Elise has been eating solid foods for just about 2 months now. She is still very much into purees and hasn't figured out "finger foods" yet. I have been making everything from "scratch," but I hardly even think I can call it cooking since it's so easy! I'm making her food for a few reasons. First of all, it is sooooo much cheaper to make your own vs. buy. Secondly, I can control exactly what goes into her little body. Plus cooking it myself helps to retain tons of the nutrients from the fruits and veggies bc when they're mass produced and jarred, they lose so many nutrients due to the high cooking heat. Sometimes the jarred baby food is a little scary to me. Why do the bananas have a pink hue to them? Fresh peas and green beans are bright green; jarred are swampy looking to me. And finally, it's fun. It takes about 1 hour total each week and I feel really good and productive when I'm finished.
We started with avocado and sweet potato. She loved both. From there, she enjoyed bananas, yellow and green squash, applesauce, peas, and peaches. We were just doing 1 solid meal each day until she was 7 months old. When she turned 7 months, we moved to two meals each day, breakfast and dinner. She had carrots, plums, butternut squash, pears, and blueberries. I use oatmeal to thicken up the really runny purees. This week we have started yogurt which she loves. I just buy plain, whole milk yogurt and mix in my own fruit. The store bought baby yogurt has added sugar which just isn't necessary in my opinion. The only thing Elise did not like was asparagus. She gagged and her eyes watered!!! I mixed it with some summer squash and she liked it more that way. We'll probably stick with two meals each day until she's 9 months. I'm still nursing her and she gets everything she needs from breastmilk anyway. Solids are basically for "fun" until they're 1 year old.
Besides purees, Elise has had tiny chunks of watermelon (that was a huge hit!) different breads, avocado, and cooked apples. I don't give her too many chunks just yet because she still doesn't handle them all that well and I have a fear of her choking.
Elise is super interested in everything Matt and I eat and drink. I don't know who begs more for food, her or Jaws! As soon as Matt or I sit down to eat, Elise will crawl over, sit up, and start chewing, even though there is nothing in her mouth! I let her take bites off my empty fork and that pacifies her, for now at least. She also loves the beer can and crawls all over Matt trying to get to it. It must be the color... not the beer inside!!!!!
All in all, we're having a lot of fun with solids. With the exception of asparagus, she's loved everything at the first bite and hasn't had an averse reaction to anything. I do look forward to getting away from purees and more to finger foods, especially when she can feed herself!
Two websites that I really like are: Wholesome Baby Food and Nurture Baby. As far as gear, you don't need anything fancy. Just a steamer, (I use one of those cheap metal ones that go in a pot) and either an immersion blender or a food processor. They both work great. I put the purees into ice cube trays, freeze them, and then pop them into freezer bags. Voila! It's that easy.