Is baby ready for solid food? Your guide to baby’s first meal + beyond

Start slow–moving thicker foods around baby’s mouth is a learned skill.

Is baby ready for solid food? Your guide to baby’s first meal + beyond

Introducing your baby to food is an exciting time, but it usually comes with a hefty side of fear. Is baby ready? Is it safe? What food should I start with? Here’s everything you need to know about starting solids with your baby.

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests introducing solid foods between no earlier than 4 months, and typically closer to 6 months.

How do you know if your baby is ready for solid foods?

Look for signs that baby is ready:

1. She’s reaching for food

Let your little one try out their highchair and watch for signs that they are paying attention to you eating—which usually comes in the form of grabby little hands reaching for your plate!

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2. She can sit unassisted

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Baby should also be able to hold herself up unassisted while sitting in the highchair. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast milk be the sole food for the first six months; many little ones show signs of readiness for some solids somewhere between 4 and 6 months old. Talk to you doctor to decide when your little one is ready.

3. She’s big enough

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From the AAP: “As a rough rule of thumb, babies are big enough to tackle solid foods right around the time when they double their birth weight and reach a minimum of about 13 pounds”

How to start:

1. Nurse or bottle-feed first.

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The first attempts at solids aren’t about satisfying hunger—it will take baby a long time to learn that’s what food is for—so try not to have them taste foods on an empty stomach since they will likely get grumpy, frustrated and fussy. Try a feeding session after nursing or giving a bottle, or at a time when they are alert and happy.

2. Pick a first food.

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While rice cereal was the standard first food for years, many experts now say that for most babies, it doesn’t really matter what food you give first.

Keep it to a single food that is very soft, such as pureed sweet potato, peas, smooth applesauce, mashed avocado, or pears.

(Avoid homemade baby food made with carrots, squash, spinach, beets or green beans, since they can have high levels of nitrates and could cause a type of anemia.)

3. Start slow.

Whether you do purees or baby led weaning, you’ll want to start slow when it comes to introducing new foods.

Remember, baby hasn’t ever had anything but milk or formula in her mouth, and learning to move thicker foods around with her tongue is a learned skill.

Start with half of a spoonful and let baby experiment with tasting.

Oh and also: It’s highly likely they will spit out a lot of food—or even smear it all over their face, hair and body! Get the camera ready.

4. Watch for reactions.

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Pediatricians generally recommend waiting 2-3 days between introducing a new food so you can make sure that baby tolerates each one okay, but follow your instincts too.

If you notice a rash, diarrhea, or vomiting, stop offering the food and be in touch with your doctor or an allergist.

5. Talk to your doctor about peanuts.

While it shouldn’t necessarily be the first food, new research indicates that introducing potentially allergenic foods (like peanuts) earlier might actually protect babies from developing full-blown allergies down the road. In fact, a leading childhood allergy expert recently said that introducing a wide range of healthy solid foods, including potentially allergenic foods, may be the best way to prevent allergies.

6. Keep it fun.

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Since eating while sitting upright is a whole new experience, baby might be resistant at first.

Don’t force food or the spoon into their mouths, but instead offer it calmly or let them play with a preloaded spoon.

Exploring the textures and sensations of the food is half the fun for baby at this point!

7. Graduate from there!

Slowly try adding in more textured foods and even letting baby enjoy finger foods as well. Finger-food guide below!

You’ve got this.

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10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.

And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3


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As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

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