Which method to use? The answer is: it's up to YOU! You may come across a parenting debate today around what the "best" way to start solids is, often framed as "purées versus baby-led weaning (BLW)". This is not the most useful dichotomy for a few reasons. First, you can do both! Some parents spoon-feed purées sometimes and let baby feed themselves other times. Also, BLW incorporates purées too, pre-loaded on a spoon for babies to feed themselves. Finally, spoon-feeding at first doesn't mean spoon-feeding forever; as long as baby transitions to some self-feeding over their first year, they'll be great. The bottom line is you get to decide based on comfort level and what works for your family.
Start with one ingredient or food at a time
Soon, introduce more complex flavors and textures (herbs, spices, multiple ingredients together, etc.)
You do not need to give foods in any special order
Offering variety in flavors, colors, and textures helps mitigate picky eating later on
It also ensures broader nutrient intake
We all get stuck in ruts! Try even small variations and avoiding offering the same food 2 days in a row
Let your baby control the pace and amount; they know when they're full
Babies often do not eat much at first or eat more some days and less others
If they turn their head away or keep lips shut, they are done eating! Forcing more can cause negative associations with food
If you give off stressful vibes, baby will likely get stressed by meals & food
Babies & toddlers are more likely to eat foods they see their parents and peers eating
So, enjoy your veggies, eat slowly, and try different foods in front of your baby!
It can take >12 exposures to like a food, so keep unpopular foods in the rotation
If they refuse to try a food one day, exposure to how it looks, feels, and smells still helps set the stage for trying it another day
Instead of "they don't like x", think "they don't like x yet"
Starting solids is an exciting time to share a world of flavors and healthy eating as pleasure, not obligation
Getting messy is okay! This teaches your child about foods' sensory properties and builds confidence self-feeding
Keep it relaxed & pleasant as best you can :)