/fork combo. I had intended on trying more utensils but the Olababy ones worked so well that I didn’t see the point in spending more money on more spoons. We transitioned from me spoon feeding him to him self-feeding in one week. He did so much better once he started feeding himself. I definitely recommend trying it. You can see in the pic below it has been quite messy as he’s learning, but I was amazed at how much he actually got into his mouth and ate on his own. I just preload the spoon and hand it to him each time. I would personally suggest skipping parent-led spoon feeding and just go right to self-feeding with the self-feeding spoons. You can also use the self-feeding spoons while you are feeding him/her.
– Floor/Splash Mats – We bought this splash mat and I have no complaints. I will say the pictures make it look rectangular when it is actually square. We just set it out when we feed Jamie, wipe any spills on it, shake it out outside sometimes, then fold it up and hang it under Jamie’s highchair when we’re not using it. TIP – If you don’t want to purchase a splash mat, try using a towel or cheap shower curtain.
– Cups – 📺 *If you want to watch a video demonstration of all these cups along with the pros and cons of each, click here! I also show you a straw training hack with those videos!* I have 2 favorite cups so far. EZPZ is very popular, but I’ve been told the tiny cup’s small opening can create almost a suction effect sometimes and they can get suctioned to baby’s face. You really have to watch them for that. (That hasn’t happened to us yet). I will say that I do love the small size and weighted bottom. This is the cup we exclusively use for open-cup training at this point, I just wanted to caution you about the suction problem that has been reported. Overall, I do really like the tiny cup! The Munchkins training cups appear to be very popular, with over 50,000 reviews on Amazon! One major point that I’ve been informed of is mold growing on them. They have a unique top/opening and you have to be really careful and thorough when cleaning it so you don’t risk mold or bacteria growing in there. (I show you this in the video linked above) Another con of these is some SLPs have shared that they require too much suction/too much muscle work for babies. Here’s one post about the cons of these 360 cups. Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this cup as your regular open-cup trainer. Olababy makes an open cup that comes with a lid and straw so you can use one set to transition through the various cup-drinking milestones. You can also use the Olababy cup like a Honey Bear training cup. Just cover the hole on the lid and press down on the lid a bit and the water will shoot up through the straw. (I demonstrate this in the video linked above) I also have the EZPZ straw training cup. It has some nice features, but I wasn’t blown away. Ultimately, I would recommend the EZPZ tiny cup and the Olababy straw trainer. Solid starts recommends training open-cup drinking and straw drinking in tandem starting at 6 months. We primarily focus on open-cup drinking right now, offering breastmilk or water in an open cup after every served meal, and then we have just been sprinkling in straw training. I do think the Munchkins 360 cups may be nice when out and about (at a restaurant, family/friends house) or when you don’t have time to clean. I would just use them sparingly.
*Just say no to sippy cups – here’s why.
– The #1 question I get on Instagram about feeding is “What highchair is that?” so I’m going to dedicate a whole section to the Abiie Beyond highchair. If you want to see a video demo highlighting all these pros and cons, click here! 📺
– DISCOUNT CODE – FUNINSPEECH – Click here and enter code funinspeech at checkout for 10% off your order! They also offer free shipping! If you prefer to shop on Amazon (and pay full price) you can purchase the highchair here.
– Adjustable seat and footrest so you can tailor it to your baby’s current size and expand it to grow with your child
– Easy to clean. Parts are easy to wipe down and the plastic tray cover pops off for easy scrubbing. The plastic tray is also dishwasher safe.
– Secure 5-point harness that also transitions to 3-point hardness once baby is older. The harness also pops open with one press of a button so you can quickly get your baby out of the chair in case of an emergency.
– You can hang bibs and splash mat on the bar under the seat.
– The highchair transitions to a toddler chair, then an adult chair, holding up to 250 lbs.
– The seat and footrest are very easy to adjust with no tools required.
– The highchair is easy to assemble and you don’t need any tools of your own (it comes with the only tool you need). I assembled it by myself in roughly 30 minutes. The directions were easy to follow and you could scan QR codes for easy-to-follow assembly videos.
– Slides up to/under the table so you can remove the tray and allow baby to eat right at the table with you.
– Sturdy wood frame with comfortable cushions. The frame doesn’t take up much space.
– It is on the pricier side (still significantly cheaper than the Tripp Trapp)
– The tray is a bit smaller than some other brands. Many suction plates don’t stick to the plastic tray because it’s a pinch too small. If you take the plastic part off all my plates have been able to stick. You could buy the Octopod plates to solve this problem. They stick perfectly to the plastic tray. I have 2 of these plates.
– Infants sit back a bit in it, preventing you from getting that optimal 90/90/90 positioning when baby is still very young. I easily fixed this by placing 2 kneeling pads from Dollar Tree behind Jamie’s back. They fit perfectly and got us that desired 90/90/90 positioning.
Overall – I would highly recommend this chair! It is such great quality, gives you a great fit, and grows with your child.
At-Home Infant CPR & Safety Course I took
– I really wanted my husband (Kyle) and I to take a CPR course, but the closest ones were about 45 mins away with trainings that were multiple-hours long. We would have been away for over half a day. Since I was still exclusively breastfeeding at the time and not comfortable leaving baby with anyone for that long, the in-person trainings weren’t really optimal. I ended up finding an amazing online Infant CPR and Safety course that fit exactly what we wanted. It covered infant/child CPR, choking, and safety prevention. Each module was split up into smaller sections so you could easily do chunks whenever you had time. You have lifetime access to the course so I watched some of the modules multiple times. I really liked that I had access to this info at my fingertips to rewatch and refresh because honestly, I’m a bit of a slow learner and need a lot of repetition/practice to really retain new info. I felt a lot better that I could keep reviewing the info until I felt comfortable.
– It seems like all professionals across the board recommend doing some form of CPR training before starting solids. If this online course is something you think would be best for your family, you can click this link to check out the full offering. Holly also gave me a special affiliate code for you to save an additional 20% off! Click the link provided and use code FUNINSPEECH at checkout for the full discount. (If you’re checking out on mobile and don’t see where to use the code, there is a little ^ symbol at the top of your order summary page. Click that and it will expand your order summary, giving you a space to enter the code.)
– Current guidance is to introduce allergens early and often. What exactly is early and how often is often enough? That’s where it gets a little muddy. Here are some key points from the LEAP study that highlight the importance of introducing allergens early and often, and what exactly that means.
– If you have Kindle Unlimited, Dr. Ron Sunog’s book is currently free on there. I read/skimmed the book and it helped me feel very confident in introducing allergens to my infant.
– For more info on introducing allergens, check out these podcast episodes.
– If you want to see how we first started introducing allergens, 📺 check out this Instagram story highlight.
– A little bit about Puffworks Baby. I found this company when I was learning about starting solids and introducing allergens. I had already decided I wanted to opt for whole grain oatmeal instead of white rice cereal, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do about puffs. When I found Puffworks puff products, they checked all my boxes and then some! They use simple, organic ingredients. Each puff contains over 50% peanut butter and includes organic degermed yellow corn meal and organic whole grain corn meal. No white rice! And here’s the really unexpected part, they actually taste like Reese’s Puffs cereal! I don’t know how they do that with such simple ingredients, but the taste is absolutely stellar! So I was able to find a convivence product that not only acts as a quick snack, but includes simple ingredients and helps work toward that “early and often” peanut recommendation. We went all in on Puffworks and are so happy with our baby puff empire 😆. If you’d like to simplify your peanut allergen introduction and give Puffworks a try, they gave me a discount code to share with you! Click here to order and use affiliate code TARA10 at checkout for 10% off!
My Honest Review of the Starting Solids Full Course Bundle
– I started watching this when Jamie was about 5 months old, but I honestly wish I would have started sooner. Right off the bat I was (pleasantly) surprised that they had so much info on spoon feeding. We chose to start with purees at 5 months 1 weeks and this made me feel almost a little bad because so many BLW communities act like purees are the devil and it must be BLW or nothing. I was so relieved to see spoon feeding and puree info on there. I learned a lot in that regard and quickly transitioned from me spoon feeding Jamie to preloading spoons and letting him self feed. They also have good information about letting babies learn how to load their own spoons, but we’re still working on that. 🙂
– Solid Starts supports every method of feeding your baby, but they recommend trying to transition to finger foods as quickly as possible (once baby has met all readiness milestones). The bulk of their info does relate to baby-led weaning. I appreciated this and felt like this fell in line with exactly how we wanted to approach things.
– They have short (typically 10 minute or less videos) on topics such as choking vs. gagging, highchairs, readiness signs, introducing allergens, responsive spoon feeding (loved this one), cups and straws, etc. They also have two longer webinars you can tune into. I found it really helpful how they broke the topics up and how they presented the information. They show a lot of infants demonstrating what they’re talking about, which is so helpful!
– They also include a ton of printable guides. I love the Nutrition Cheat Sheet and the 50 Fantastic First Foods list.
– Overall, I found the full course to be incredibly helpful. They gathered absolutely everything you need to know about feeding your baby and put it all in one convenient place. I also loved that they cover multiple approaches, not just baby-led weaning. After going through the course, I felt really confident in starting solids with Jamie.
– To access the course and guides, click here!
Additional Resources & Tips
– Blog post about the privilege of BLW (Baby Led Weaning, Race, & Class)
– How do I know if my baby is ready for finger foods? This video was SO HELPFUL! I honestly think I started Jamie just a tad too early. The whole “sitting with minimal assistance” point is so vague and involves a lot of gray area. Also, “interested in food”, again, a bit of gray area. I saw this video 3 days after starting finger foods with Jamie and decided to pause and stick with purees/mashed foods until I felt like he was a bit more developed.
– More info about highchair positioning using the 90/90/90 model
– Highchair footrest hacks
– Highchair tip if baby is leaning
– Why you should always use highchair straps
– Another video on infant readiness for starting solids
– Info on Transitioning from Spoons to Finger foods
– Baby-Led Weaning for Beginners and Beyond Facebook Group
– Baby-Led Weaning and Combo Feeding Without the Woo Facebook Group
DISCOUNT CODES/Affiliate Links
– Bibado Bibs – Click here and use code FUNINSPEECH at checkout for 20% off everything! They currently also have an awesome deal that includes 3 coverall bibs for $55. Use code 3for55 at checkout for this deal. If this deal isn’t active, you can still use my code to get 20% off everything.
– Olababy Feeding Supplies – Click here for 10% off their whole website using FUNINSPEECH10. They offer free shipping on orders of $50 or more. If you’re buying a big haul from them like the steam bowl set, spoons, cup, I’d order from the website. Otherwise, if your order will be less than $50, I’d recommend ordering from Amazon so you get free shipping. You can click here to shop Olababy on Amazon.
– Abiie Highchair & Octopod Plates – Click here and use code FUNINSPEECH to save 10% on your entire order. They also offer free shipping.
– Puffworks Peanut Butter Puffs – Click here and use code TARA10 for 10% off your entire purchase.
– Safe Beginnings Online CPR Course – Click here and use code FUNINSPEECH for 20% off your total purchase. They also have a helpful car seat course and bundle you can check out here.