The Saturday Question: What was baby’s first food?

Many pediatricians recommend rice cereal as a standby, but conflicting information is emerging about making homemade porridge or feeding baby pureed avocados.  What did you first feed your little one and how was it received?  Did you get lots of advice from friends and family?  What seemed to work best?  Thanks for sharing your wisdom!


  1. I found people to be seriously obsessed with the idea of rice cereal as a first food! It was crazy how they just insisted it was what baby must eat. Instead we gave her baked sweet potato in chunks and let her feed herself. She continues to love eating and does a great job deciding how much and of what foods she will eat.

  2. Organic rice cereal was my daughters first food and she ate a ton of it with everything, only to later become allergic to rice. I am pregnant now with our second daughter and I will definitely be starting her off with something different and making sure that she gets more of a variety of different foods. Has anyone else had this problem?

  3. I think the new advice is to actually avoid rice cereal as a first food in favor of a vegetable like avocado or sweet potato. The idea is that kids do get addicted to the mild, starchy flavor of cereal, leading to obesity and pickiness. (Of course, now I have no idea where I read this, but it was definitely in more than one place.) So, Amber, I fed my daughter avocado first and sweet potato second, and I never fed her baby rice cereal for just that reason!

  4. I read the same advice Rebecca did. While I never explicitly sat down and thought about what baby’s first food should be, she chose it herself. I daily eat tons of baby carrots, which is pretty close to my favorite snack. First she started playing with them, then she was chewing on them, then she began to break them down. After that I did a wide variety of vegetables and fruits.

    Her first mushy cereal was actually a desire to try my usual breakfast oatmeal. Off and on she liked it and I experimented with what went in it. Now, like me, she eats a variety of hot whole grains for breakfast, and a variety of grains, beans, and veg during the day. As a toddler, we are extended breastfeeders, but she eats mostly real food (as opposed to “baby” food) during the day.

    There is also some thought out there that we do not necessarily make the new foods mushy, which is a turn off to some babies. Instead, to avoid a choking hazard and to include a variety of textures, there are a number of mesh baggies that allow the children to sort of gnaw on things as they develop desires for them. I skipped the little baggies but I could see how they might be useful.

    An interesting article about this can be found here.

  5. I fed my daughter rice, oatmeal, and barley cereals first, and then started with a green vegetable, a fruit, a vegetable, a fruit, etc. Her first “real” food was green beans, which remains her favorite today at 18 months old! I fed her the less sweet things first, and that way she wouldn’t get used to sweet stuff (I got a lot of advice to start with bananas, or put sugar in her cereal, you know, the “good stuff” according to others). Now she is not picky. The only food she didn’t like was carrots, but now that she is on table food and no baby food, she LOVES carrots. She just didn’t like them pureed! She is a great eater though, and she’s the least picky eater I’ve ever met!

  6. Many people think rice cereal is what baby should have first and many docs are still saying so. I don’t think it has much, if any, nutritional value at all. Our baby’s first food was mashed avocado at 8 months old. He didn’t care for it then, but it quickly became his favorite food an he loves it now (at 22 months).

  7. Bev–Yes, I also read about introducing babies to a wide variety of textures early on rather than the super-smooth prepackaged cereal and jarred food. There is a whole movement called “baby-led weaning” that I think you were referring to where parents give their babies huge chunks of food–like a whole apple–and skip spoon-feeding entirely. I would have tried that except that my daughter was already on the skinny side and spoon-feeding was a way to ensure that she was getting enough calories into her.

  8. cocoschmoco says

    We did baby-led weaning with our son, and started him with large chunks of banana, avocado, sweet potato, peaches. It still took him a few months until he “got” eating (and . As for not feeding them sweet things first, breastmilk and formula aren’t exactly sour-tasting themselves…

  9. If I remember correctly my 1st’s first food was avacado mixed with some breastmilk. With number 2 I gave her some banana. Mostly because I was in the mood to see if she’d like it and it’s all we had around the house at the moment. She’s gone from that to sweet potato, which she doesn’t care for, and pumpkin, which she loves. Her latest new taste is a spinach, green bean, pea combo which she loves. I gave her some mulitgrain hot cereal that I purreed and she enjoyed that as well. I’ve been really unscientific this time around and just kind of going with what I happen to have on hand.

  10. I think organic rice cereal was Cedar’s first food. But he’s almost eight, so that was years ago, and rice cereal was still recommended. After that mostly homemade veggie and tofu creations – he was raised vegetarian. He self-weaned before I actually thought he would, and really seemed to be into “real” food vs. breast milk (strange baby). Raising him veggie was smart though IMO because now he’d rather eat apples, broccoli, and red peppers than candy or cakes. He eats better voluntarily than most everyone I know and always says, “Mama, you are going to bye organic right?.” I’m lucky.

  11. I think it was rice cereal officially but Lydia started helping herself to my mashed potato before that.

    Also, I’m a bad mummy because I let my kids lick my ice cream or ice blocks…

  12. My sons first food was the organic rice cereal as well, but he hated it. We could barely get any in him. We began mixing it with things like banana and sweet potato, and he liked that. There hasn’t really been anything that my son hasn’t liked yet. We’ve been putting everything in the food processor though (pears, apples, bananas, sweet potatoes, squash, peas, etc.). We don’t make our own carrots because of the whole nitrate issue. Unfortunately, my son is having severe constipation (he’s on Miralax for it) and because he’s a breast-snob, the only way I can get additional fluids in him (to help with the poop issue) is to water down his food. Hopefully he’ll get over this constipation soon and I can begin giving him stuff with more texture.

  13. Liam’s first food was mashed avocado. He didn’t really like it the first few tries, but he quickly got over that. I later pureed a number of foods, which I thickened with organic instant rice or oatmeal cereal. He particularly liked pears. He quickly tired of pureed foods and now prefers to feed himslef. He eats pretty much whatever we eat, which is an organic-based vegetarian diet.

    Right now, his favorite breakfast is a banana and a slice of peanut butter toast. He is also still regularly breast-feeding.

    Amy, we’ve also struggled with the constipation thing, in fact, Liam has had regularity issues since he was born, which is very unusual for breastfed babies. His pediatrician recommended we add dark corn syrup to a bottle of breastmilk…! We have made it an effort to eliminate corn syrup from our diet, and there was no way I would willingly put it in my baby’s bottle. I decided to instead give him small amounts of organic 100% pear juice after breast feeding, which he loved and it helped loosen things up.

    I knew that starting solids would only make things worse, and I should have avoided the rice altogether. I ended up making some prune puree which I then added to his cereal mix with whatever fruit/veggie I chose for the day. That definitely worked.

    Now, I make sure that he gets plenty of whole grains and beans, and he is the most regular he has been his entire life.

    Who would have thought I’d obsess about poop so much? The joys of parenting…

  14. Both our doctor and a local pediatric nurse who gives a “First Foods” class recommended against starting with rice cereal. We started our son with mashed banana mixed with breastmilk, although we did rice cereal often too, early on–that later was replaced by grits which is now his favorite breakfast food (he’s two and a half). Other early foods included baked sweet potato, avocado (which my husband sometimes mixed with banana–actually a pretty good flavor blend), and then a variety of organic jar food (mostly because I’m not big on vegetables, and wanted Max to eat healthier than I do). Around 9 months we added yogurt, egg yolks, and fish (all of which he loved then, but won’t eat now). Today his favorite foods (other than breastfeeding) are apples, whole grain crackers, tofu, beans, and blueberries (well, OK, and cookies).

  15. Veggiemomma says

    I started my son with organic barley and applesauce that I made with my processor. I even put a little cinnamon in. I soon moved on to organic avacados, bananas, and carrots, and then organic brown rice I ground in my processor then cooked up. I think the real key is waiting until 6 months or when you believe your baby is ready and not to push it. Start with small amounts mixed with breast milk and start with the least ‘allergenic’ foods first. Your baby will let you know if he’s ready (double birth weight, sitting up, able to swallow, interested in food, etc.)

  16. Mashed banana was my daugher’s first food and she liked it. In Brazil we follow a different diet and my daughter was born there…now that I live here I will try to combine both diets with ds and see how it goes.

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