Introducing Solid Food to My Baby

The recommended age to feed a baby solids is between 4-6 months. When Amira was 4 months old, she was still exclusively breastfed and didn’t eat any solids. Whenever people asked me if she did, I wondered if I was being too safe by waiting until she turned 6 months. I had tried bringing food close to her mouth and she just looked at me with confusion. She didn't seem excited, didn't open her mouth, and didn't give me any cues to let me know she wanted to eat solids. I was so eager for her to start enjoying food, but I knew I had to be patient.

Solid Food Baby Led Weaning

Finally, when she was 6 months old, I tried to feed her purees. She didn't enjoy them, but gave them a try. She was more interested than she was when she was 4 months old, which was progress. But she sometimes pushed out the food and looked at me with this adorable face that said: "Hey mom, this isn't breastmilk. Stop feeding me this weird orange vegetable!" I tried carrots, avocado, and other vegetables as her first few foods. I started getting a little worried that Amira was falling behind. She should have been eating solids happily as a 6 month old, but she was barely opening her mouth and didn’t seem to enjoy it at all. What was I doing wrong?

I researched a bit and came across the practice of baby-led weaning. Baby-led weaning is the process of giving the baby solid finger foods to feed herself instead of feeding her purees with a spoon. Until this point, I had tried feeding Amira with a spoon. One day, I decided to mash up some blueberries in between my fingers and feed them to her. She first made a face and then opened her mouth for more. I was beyond excited to see her asking for more. She devoured the blueberries and the next day, I sat her in the high chair and handed her a banana. I peeled it in such a way that allowed her to have a good grip on it so she could hold it easily while she ate it. She mashed it up, made a mess, and some of it eventually ended up in her mouth. I could tell she loved it. I let out a sigh of relief and suddenly felt so much better, knowing that Amira was finally enjoying solid food.

Solid Food Baby Led Weaning

Tip:

Cut fruits and veggies with the peel, so your baby can use it to grip the pieces. make sure the peel is not soft enough to be bitten, as it can be a choking hazard.

I noticed that Amira preferred fruits as a first food than vegetables. Many sources say vegetables should be fed first, so the baby doesn't prefer sweets over vegetables. My doctor said either option is perfectly fine for a first food. After she enjoyed blueberries and bananas, I decided to hand her an avocado. She absolutely loved the flavor and enjoyed the texture as well. I then moved on to trying a variety of vegetables from squash to sweet potato, regular potato, peas, carrots, and more. I let her feed herself and eventually tried feeding her with a spoon and she ate happily.

Had I not tried baby-led weaning, I would have continued stressing out about getting her to eat solids. She now enjoys a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, lentils, and meat. There are days when she prefers holding the food herself and "feeding" herself (which basically means mashing it up and licking her hands sometimes, but hey, it gets in there!) and there are days when she's completely satisfied with being spoon-fed. Sometimes, you just have to try a variety of methods to see which one works for your little one.

Whenever your baby refuses something, try a different approach. I expected myself to puree all her food, freeze them into ice cube trays, and then move onto to thicker textures later on, but Amira had something else in mind. Babies have their own preferences, so follow their cue and go with the flow! I thought I’d share my experience, because I first came across baby-led weaning on other blogs and it was helpful to read about other moms’ experiences as I was going through a similar situation.

Please note: I am not a doctor. If you feel your baby is having issues while eating solids, consult his/her pediatrician for guidance. The information I share is based on my own experiences and may not be the way to go for your baby, as every baby is unique.


Best Teething Toys for Infants

Like most new moms, I checked the clock 24/7 to make sure Amira was fed at the right time. The moment I saw her put her hand in her mouth, I dropped everything, grabbed my Boppy and nursed her immediately.

Eventually, that routine changed. Amira started putting her hand in mouth and didn't want to nurse. "Wow, is it time already?" I thought. "Yup! She's started the process of teething. She's going to try to put everything in her mouth," my pediatrician surprised me as I wondered how quickly time was flying. "Teething? But she's only 4 months old!" After doing some research and talking to my experienced mom friends and sister, I realized she was definitely teething. She keeps putting her hands in her mouth, along with all of her rattles and toys. She's constantly drooling, tugging at her ear, and has a few moments of fussing for no other reason than teething.

I started to search for teething toys that would help soothe Amira's aching gums. Some were better than others, so I thought I'd share my favorites here on the blog. Hopefully, any moms with teething babies will find this post to be helpful. And remember, every baby is different so test out a few and see what your little one prefers.

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Safety 1st Ellie Elephant Teether by Mombella

This is on the top of the list, because Amira absolutely loves it! I can tell that it really soothes her gums and my favorite part of this teether is that the whole thing is ok for her to nibble on. Some teethers have harder handles and just the top part is soft, but your little one can put any part of this silicone teether in her mouth and it'll do the job. Amira sometimes has the handle in her mouth and sometimes has the textured tip that sticks out from the top. It's adorable seeing her bite on it in all directions with drool everywhere. The handles are also very easy to hold, which was a huge plus since some of the teethers I found were difficult to hold onto.

Baby Banana Infant Training Toothbrush and Teether

One of my dear friends gifted this to Amira and I know it's a popular training toothbrush and teether used by many moms. Amira had a difficult time holding this one early on, but she has a good grasp now. The soft silicone bristles help soothe her gums and the peeling handles are the perfect size for her little fingers to hold. I like that this teether can eventually be used as a training toothbrush when her teeth actually come out. I've put this teether in the freezer as well and Amira seemed to really enjoy the cool sensation when she bit down on it.

MAM Mini Cooler Teether with Clip

I love that this teether comes with a clip. When a teether covered with spit falls on the carpet, you have to rinse or wipe it. The clip keeps you from worrying about the teether falling, which I love! The MAM Teether has water inside of it, which is perfect for putting in the refrigerator to help soothe your little one's gums. I like the shape of this teether, because Amira is able to reach her gums all the way in the back. The ring is the perfect size for her to hold onto and it's lightweight, so it rarely falls.

Chicco Fruity Tooty Teether

This was one of the first teethers I bought and to be honest, I didn't like it at first. Amira had a hard time holding onto it and getting it into her mouth in the beginning. Now that she's 6 months old, she has a better grip, so she's able to hold onto it for a longer period of time as she bites down it. The material is a little harder than the other teethers, but Amira seems to enjoy it. Every baby is different, so your little one might enjoy it sooner than Amira did!

I hope this list helps any of you moms out there looking for suitable teethers for your baby. If you already have teething toys, which ones does your little one enjoy? Let me know in the comments!

 

Best Baby Books for Newborns

I loved books as a child (and still do). I have fond memories of visiting my local library with my mom and getting lost among the books and the little stools that had legs that looked like cute little pencils. I also remember getting excited every time my teacher passed out the colorful Scholastic book catalogs. I loved how those catalogs felt as I turned each colorful page to see which book I would order next. Book fairs at my elementary school would get me pumped. I wanted every book I picked up. The illustrations and stories in these books allowed me to imagine the most amazing places and I remember getting lost in a new world every time I read a book. It sounds cheesy, but it's true!

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Now that I have Amira, I get excited whenever it comes time to reading to her. I have been reading to Amira ever since I was pregnant with her. It always felt funny to read to her before she was even born, but every now and then I just read my own books, magazines, articles, and recipes aloud. When she was finally born, I was eager to open up the books I bought for her. I never realized how much I would love reading to her and how much she would enjoy it. Amira's eyes light up with each illustration and she smiles as soon as I pick up a book and bring it close to her. As I read to her, she listens attentively, waiting for the next page of colorful drawings to come up. It warms my heart every. single. time.

Best Baby Books

So today, I thought I'd share just a few of our favorite books (so far). Whether you're shopping for books for a friend's baby shower or purchasing books for your own little one's first library, I hope this list helps: 

  1. The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
    One of many classic children's books written by Eric Carle, The Tiny Seed was the very first book I ever read to Amira when she was born. She sat in her swing as I read the story, but she mainly wanted to just look at the bright and colorful illustrations. It's a story about a tiny seed that grows to be a huge flower after surviving many adventures through the seasons.
  2. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
    One of my friends shared this book with me and I absolutely love reading it with Amira. I might even love it more than my baby. Every time I read a story from this book, I learn a new fact about an outstanding woman or girl who has achieved something amazing. Each story is short, simple, and easy to read. There's a beautiful illustration of each person along with their story. Amira loves staring at the colorful portraits while I read about the achievements of women through time. Sharing these empowering stories with my daughter makes me so excited to see what she'll achieve one day!
  3. The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
    This one's another classic. I read this to Amira right after I lay her down in the crib to sleep. The moment she sees the cover, she has a huge smile on her face. The rhymes are perfect for funny voices, which babies love, and the colorful illustrations keep them focused on the book. If there's one book I love, it's this one, just because it actually puts my baby to sleep sometimes! 
  4. The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin
    Books shouldn't be entertaining just for the baby. You should love reading them too! The Wonderful Things You Will Be hits that emotional spot in my motherly heart. The story is so sweet and gets you thinking about all of the wonderful things your baby will do as she's growing up. The illustrations are soft and beautiful. You'll love this book just as much as your little one does. Trust me.
  5. Five Pillars of Islam by Anwar Cara and Azhari Zulkifli
    While looking for Islamic children's books, I thought this one was great for babies. It's a very simple read compared to other Islamic children's books and covers the topic of the 5 pillars of Islam. Amira enjoys seeing the characters in each scene as they illustrate the meaning of each pillar.
  6. Pantone Color Books by Pantone
    This set of six books was one of the best gifts Amira received from a dear friend of mine. Each board book is devoted to one color of the rainbow and has cutouts of objects that represent different shades from the Pantone collection. The books are very well designed and Amira enjoys grabbing them to touch the cutouts. I like taking one with me in my diaper bag when I'm out, so Amira can look through it on the go.  
  7. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
    I remember this book being one of my favorites growing up, so I needed to share it with Amira! I mean, who hasn't read The Very Hungry Caterpillar? My mom even remembers reading it to me, which makes it even more special. It's another Eric Carle classic that gets Amira giggling every time we get to the part where "...he was STILL hungry!" This one's great for silly voices too. Did I mention I sound crazy when reading to my baby? Anything to get our little ones to smile and laugh, right?
  8. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
    I read Goodnight Moon with a soft voice right when Amira is ready for bed. The illustrations pop with bright red and green, which keeps her eyes moving throughout the page with curiosity. It's a short and simple read that gets her ready to snuggle, cuddle, and fall asleep.
  9. Peek-a-Boo Forest by Lamaze
    The cloth pages of this book make a crinkly sound, which gets Amira's attention immediately. If your baby's obsessed with the crinkly sound the diaper wipes bag makes (is mine the only one?) then she'll love this book. Peek-a-Boo Forest has flaps that you pull back to reveal which animal is hiding around the forest. It's an adorable book that works as a bedtime read or a fun game of peek-a-boo with your little one.
  10. My First Shapes with Frank Lloyd Wright by Mudpuppy
    I have always loved Frank Lloyd Wright's geometric creations as a designer and now love them as a tool to teach my baby about shapes. I bought this book as a souvenir for Amira while we were at the Guggenheim in New York. It's a wonderful book to teach your baby about colors, shapes, and of course, a little architecture. 

There are many more books I'd love to add to this list, but I hope you enjoyed reading about some of our first favorites! Which books are your little one's favorite? Let me know below!