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How to safely—and deliciously—introduce baby to solids 🍌

The big world of diverse food options is ahead of you—and that's definitely cause for celebration.

How to safely—and deliciously—introduce baby to solids 🍌

After months of nourishment on a liquid diet alone, the introduction of solid food is a monumental step for both parents and babies. Now, the big world of diverse food options is ahead of you—and that's definitely cause for celebration.

But if you're a bit uncertain about how to safely introduce solids to your baby's diet, that's understandable, too. While feeding baby formula or breastmilk is now something you can (almost literally) do in your sleep, graduating to baby food is fundamentally a bit more complicated, especially when you include questions about food allergies and what foods to begin introducing. "Introducing solids is a pleasurable time for baby, but it can also be nerve-wracking for a first-time parent," says Dawn Winkelmann, M.S., CCC-SLP.

Thankfully, like just about everything else with parenting, you'll catch on fast and then the real fun of family mealtimes can begin.

1. When to introduce solids

As exciting as it is to introduce solids, rushing into it can have some unintended consequences if baby doesn't get the nourishment they need from formula or breastmilk, isn't physically ready to consume solids or is turned off and refuses foods. On the other hand, waiting too long can have downsides of its own.

Weighing all of that, it's best to introduce solid foods to babies between the ages of 6 and 7 months. Although your child's individual pediatrician may greenlight some select foods sooner, the half-year mark is really when you can start the solid adventure.

But, as any parent quickly learns, all babies are different. Additional signs your baby may be ready for solids include the ability to sit unassisted, is roughly twice their birth weight and seems to show an interest in foods by reaching for them.

2. What early foods are good options

When it comes to introducing baby to new flavors and textures, slow and steady is the best game plan: By introducing foods one at a time, you will have the ability to tell if your child has any adverse reactions. Research also suggests that repetition (giving baby the same tastes several times a month) is a great way to get baby to accept the flavor. In other words: You may be able to avoid battles over eating broccoli down the road if you really give them the time to acclimate to the taste early on.

Some classic starter options include:

  • Avocado
  • Sweet potato
  • Pureed peas
  • Applesauce

Increasing research also suggests early introduction of some common allergens, such as peanut-based purees or finger foods, are actually in your best interest—but that's something your child's pediatrician can best provide guidance around.

3. What is Baby Led Weaning?

Along with which food to introduce is the question of how: Unlike spoon-feeding purees, an increasing number of parents are turning to Baby Led Weaning, the practice of allowing your child to explore foods—starting with soft options like bananas and graduating to harder foods as they age—with their own fingers.

When Baby Led Weaning, stocking up on mats from ezpz makes feeding less messy due to bowls and plates that self-seal to the surface. Better yet, securing the placeware to the surface at baby's midline also helps them self-feed safely and successfully as their fine motor skills tune up. (And, when they are ready for it, ezpz has the perfect first spoon, too!)

4. How to have fun with purees

If you decide to go the combo or puree route, you can still get creative in the kitchen by steaming and pureeing your own baby food—and can even mix early foods with formula or breastmilk to help your baby warm up to the flavor. To minimize mess, ezpz's surface-sealed bowls keep everything in place. (And later serve a helpful purpose when your baby starts experimenting with a spoon of their own.) You can even serve smooth purees in their Tiny Cup as a new way to experience the flavors.

As you go, don't be intimidated by adding seasoning to baby's purees after they've had the chance to acclimate to the food itself: cinnamon, cumin, tumeric and even chili powder (in small amounts) are great ways to further open the door to all the exciting foods your child will soon enough explore.

"Whether you are offering purees or thick sticks of food, make it less stressful by introducing colorful foods that are readily consumed by the entire family," says Winkelmann. "My favorite piece of advice when choosing how to feed baby is to make sure that it is a safe, trusting and fun feeding experience for the both of you!"

Although breastmilk or formula should still be their primary source of nutrition at 6 months of age; introducing solid food is an important aspect of feeding development. Make this transition to solids fun by giving a variety of flavors, baby-friendly recipes and parent-friendly tools like the placeware line from ezpz—and keep that camera handy for the adorably messy photo opportunities to follow.

Just for Motherly readers, ezpz is offering a 20% off discount site-wide from November 28-December 21. Just use the code MOTHERLY20 at checkout!

This article was sponsored by ezpz. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

14 sweet 'just thinking of you' gifts for every mama

A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

$65

Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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5 brilliant products that encourage toddler independence

Help your little one help themselves.

One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.

$25

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.

$29

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.

$18

Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.

$29

BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.

$20

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have kids—so here’s what I did

We asked our three most pessimistic friends who have kids whether it's worth it or not

As told to Liz Tenety.

Around the time my husband and I were turning 30, we had a genuine conversation about whether or not we wanted kids. I was the hesitant one because I was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's just hold on. Okay, let's talk about this. Because we love our life. We like traveling. Is this what we want?"

My husband said, "Let's ask our three most pessimistic, crabby friends who have kids whether or not it's worth it."

And every single one of them was like, "Oh, it's unmissable on planet earth."

So when I got pregnant, I was—and I'm not ashamed to say this and I don't think you should be—I was as connected with the baby in my belly as if it were a water bottle. I was like, I don't know you. I don't know what you are, but you can be some gas pain sometimes, but other than that, we're going to have to meet each other and suss this relationship out.

But all the cliches are true that you just know what to do when the baby comes out. Some of the times are hard, some of them are easier, but you just gotta use your gut.

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