Menu

Your Baby Can Eat Spicy Food

And 4 other truths about your little one's first foods.

Your Baby Can Eat Spicy Food

Move over, rice cereal. Forget about one dimensional flavors like pureed carrots or mashed banana. Instead, how about caviar? Or bone broth. And did you know babies can totally handle a little spice?

It turns out that starting with something bland, like our moms did with us, may not be the best, most nutritious way for your little one to start solids. In fact, that's not what babies are used to at all. Breastmilk is rich and flavorful, jam-packed with nutrients, and many experts say that what you should be feeding your baby is the exact opposite of that sad, slimy looking rice cereal.

Many baby food brands now experiment with baby's first solids and really work the gourmand angle. Nourish Baby, a new baby food subscription service in the West Village, New York, starts babies on super unique and intriguing flavor blends -- we’re talking James Beard caliber food for babies, with a menu that includes Korean black rice congee with ginger, tamari and ghee. The menu is a conversation starter for sure, but founder and registered dietician, Marissa Lippert, says the reason why their ingredients are so diverse is important. Most advice parents get about weaning baby onto solid foods has been more myth than science. It turns out, babies need lots of protein, iron, complex carbs, good fats, vitamins and minerals that aren't necessarily in the "first foods" that they so commonly get.

So to help parents navigate the flavorful world that baby's first food could (and should) be, we've teamed up with Marissa from Nourish to tell you the truth about your little one's tastebuds. Here are five major myths on baby food, busted.

1. Don’t rely on purees. Not everything has to be pureed! Mashed, chunky textures and even roasted, softer fruits and vegetables are perfectly ok to feed your babe as they’re exploring solid foods.

2. Forget rice cereal. Rice cereal actually isn’t your baby’s ideal first food! Babies are better off transitioning to solid foods with items that match the nutrient profiles of breast milk – fat, protein and cholesterol. Look to things like bone broth, egg yolk, chicken liver, ground lamb, salmon roe, avocado and ghee.

3. It actually is all fun and games. Let your babe play with his or her food! Seriously. When babies attempt to hand-feed themselves, they build dexterity and pincer grasp, and they start to self-regulate their own hunger and satiety cues – one of the most important building blocks of a healthy eater!

4. Try, try again. It may take your babe up to 20 times to like a newly introduced food. Don’t give up on those Brussels sprouts or poached wild salmon or roasted pears. Sometimes it just takes a while, and multiple tries, for infants to come around to particular foods or even spices.

5. Bring on the spice. Babies can and should eat subtle spices and flavors. If you start a baby off with a bland palate that’s what they’ll get used to and often gravitate towards. Adding subtle notes of spice and flavor components to foods is absolutely ok and will help your child build an adventurous palate! Different cultures across the global have been feeding infants their ethnic, spicier cuisines for centuries. Go ahead and experiment!

Photography by Stylish & Hip Kids Photography.

Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

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

Our Partners

This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

Keep reading Show less
Shop

It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

Keep reading Show less
News