*We’ve partnered with Inspired Start to help ease one of baby’s biggest milestones: first foods. When it comes to feeding your baby, there’s no one right way to do it. There’s so many “right” ways to do it, in fact, that the options can be overwhelming, especially for a first-time mom. Our favorite way to clear through the clutter? Find a mom you admire and ask her for some tips, then adapt them and make them your own. Libby Vlasic is one of those moms. She’s a certified aromatherapist and herbalist, and new mom of two, who not only preaches a healthy, organic lifestyle, but truly lives it with her 7-year-old son Miles and 8-month-old girl Story Elanora. We recently partnered with Inspired Start, the only baby food designed to introduce 8 common allergens, to share her story of how she’s building a healthy foundation for her baby when it comes to feeding. Here’s Libby’s best baby feeding tips for you to adapt and make your own: 1. Find feeding styles that work for your life. I am still breastfeeding story with my milk on demand. When she was a newborn, breastfeeding meant constant feedings regardless of the time of day. This was especially hard during the night. But, we adjusted and we’re on a roll. I do try to pump at least a bottle a day so that she can have a probiotic, which I have been doing since she was born. As she was a C-section baby, I want to make sure that I am doing what I can to support her microbiome. That being said, I know that’s my path and specific to the needs of my daughter. It may not be what works for everyone. You really have to find a balance that helps you feel empowered. 2. Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, and proteins. Story was very interested in starting solids from 4 months of age. Being an herbalist, I’ve paid close attention to the changes in infant nutrition research that have been taking place over the last couple of years, even since Miles was Story’s age! Even knowing that I could introduce allergens like other solid foods, I was originally nervous about giving Story her first Inspired Start pouch that included peanut. However, I quickly realized that it was fine. Story absolutely loved it and I felt good about giving it to her. With Inspired Start, she has since tried eggs and even shellfish! 3. Ingredients matter. We try to eat home-cooked, organic meals as a family. I am incredibly conscious of what goes into our meals. While we do not eat land animals, seafood and dairy do make appearances. We attempt to buy direct from farmers at markets, join CSA’s, or grow our own foods at our home upstate New York when the season permits. Story loves bananas and avocados, but eats a whole range of foods. I love the diverse recipe options of Inspired Start - they have combos I have never before seen in baby food! 4. Get your food facts straight. I love social media so much and value the input from my mom community online, but I’m always cautious of everyone’s well-intentioned advice. There’s a lot of disinformation about feeding your baby out there; the fears about introducing allergens is just one example. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology states that potentially allergenic foods can be introduced just like other solid foods, and yet so many parents believe they have to wait for more than a year, or longer! When in doubt, I always ask my pediatrician for advice, especially around feeding my baby. 5. Make your kids part of your conversation...even if they’re just babies. I am a caretaker of this planet, and this means teaching my children to treat this planet with respect and understanding, and to do all we can as a family to minimize harm and damage. My 7-year old has a profound understanding of food and where it should come from. He sees my husband and I growing foods like tomatoes, basil and grapes every year upstate, and both children have attended herbal or plant events with me where their exposure and further understanding can flourish. Just last week, Story was with me in Sedona, Arizona on an essential oil retreat of native Arizonian plants, while Miles last year attended a herbal conference with me in Massachusetts. It is my hope that by incorporating this knowledge into their daily life, my children will grow to pass the message on. After all food is powerful, and if we eat pure, healthy, real foods, we can affect our health for the better. Photography by Stylish & Hip Kids for Well Rounded.

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