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There is nothing quite like watching your little one smash sweet potatoes all over her face—and your entire kitchen—for the very first time. But starting solids can also come with lots of questions, especially for a first-time mama. From thinking about the best time to start to the right types of foods to offer, navigating this transition can be tricky. (And messy. Did we mention messy? Very, very messy. 🤣)


So, other than investing in an supersized box of baby wipes and the biggest bottle of laundry detergent you can fit in your Target shopping cart, what exactly will you need to take the plunge into the world of starting solids? We're here to tell you, mamas.

From sippy cups to splash mats, here are nine can't-live-without products that will make starting solids easy as pie.

1. A waterproof bib

A waterproof, easy wipe bib is essential. After trying many, many different options, we keep coming back to Bumkins because, well...they are just that awesome. They're made from a lightweight, waterproof fabric, meaning that you don't have to toss them in the wash after every meal (win!)—just wipe them down and save yourself a few loads of laundry.

They feature a Velcro closure for a quick, adjustable fit, a front pocket for catching spills, and are stain and odor resistant. And they come in a huge selection of sizes and designs. We truly could not love them more.

Bumpkins Bibs
$8.99 and up, Target

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2. A classic high chair

We realize there are lots of choices for high chairs out there and that choosing the right one for your needs will probably depend on space + budget. But if we had to pick, we have a big-time baby gear crush on the Stokke Tripp Trapp.

This Scandinavian seat has been around for over 40 years, and for good reason. Its iconic look compliments just about any style, and its brilliant ergonomic design grows with your child, providing a safe, comfy seat at any age. (Truly—it can hold a full-grown adult. We know; we've tried.) It's also easy to clean and durable enough to hold up to many years of wear and tear.

Stokke Tripp Trapp Chair
$249.00, Nordstrom

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3. A floor saver

If you feel like a lot of the effort of starting solids is around preventing messes...you may be onto something, mama 😉 This must-have is a favorite not only as a splash mat, but as an all-around awesome, stunningly simple (but incredibly useful) innovation. Gathre mats are made from a soft bonded leather and are water impermeable and easy to wipe clean. They're perfect for (stylishly) containing a mess under your high chair, but also for so much more—a sand-free spot at the beach, a picnic blanket, a clean spot for a diaper change, a craft mat...the list goes on and on.

And have we mentioned that these mats are absolutely gorgeous? They come in a swoon-worthy assortment of modern colors + prints. We.want.them.allll.

Gathre High Chair Mat
$40.00, Crate & Barrel

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4. A safe start

Early introduction of food allergens is important for a lifetime of healthy eating. But many parents are still uncertain how and when to introduce allergens. Inspired Start takes out the guesswork. Their certified organic fruit pouches introduce eight of the most common food allergens (peanut, egg, soy, tree nuts, wheat, sesame, shellfish, and fish) to babies, starting from just four months of age.

Each box contains two days worth of four different allergens, so parents can serve two days of peanuts, then two days of eggs, and so on before moving to the next box. After each allergen has been introduced, the Variety Pack box lets you continue exposure until your child is ready to eat the foods in solid form. Still worried? Talk to your pediatrician if your child has a family history of food allergy.

Inspired Start
$23.00, Amazon

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5. A mess-free mat

If you're tired of wiping down big, bulky high chair trays (or every inch of your kitchen table) or trying to intercept flying bowls, these genius mats are for you. A placemat + plate + bowl all in one, ezpz mats are the perfect solution for new eaters. The mat suctions directly to the table, making it nearly impossible for little hands to tip it over.

The mats are made from 100% silicone that is BPA, BPS, PVC and phthalate free, and they are dishwasher, microwave and oven safe. They come in a huge array of sizes and colors, and are stackable for easy storage.

ezpz Mats
$17.49 and up, ezpz

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6. A flexible spoon

Inspired by nature and designed to be baby's first self-feeding spoon, the Olababy Training Spoon features a flexible, leaf-shaped tip that flexes to scoop, cut, and slice from any angle. It's also ergonomically designed for little hands, and the wide base allows the spoon to rest upright to avoid germs. (Meaning it's perfect for baby's first time eating in public!) And because the spoon is made from BPA-silicone and features a super flexible design, it also doubles perfectly as a teether for those tiny little gums!

Olababy Training Spoon
$14.95 for a 2-pack, Amazon

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7. A simple straw cup

Starting solids is also the perfect time to introduce your little one to a straw cup—but if watching your little one get frustrated isn't top on your list of fun things to do, you're going to need a cup that is easy to drink out of STAT. Enter the Lollacup. This (adorable) straw cup features a flexible, valve-free straw, making it easy for little ones to learn to drink. The straw also has a weighted end that anchors it in the liquid to help your babe drink effectively, even when the cup is tilted.

The cup has minimal parts and is easy to clean, so it's frustration-free for you too, mama. And it comes with a straw-cleaning brush so you can get wayyy into those gunky crevices.

Lollaland Lollacup
$15.95, Amazon

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8. An all-in-one meal solve

Although definitely not a must, lots of mamas choose to experiment with making their own baby food somewhere along their feeding journey. Although a steamer and a blender will certainly do the trick, if you're a mom who's intimidated by cooking or looking for a quick, all-in-one meal solution, we can't say enough good things about the Beaba Babycook.

It's a true one stop shop for all things baby food. It makes taking fresh fruit, veggies, meat or fish from raw to any stage of baby or toddler food super simple in only 15 minutes. It can even be operated completely one-handed—a definite mom bonus!

The Babycook has a slim footprint so it won't hog your precious counter space, but the bowl holds up to 4.7 cups of liquid or food so it's easy to make a few bathes at once. And with several colors and styles to choose from, you'll be whipping up baby culinary masterpieces in no time.

Beaba Babycook
$149.95, Target

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9. A storage solution

Now that you've made all of this delicious food, where are you going to store it? Wean Green containers are our favorite storage solution when starting solids. (And beyond!) They're made from the purest, most natural recyclable material-glass, making them five times stronger than regular glass so you won't have to worry when your baby hurls them on the floor 🤣

They're free of nasty chemicals, won't stain, and feature a silicone seal that prevents leaks and keeps the containers completely airtight. They're even safe for the microwave and the freezer, making it simple to freeze a big batch of food to use when needed.

Wean Green Eco Friendly Tempered Glass Containers
$15.43 for a 4-pack, Amazon

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When you become a parent for the first time, there is an undeniably steep learning curve. Add to that the struggle of sorting through fact and fiction when it comes to advice and—whew—it's enough to make you more tired than you already are with that newborn in the house.

Just like those childhood games of telephone when one statement would get twisted by the time it was told a dozen times, there are many parenting misconceptions that still tend to get traction. This is especially true with myths about bottle-feeding—something that the majority of parents will do during their baby's infancy, either exclusively or occasionally.

Here's what you really need to know about bottle-feeding facts versus fiction.

1. Myth: Babies are fine taking any bottle

Not all bottles are created equally. Many parents experience anxiety when it seems their infant rejects all bottles, which is especially nerve wracking if a breastfeeding mom is preparing to return to work. However, it's often a matter of giving the baby some time to warm up to the new feeding method, says Katie Ferraro, a registered dietician, infant feeding specialist and associate professor of nutrition at the University of California San Francisco graduate School of Nursing.

"For mothers returning to work, if you're breastfeeding but trying to transition to bottle[s], try to give yourself a two- to four-week trial window to experiment with bottle feeding," says Ferraro.

2. Myth: You either use breast milk or formula

So often, the question of whether a parent is using formula or breastfeeding is presented exclusively as one or the other. In reality, many babies are combo-fed—meaning they have formula sometimes, breast milk other times.

The advantage with mixed feeding is the babies still get the benefits of breast milk while parents can ensure the overall nutritional and caloric needs are met through formula, says Ferraro.

3. Myth: Cleaning bottles is a lot of work

For parents looking for simplification in their lives (meaning, all of us), cleaning bottles day after day can sound daunting. But, really, it doesn't require much more effort than you are already used to doing with the dishes each night: With bottles that are safe for the top rack of the dishwasher, cleaning them is as easy as letting the machine work for you.

For added confidence in the sanitization, Dr. Brown's offers an incredibly helpful microwavable steam sterilizer that effectively kills all household bacteria on up to four bottles at a time. (Not to mention it can also be used on pacifiers, sippy cups and more.)

4. Myth: Bottle-feeding causes colic

One of the leading theories on what causes colic is indigestion, which can be caused by baby getting air bubbles while bottle feeding. However, Dr. Brown's bottles are the only bottles in the market that are actually clinically proven to reduce colic thanks to an ingenious internal vent system that eliminates negative pressure and air bubbles.

5. Myth: Bottles are all you can use for the first year

By the time your baby is six months old (way to go!), they may be ready to begin using a sippy cup. Explains Ferraro, "Even though they don't need water or additional liquids at this point, it is a feeding milestone that helps promote independent eating and even speech development."

With a complete line of products to see you from newborn feeding to solo sippy cups, Dr. Brown's does its part to make these new transitions less daunting. And, for new parents, that truly is priceless.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Three was not enough for Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Mom and dad to North, Saint and Chicago are expecting again.

The story broke earlier this month, but this week Kim appeared on "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen" and confirmed everything People and E! have been attributing to inside Kardashian sources.

Host Andy Cohen, a father-to-be himself, asked Kim to confirm if the leaked sex of the baby was also accurate.

    "It's a boy," Kim told him, revealing that she's the accidental source of the leak. "It's out there. I got drunk at our Christmas Eve party, and I told some people, but I can't remember who I told."

    Like Chicago, this baby will be born via surrogate, and Kim says he's due quite soon.

    Kim has previously talked about how the decision to grow her family through gestational surrogacy was a hard one, but the only one that made sense for her after two difficult pregnancies.

    "Anyone that says or thinks it is just the easy way out is just completely wrong. I think it is so much harder to go through it this way, because you are not really in control," she told Entertainment Tonight when expecting Chicago.

    "Obviously you pick someone that you completely trust and that you have a good bond and relationship with, but it is still … knowing that I was able to carry my first two babies and not my baby now, it's hard for me," she explained at the time.

    One of six kids herself, it's not surprising that Kim wants a large family (considering how close she is with her siblings) and, according to Kim, Kanye's been campaigning for more children for a while.

    "Kanye wants to have more, though. He's been harassing me," Kardashian said on a 2018 episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. "He wants like seven. He's like stuck on seven."

    Four is still pretty far from seven, but maybe Kanye and Kim will compromise a bit on family size. Kim has previously said four children would be her limit.

    [Update: This post was originally published on January 2, 2019. It was updated when Kardashian confirmed the news.]

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    Toxic masculinity is having a cultural moment. Or rather, the idea that masculinity doesn't have to be toxic is having one.

    For parents who are trying to raise kind boys who will grow into compassionate men, the American Psychological Association's recent assertion that "traditional masculinity ideology" is bad for boys' well-being is concerning because our kids are exposed to that ideology every day when they walk out of then house or turn on the TV or the iPad.

    That's why a new viral ad campaign from Gillette is so inspiring—it proves society already recognizes the problems the APA pointed out, and change is possible.

    We Believe: The Best Men Can Be | Gillette (Short Film) youtu.be

    Gillette's new ad campaign references the "Me Too" movement as a narrator explains that "something finally changed, and there will be no going back."

    If may seem like something as commercial as a marketing campaign for toiletries can't make a difference in changing the way society pressures influence kids, but it's been more than a decade since Dove first launched its Campaign for Real Beauty, and while the campaign isn't without criticism, it was successful in elevating some of the body-image pressure on girls but ushering in an era of body-positive, inclusive marketing.

    Dove's campaign captured a mainstream audience at a time when the APA's "Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Girls and Women" were warning psychologists about how "unrealistic media images of girls and women" were negatively impacting the self-esteem of the next generation.

    Similarly, the Gillette campaign addresses some of the issues the APA raises in its newly released "Guidelines for the Psychological Practice with Boys and Men."

    According to the APA, "Traditional masculinity ideology has been shown to limit males' psychological development, constrain their behavior, result in gender role strain and gender role conflict and negatively influence mental health and physical health."

    The report's authors define that ideology as "a particular constellation of standards that have held sway over large segments of the population, including: anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence."

    The APA worries that society is rewarding men who adhere to "sexist ideologies designed to maintain male power that also restrict men's ability to function adaptively."

    That basically sounds like the recipe for Me Too, which is of course its own cultural movement.

    Savvy marketers at Gillette may be trying to harness the power of that movement, but that's not entirely a bad thing. On its website, Gillette states that it created the campaign (called "The Best a Man Can Be," a play on the old Gillette tagline "The Best a Man Can Get") because it "acknowledge that brands, like ours, play a role in influencing culture."

    Gillette's not wrong. We know that advertising has a huge impact on our kids. The average kid in America sees anywhere from 13,000 to 30,000 commercials on TV each year, according to the American Academy of Paediatrics, and that's not even counting YouTube ads, the posters at the bus stop and everything else.

    That's why Gillette's take makes sense from a marketing perspective and a social one. "As a company that encourages men to be their best, we have a responsibility to make sure we are promoting positive, attainable, inclusive and healthy versions of what it means to be a man," the company states.

    What does that mean?

    It means taking a stance against homophobia, bullying and sexual harassment and that harmful, catch-all-phrase that gives too many young men a pass to engage in behavior that hurts others and themselves: "Boys will be boys."

    Gillette states that "by holding each other accountable, eliminating excuses for bad behavior, and supporting a new generation working toward their personal 'best,' we can help create positive change that will matter for years to come."

    Of course, it's not enough for razor marketers to do this. Boys need support from parents, teachers, coaches and peers to be resilient to the pressures of toxic masculinity.

    When this happens, when boys are taught that strength doesn't mean overpowering others and that they can be successful while still being compassionate, the APA says we will "reduce the high rates of problems boys and men face and act out in their lives such as aggression, violence, substance abuse, and suicide."

    This is a conversation worth having and 2019 is the year to do it.

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    Teaching a young child good behavior seems like it should be easy and intuitive when, in reality, it can be a major challenge. When put to the test, it's not as easy as you might think to dole out effective discipline, especially if you have a strong-willed child.

    As young children develop independence and learn more about themselves in relation to others and their environment, they can easily grow frustrated when they don't always know how to communicate their feelings or how to think and act rationally.

    It's crucial that parents recognize these limitations and also set up rules to protect your child and those they encounter. These rules, including a parent's or caregiver's follow-up actions, allow your child to learn and develop a better understanding of what is (and what is not) appropriate behavior.

    Here are a few key ways to correct negative behavior in an efficient way:

    1. Use positive reinforcement.

    Whenever possible, look to deliver specific and positive praise when a child engages in good behavior or if you catch them in an act of kindness. Always focus on the positive things they are doing so that they are more apt to recreate those behaviors. This will help them start to learn the difference between good and poor behavior.

    2. Be simple and direct.

    Though this seems like a no-brainer, focus your child using constructive feedback versus what not to do or where they went wrong. Give reasons and explanations for rules, as best as you can for their age group.

    For example, if you're teaching them to be gentle with your pet, demonstrate the correct motions and tell your child, "We're gentle when we pet the cat like this so that we don't hurt them," versus, "Don't pull on her tail!"

    3. Re-think the "time out."

    Many classrooms are starting to have cozy nooks where children are encouraged to have alone time when they may feel out of control. In lieu of punishment, sending a child to a "feel-good" area removes them from a situation that's causing distress. This provides much-needed comfort and allows for the problem-solving process to start on its own.

    4. Use 'no' sparingly.

    When a word is repeated over and over, it begins to lose meaning. There are better ways to discipline your child than saying "no." Think about replaying the message in a different way to increase the chances of your child taking note. Rather than shouting, "No, stop that!" when your toddler is flinging food at dinnertime, it's more productive to use encouraging words that prompt better behavior, such as, "Food is for eating, what are we supposed to do when we're sitting at the dinner table?" This encourages them to consider their behavior.

    The above methods help create teachable moments by providing opportunities for development while making sure the child feels safe and cared for. It is important to mirror these discipline techniques at home and communicate often with your child care providers so that you're always on the same page.

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    To the mamas awake in the middle of the night,

    If you are one of the many moms with a little darling who doesn't sleep through the night, I feel your pain. I really do.

    Having been blessed with two wonderful sleepers (aka my first and second babies), my third baby has been a shock to my system. He hasn't slept through the night since he was born and he's now 16 months. I do everything "right." I put him down sleepy but awake so he can settle himself to sleep. I keep the room dark and quiet.

    But one simple fact remains: When my son wakes up in the night, he wants me. And he'll scream the house down if he doesn't get me.

    Last night my 1-year-old woke at 3:30 am. He was stirring a bit at first, then started to really let it rip, so I got him up out of his crib and brought him into bed with me. We cuddled for a while. Then suddenly, he wanted to get off the bed and I said no. Then he started to scream and throw himself around on the bed before eventually being sick everywhere.

    It was now 4:30 am. I dutifully changed the sheets, changed my son, changed myself, and then we climbed back into bed, the smell of vomit still lingering.

    I tried to put him back in his crib around 5 am but he woke right up. I brought him back into bed with me, but quickly realized this wasn't what he wanted either. He was thrashing around again, trying to figure out a way off of the bed.

    Finally, close to 6 am he decided he wanted to go to sleep. After about 10 minutes of watching him sleep, I felt brave enough to try to put him back in his room. I gently lifted him up, placed him in his crib and quietly crept back into my bed.

    This left me with just enough time to fall back into a deep sleep, which meant I felt exhausted when my alarm went off just after 7 am.

    Sadly, last night wasn't a one-off. This is a fairly frequent occurrence for me (although dealing with vomit is luckily quite rare!). Which means that when I say I understand what it's like to have a baby who doesn't sleep, I really mean it.

    So here's what I want you to know, mama.

    If you are awake in the night because your baby needs you then you are not alone. Despite what you might read, it's common for babies to wake up through the night. So if you're sitting in bed feeling like you're the only mother in the world awake, trust me, you're far from it.

    There are mamas like us all over the world. Sitting there in the dark. Cuddling babies or soothing them to sleep again. Some, like me, might be changing sheets or abandoning any hope of getting sleep that night at all. Others might be up and down like a yo-yo every few hours. The rest might just be up once and then will be able to go back to sleep.

    There will, however, also be mamas who are sound asleep. Mamas who have older children who no longer wake in the night. And they would want you to know that it will be okay. It won't be forever. One day, you'll realize that your baby no longer needs or wants you in the night.

    And while you'll be so glad for your sleep you'll probably also be a little sad that there are no more night time cuddles.

    It's hard to cope with a baby who doesn't sleep well at night. Really hard sometimes. You may feel like you can't deal with it anymore or you may be wishing that this phase would just stop already so you can get some rest.

    Exhaustion often means that you struggle to get through the day. It can mean that you find it hard to drag yourself out of bed. Or if you're anything like me, you might be irritable and snap at the people you love. Or maybe it means relying on caffeine, sugar and Netflix to get you and your kiddos through the day.

    But here's the amazing thing about mothers—no matter what has gone down during the night, we get up as usual. We go about our day just like everyone else. We care for and love our children, without giving them a hard time for disrupting our sleep. We don't moan, we don't complain. We just get on with it.

    And when night comes, we go to bed knowing that there's every chance we'll be awake in the middle of the night again...

    We get up without fail when our babies need us and we do what we need to do for them. Because we are the nighttime warriors. We are mamas.

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