Oscar had an adverse reaction to baby rice, so I didn't use it for more than a week. He was much happier on mashed up friuts and veg, such as banana and avocado, sweet potato, carrots etc. He was far less irritable and far less consipated! He went 10 days without a bowel movement on baby rice.
If you decide to go with baby rice, I'd use milk initially, and give it to him before a feed. That way, he can differentiate between his food and bottles, as he'll always know that solids come first.
I didn't bother sterilising cups etc, after Oscar was 5 months old, as by then he was already sitting up and crawling, and always had something or another in his mouth after he'd been crawling around with his hands on the floor, so I didn't see much point after that. I used to give him cooled boiled water initially as a drink, but after 9 months or so, I just gave him bottled water.
Hope that helped.