Close this search box.


100+ Baby Name Ideas for Boys, Girls, and Gender-Neutral

Searching for the perfect name for your baby? Many parents will look to classic, popular, vintage, and family names for inspiration. If you need help getting started, today’s article discloses our favorite baby names: girl, boy, and gender-neutral.  Trendy Boy Names 2024 It doesn’t matter whether you’ve just had your ultrasound or he’s already nestled in your arms, here are some trendy names for your baby boy:  Ezra Ezra is a Hebrew name meaning “help.” It comes from the biblical Ezra the Scribe, who was known for reminding the Jewish community of the Torah’s sovereignty. For this reason, Ezra is associated with immeasurable aid and support.  Leo Leo is a masculine name with Latin roots. And like the Zodiac sign, it translates to “lion.”  Liam Liam has Irish roots, though it’s related to the British name William. For this reason, it means “helmet of will” or “protection.” Because Liam embodies a strong-willed warrior, it’s an ideal name for courageous babies. Apollo As the God of Archery and the Sun, Apollo is an icon in Greek mythology. The name Apollo means “destroyer,” and if you want to inspire your baby to protect the people he loves, this name is it.  Oliver Oliver is a French name that’s associated with the beloved olive tree. Therefore, it serves as a symbol of peace, dignity, and friendship.  Rocco This short and snappy name is of Italian origin. Some say Rocco is derived from the English word “rock,” while others believe it comes from the old German word hruoh, meaning “crow” or “rook.”  Ridge Ridge is an old English word meaning “continuous elevated mountain crest.” This unique, vintage name has started to gain popularity in recent years.  Hudson Originating in England as a popular surname, Hudson — quite literally — means “son of Hudd” or “son of Hugh.” (In Medieval England, Hudd was a surname for those who made hoods for a living.) Overall, the name Hudson is fashionably vintage, yet with a solid, masculine ring to it.  Lincoln The name Lincoln originated in England, and — like our beloved Abraham — was initially a popular surname. It was originally used to designate people from Lincoln, a cathedral city in the East Midlands of England. Therefore, it translates to “lake or pool colony” and is sometimes interpreted as “town by the lake.”  Jack Jack is a classic, British name that might derive from the old French name Jacque. It rose to popularity in Medieval England as a variation of John, meaning “God is gracious,” and Jacob, meaning “supplanter.”  Cool Boy Baby Names Below are some more bravado-y boy names to use in 2024:  Unique Boy Baby Names On the hunt for a unique baby name that reflects your baby’s individuality? Here are our top picks:  Classic Boy Baby Names And last but not least, here are some classic and vintage boy baby names to use in 2024: Trendy Baby Girl Names Have a beautiful baby girl on the way? Here are some trendy baby girl names to use in 2024:  Charlotte Charlotte is a feminine variation of the French name Charles. Because Charles means “free man,” the name is often associated with royalty. Charlotte also represents freedom for artistic expression, making it a fantastic choice for creative families.  Artemis In Greek mythology, Artemis is Apollo’s twin sister. Therefore, it’s only fitting that they both make the list of trendy 2024 baby names. Artemis translates to “twin of Apollo,” representing the Greek Goddess of the Moon and Hunting.  Cleo Cleo is a modern take on the Ancient Greek word kleó, meaning “to celebrate” or “to make famous.”  Lotus Lotus is a Greek name representing the lotus flower. If you didn’t already know, the lotus flower is considered sacred in many cultures and is often a symbol of purity.  Jade Jade is a British name that means “precious stone.” And many of us will recognize it as the stunning and expensive gemstone that bears its name. (Those who practice Confucianism believe jade gemstones bring good luck.) Rose Like Kate Winslett’s beloved character, Rose is the epitome of femininity. This name has Latin origins, and it translates to “rose” or “flower.” It also inspires a multitude of variations including Rosie, Rosemary, and Rosalie.  Carmen This Hebrew name means “garden” or “vineyard.” It’s also a mountain in the Old Testament.  Nellie Nellie is an adorable variation of the Latin name Cornelia. Of course, it could also be related to the Greek names Eleanor or Helen. It means “horn” or “sun ray” and, as you can tell, has a wonderfully whimsical vibe.  Alexandra Alexandra is a classic name associated with royalty. It has Greek origins, and it means the one who has come to save the warriors.  Camilla This Italian name means “helping the priest.” It comes from the word camillus, which refers to the person serving as an acolyte in the ancient church.  Cool Baby Girl Names Searching for an effortlessly cool name for your little girl? Here are some of our favorites:  Unique Baby Girl Names Here are some unique baby girl names that we suspect will become popular in 2024: Classic and Vintage Girl Names If you’re searching for a vintage baby girl name, these classics can’t be beaten:  Gender-Neutral Baby Names Whether you’re waiting to know the gender or simply looking for a universal option, here are some gender-neutral baby names: Kai Kai is traditionally a Welsh name, though it has roots worldwide. In Hawaii, Kai means “the sea,” and in New Zealand, it means “food.”  Avery Avery means “ruler of the elves” and “wise.” As you can tell, this name has a whimsical feel. However, because it has a long and established history, it’s deeply rooted and incredibly respectable.  Noah Noah comes from the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament, as Noah was instructed by God to build an ark to prepare for the flood. For this reason, it means “rest” and “comfort,” and it’s incredibly popular regardless of religious affiliation.  Frankie Frankie

8 Beneficial Lessons Kids Learn From Playing Team Sports

The truth is in the numbers: 95% of Fortune 500 executives (aka the people who run the largest corporations in the U.S.) participated in high school athletics. That’s a huge eye-opener for parents considering letting their kids play team sports at a young age. But why? Because there are vital lessons kids learn from playing sports with their peers. Team sports are more than just physical benefits and a chance to compete. They provide a rich learning ground for life’s most valuable lessons. As kids dribble soccer balls, swing baseball bats, or pass basketballs, they also engage in an education that goes beyond the game. Here, we’ll explore seven crucial life lessons that kids can gain from participating in team sports.  Lesson #1: The Importance of Teamwork This might be one of the biggest lessons kids learn from sports. When it comes to team games, it’s critical that all players join forces in order to reach a common goal. This means children learn to perform duties that involve giving and taking the lead to achieve the best outcome.  Think of it like this. In basketball, players need to work together to pass the ball down the court so someone can shoot the ball into the hoop. While one player might really want to make the winning shot, if they aren’t in the right position, passing to another team member who’s closer to the hoop is probably the better option for scoring–but even when one person scores, the whole team gets a point. Kids will use teamwork skills for the rest of their lives: for school projects, in their careers, and even when raising a family. Lesson #2: How to be Resilient Resilience means recovering from difficult situations with grace and empathy. Team sports teach young athletes that a bad play or a lost game doesn’t determine the whole of the season or the entire future, as long as they keep their heads up and push toward their goal.  Eventually, this lesson helps children deal with disagreements that can pop up with friends, coworkers, and family. Being resilient will help them stick to studying hard subjects, overcome setbacks at work, and so much more. Lesson #3: Accountability Admitting when you made the wrong call is another crucial lesson kids learn from team sports. No one is the perfect athlete–especially in kid’s athletics. Mistakes are made, but being able to own up to a flaw and determine why a play didn’t work helps children learn from their slip-ups. In the future, learning accountability at this level will help kids develop an honest style of communication that makes them trustworthy in all areas of life. Lesson #4: Having Patience Patience is one of the most underrated life lessons kids learn from playing team sports, but it’s a huge one nonetheless. A prime example is the waiting game in a sport like baseball, where players must wait their turn to bat. And, even in the outfield–not every moment is action-packed.  This patience carries over into a child’s future, teaching them the invaluable skill of enduring setbacks and waiting for the right moment to seize opportunities. This calmness and understanding that success often requires patience becomes an asset as they navigate their academic pursuits, careers, and relationships. Lesson #5: Reading Body Language Children need to read body language in almost every team sport. This helps them assess situations while in competition, on or off the field. Take soccer, for instance. Players often communicate nonverbally through their movements and positioning on the field. A player might sprint towards the goal to indicate they are open to pass to.  This ability to decode their teammates’ or opponents’ intentions has a major impact on your kid’s future. Reading body language can help them navigate business deals such as salary negotiations, real estate deals, and learning when they should and shouldn’t trust a stranger. Lesson #6: Controlling Emotions Let’s be honest. Most young players hate losing. And team sports show them that sometimes, even with their best effort, they won’t always win. The sooner your child learns this, the sooner they can understand how to cope with future losses without major stress or anger. When they learn to control their emotions, in the future, they’ll be able to take a deep breath when getting passed up by a well-deserved promotion or shrug it off if they get turned down by a date. Lesson #7: Failing With Dignity  When teams suffer devastating losses or lose championships, they have their hearts set on winning, they eventually learn to fail with dignity. Although it’s a major disappointment, this lesson becomes an opportunity for kids to develop adaptability, humility, and sportsmanship.  This life lesson can help them easily get over future hardships such as a failed job interview or romantic conflict. They’ll learn to take the high road and stay focused–which shows they are dependable and ethical and can improve their chances for future success. Lesson #8: Dealing With Pressure Dealing with pressure during a game means knowing how to change strategy at the last minute while still being able to stay focused. For example, in baseball, if you’re the last batter in a tied game with two outs and the winning run is determined by you hitting a home run, that’s a lot of pressure. It’s good for kids to feel that strain and practice staying focused. A child who learns to do this will be able to accept a change on the job or even in their personal lives without being able to lose purpose. Dealing with pressure teaches kids to strategize long-term and in the moment as new developments occur. Plus, this lesson is vital for any professional career; from being a retail manager to a leading politician, learning to deal with pressure is a must. The Impact of Team Sports It’s easy to see how playing team sports can translate into must-have skills for future careers or personal relationships. Teamwork, resilience, accountability, patience, and more can all be

The Ultimate Baby Registry Must-Haves 

Babies come with a lot of baggage – both literally and figuratively! Newborns require clothes, nursery furniture, baby gear, and so much more. However, creating a baby registry takes the pressure off expecting parents, as their friends and family can help them stock up on all the baby essentials.  If you’re new to motherhood, figuring out baby registry requests can be a confusing and overwhelming process. However, our experts are here to help. Today’s article reveals everything you need to know about baby registries – including when to set one up, considerations to keep in mind, and must-have baby items to include.  What Is a Baby Registry?  A baby registry lists items that new moms would like to receive as baby shower gifts from their friends and family. Generally, they include everything from newborn gifts — like bedtime stories and stuffed animals — to essential parenting items (like diaper bags).  Ideally, you should start compiling your registry before you mail your baby shower invitations (about two or three months before your baby’s arrival). We recommend using an online platform — Amazon is a great one — as it’s easy for guests to shop regardless of location.  Keep in mind that adding ample items to your registry gives your friends and family plenty of choices. Additionally, we recommend including items at a variety of price points, so there’s something suitable for every budget.  Considerations for Putting Together a Baby Registry Here are some things to keep in mind when putting together your baby registry requests: Convenience for Your Family and Friends While you might prefer supporting local businesses and shopping at a brick-and-mortar store, it might not be a convenient option for your shower guests. Create your registry online — especially if many of your guests live out of town — as this makes the process easier.  Variety of Items While it’s true that guests select items that you have already requested, you’ll want to give them some sort of autonomy. Make sure to include a variety of items on your baby registry — everything from diaper bags to bedtime stories. Additionally, include items at a variety of price points, as this accommodates different budgets.  Easy Returns and Free Shipping Don’t be surprised if you’re accidentally gifted duplicates (or simply change your mind about an item). And if that’s the case, you’ll want to be able to return your items.  Different Types of Gifts for a Baby Registry If you’re a new mom, selecting baby items to include on your registry can be challenging. To make things easier, our team has comprised a baby registry checklist for you to follow:  Diapers & Diapering Supplies While diapers are certainly not the most glamorous of gifts, they’re essential nonetheless. Here are some diaper baby products for new moms:  Feeding Supplies Whether you breastfeed, formula feed, or combine the two, feeding supplies are fantastic baby registry requests.  Baby Gear There are several big-ticket, everyday items that new parents need. These include:  Bathing Supplies Unfortunately, newborns can’t hop in the shower for a quick rinse. Here are some necessary bathing supplies for newborns: Baby Clothes Trust us when we say that you can never have enough baby outfits. However, it’s important to ask for outfits and accessories in various sizes, as your little one will grow significantly throughout their first year of life.  Nursery Items Decide if you’d like your nursery to stick to a theme, style, or color scheme. Then, request the following:  Safety Items Baby registry requests can — and should! — include various health and safety items: Personal Care and Comfort Items Additionally, some moms will put personal care and comfort items on their baby registry. Generally, these include:  Playthings and Keepsakes In addition to all the practical things, your friends and family will likely enjoy buying toys and playthings for your newborn:  How Much Does a Baby Registry Cost?  Most baby registries are free to set up, considering the company hosting them benefits from the sale of the items. Additionally, new moms can check various registry platforms for benefits like completion discounts, free shipping, bonus gifts, and more.  When To Set Up Your Baby Registry   As we mentioned, moms should create their baby registry before mailing baby shower invitations. (Showers usually occur between two and three months before the baby’s arrival.) However, moms can start compiling their registry much sooner and use their registry as an organizational tool for all the baby essentials.  The Bottom Line Babies require lots of stuff. However, creating a baby registry is a phenomenal way to keep track of it all. If you were previously unsure which baby registry requests to make, we hope that today’s article pointed you in the right direction. And as always, keep checking the parenthood section of our blog for more motherhood guides, tips, and tricks. 

Questions To Ask Your Kid About Their Day At School

As a parent, you’re naturally curious about your children’s lives–wanting to hear about the adventures, challenges, and stories that made up their school day while you were apart. But the exchange of “How was school today?” “Fine” is a common refrain in many parent-child dynamics. That’s why we’re here to help you break out of this conversational rut and connect with your child through some different approaches.  We’ll explore a variety of techniques to help you unearth the stories, experiences, and emotions that make up your child’s school day. From asking the right questions to creating a comfortable atmosphere for sharing, we’ll share some effective ways to bridge the gap between their world and yours.  Ask specific questions When it comes to engaging your child in meaningful after-school conversations, one of the most effective techniques is asking specific questions. Questions that are super broad, like, “How was your day?” often lead to vague answers. Instead, ask about particular events or aspects of their school day.  One way to do this is to dive into your child’s specific interests, by asking questions related to their favorite subjects or activities. For instance, you might say, “I know you love art. What did you create in art class today?” Another approach to specific questions is to draw your child’s attention to a particular point of time in the school day, like lunch (this can be a particularly helpful thing to ask about, as friendships and social dynamics are a big part of lunch time). You might ask, “Who did you sit with at lunch today and what did you talk about?” If you know about specific events that happened that day, either from your child’s teacher or other communications from their school, make a point to ask about them. For instance, “I heard there was a science experiment in your class today. How did it go?” By asking specific questions, you’re showing interest in your child’s day and their unique experiences, and this can lead to more detailed and engaging conversations. Ask open-ended questions After getting the ball rolling with some specific questions, another technique for crafting great conversations with your child is to ask open-ended questions. These types of questions encourage your child to share more than just a simple “yes” or “no” answer and delve deeper into their thoughts and feelings.  To ask open-ended questions effectively, steer clear of questions that can be answered with one word. Instead, choose questions that require a more elaborate response. Instead of asking, “How was school today?” try, “What was something good that happened at school today?” Another thing that good open-ended questions can do is encourage storytelling. Instead of asking for a simple summary of your child’s day, ask for specific stories or examples. For example, you might say, “Tell me about something that made you laugh today,” or “Can you tell me about when you felt proud of yourself today?” These types of questions are your best friends when it comes to encouraging your child to open up and share their experiences. The open-ended questioning doesn’t have to end with the first one you pose. After your child shares something, ask follow-up questions to explore their thoughts and feelings in more depth. If they mention a challenging situation, you can ask, “How did that make you feel, and what did you do about it?” or “What do you think could make it better next time?” Don’t ask anything right away When your kid hops in the car or gets home after school, it’s natural to be curious and want to hear about their day as soon as possible. But as counterintuitive as it might sound, sometimes resisting the urge to fire off questions right away can lead to a better conversation later.  Jumping into questions right away can be overwhelming, so try to give your child some space at first. They may need a moment to unwind and transition from the school environment to the home environment. Plus, there’s no “right” time for these conversations, and some kids open up more during a quiet dinner or bedtime chat rather than right after school. If your child seems upset or unusually quiet, show empathy and acknowledge their emotions without prying. You can say something like, “I can see something’s bothering you. Whenever you’re ready to talk, I’m here for you.” By giving them the space and time they need to decompress, you create a more welcoming environment for meaningful conversations with your kids. Remember, it’s not just about what you ask, but when and how you ask it. Share about your own day Sometimes, the best way to encourage your child to open up about their day is by sharing a bit about your own. When you share your experiences, you create a more open and comfortable atmosphere for them to reciprocate. Start by sharing something relatable from your day. It could be a funny or interesting anecdote, a challenge you faced, or a personal accomplishment. Through your sharing you can show your child you understand what it’s like to have ups and downs during the day. After sharing a bit, you can also ask your kid for their thoughts or opinion on what you’ve said. This invites connection in a way that keeps the pressure off your kid to share more than they’re ready to about their own day.  By sharing about your day, you demonstrate that you’re open and willing to connect on a personal level. This can foster a sense of trust, make your child more comfortable sharing their own stories and feelings, and promote better communication with your children in general. Use an icebreaker Engaging with your children after school can sometimes be made easier with the help of a fun icebreaker–they can make sharing about your day feel like an exciting game and get the conversation flowing. One icebreaker idea is “rose, bud, thorn”. Ask your child to share their “rose,” which is the best part of their

2023’s Best Diaper Review For Your Little One 

Are you a first-time mother venturing into the wild world of disposable diapers? Because they’ll be a part of your little one’s life for the next two or three years, diapers are a significant investment. With so many brands on the market — all featuring different shapes, styles, and materials — it can be hard to determine the right diaper for your baby.  Thankfully, our team has done the dirty work for you (pun intended) and rounded up the best diapers of 2023. Keep scrolling to discover which diaper is best suited for your baby’s needs.  What to Look for in the Best Diapers of 2023 Not all diapers are created equal. Here’s what to look for in the best diapers of 2023:  12 Best Diapers of 2023 Found yourself overwhelmed in the diaper aisle? Below are the 12 best diapers of 2023: Best Disposable Diaper: Kirkland Signature This big-box disposable diaper takes more environmental considerations than its counterparts. Plus, Kirkland Signature diapers are free of lotions and fragrances, and they’re Elemental Chlorine-Free. They also offer excellent absorption and leak protection without breaking the bank.  However, while Kirkland Signature diapers are somewhat friendly to sensitive skin, they aren’t entirely chlorine-free. They also lack transparency regarding the manufacturing process and ingredients.  Best Diapers for Active Babies: Huggies Little Snugglers Baby Diapers Whether your little ones are crawling, scooting, walking, or simply kicking, Huggies Little Snugglers Baby Diapers are ideal for active babies. The waistband and leg bands are soft and won’t chafe your baby’s skin. However, they’re secure enough to stay put while your baby moves. Plus, the velcro “double grip strips” offer an extra level of protection.  Best Diapers for Sensitive Skin: Hello Bello Diapers If your baby’s skin is prone to irritation, Hello Bello’s diapers are the ones for you. Celebrity couple Kristen Bell and Dax Shepherd designed these diapers with high-quality, plant-derived ingredients, and they’re free of artificial fragrances, latex, lotion, parabens, and chlorine. And even though they feel as soft as other high-end diaper brands, Hello Bello diapers are a fraction of the cost.   Best Non-Toxic Baby Diapers: Honest Diapers We love The Honest Brand’s non-toxic personal care products. And their beloved baby diapers are no different, as they’re free of latex, parabens, chlorine, perfume, and other harmful chemicals. Honest diapers are made of plant-based materials — including a sustainably sourced core made from pine and spruce trees — and the box is made of recycled cardboard. Plus, parents love the leak protection, gentle material, and snug fit.  Best Overnight Diaper: Pampers Swaddlers Overnights These overnight diapers offer all-night protection and up to 12 hours of wetness control, making them a tremendous option for your newborn baby. They lock liquid in the inner core, keeping your baby’s bum dry all night long, and they offer better leak protection than other leading diaper brands. Overall, Pampers Swaddlers Overnights deliver effective absorption at an affordable price. However, they do contain perfumes, lotions, and dyes, and they aren’t eco-friendly.  Best Biodegradable Diaper: Andy Pandy Bamboo Disposable Diaper This eco-friendly diaper is 100% biodegradable and made from bamboo. It is hypoallergenic, antibacterial, and free from harsh chemicals — including chlorine, phthalates, latex, PVC, TBT, alcohol, preservatives, and antioxidants — so you won’t have to worry about rashes or irritation on your baby’s skin. Plus, the diaper’s silky soft texture and the wet indicator strip are excellent bonuses.  Note that bamboo fiber is naturally thermal regulating, keeping your baby cooler in hot temperatures and warmer when it’s cold out.  Best Cloth Diaper: Esembly Cloth Diaper Bundle Set If you’re taking the cloth diaper route, Esembly’s Cloth Diaper Bundle Set is the best on the market. These diapers have a fragrance-free and chlorine-free disposable inner layer that’s made of soft and absorbent organic cotton, and they have an outer layer made of recycled plastic. While the initial cost is more expensive than most, the brand claims you’ll only need 24 inner diapers and six outer diapers throughout your baby’s diaper-wearing lifespan – saving you money in the long run.  Best Organic Baby Diaper: Dyper Diapers Both the interior and exterior of Dyper Diapers are made from sustainably sourced, natural bamboo viscose, making them incredibly gentle on your baby’s skin. They are also free of phthalates, alcohol, perfume, and chlorine. Our favorite part? You can minimize waste by composting these diapers through the ReDyper service – which picks up dirty diapers directly from your doorstep.  Best Swim Diapers: Alva Swim Diapers The Alva Swim Diapers are sustainable and budget-conscious, and they come in an abundance of kid-approved colors and patterns. These waterproof diapers feature soft elastic waist and leg bands, and they’re completely adjustable via snaps. Because they’re meant to be worn over regular diapers, they aren’t absorbent. However, they’re incredibly lightweight when wet, so they won’t weigh your baby down.  Best Newborn Diapers: Pampers Swaddlers Diapers The best diapers for a newborn baby are Pampers Swaddlers, which are a popular choice in many American hospitals. They feature a flexible yet absorbent liner that soaks up all the liquids, and they aren’t at all bulky. Additionally, these newborn diapers use a technology that pulls moisture away from the skin, making them ideal for preventing diaper rash.  Best Budget Diaper: Up & Up Diapers This cost-effective diaper is designed to keep your little one comfortable and dry. They are hypoallergenic, free of latex, lotion, and fragrance, and feature secure grip tabs for a snug fit. Up & Up Diapers have an umbilical cord cutout for newborns and utilize absorbent technology for minimal leakage.  Best Splurge Diaper: Coterie This high-quality, high-performing diaper is designed to be more absorbent than any other. It has a greater liquid capacity and fast-drying capacity than its competitors, making it an excellent option for both day and night use. Plus, Coterie diapers are third-party tested, dermatologist-approved, and made entirely of clean ingredients.  Best Diapers of 2023 Any parent will tell you that high-quality diapers are essential baby supplies. So, if

Introducing Homemade Baby Food To Your Little Ones

Believe it or not, your baby will begin transitioning to solid foods somewhere around the six-month mark, around the same time they’re adjusting their sleep. And while store-bought baby food is convenient, you don’t have to limit yourself to it.  Unlike adult food, the work required for homemade baby food is surprisingly minimal. All you need is the right tools and a bit of guidance — both of which are covered in this article — and making baby food at home will be a breeze.  When Should I Introduce My Baby to Solid Foods? According to Malina Malkani, a pediatric dietician, “most babies are developmentally ready to start solid foods between four and six months.” However, the American Academy of Pediatrics, World Health Organization, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all recommend waiting until about six months old.  Before transitioning to solids, make sure your baby is sitting up independently, grasping objects, showing interest in food, moving their head from side to side, and bringing larger objects to their mouths.  Benefits of Homemade Food Not only is homemade baby food relatively simple to make, but it’s incredibly cost-effective. More often than not, you can simply take food that you’re preparing for yourself and process it to a safe consistency for your baby.  Feeding young babies the same foods as adults is a great way to expose them to a variety of nutritious foods. Plus, you’ll always know exactly what your baby is eating, and you can make sure their food is free from the additives and preservatives sometimes found in store-bought food.  What Solid Foods Should I Start My Baby On? Malkani tells us that “it’s important to start with nutrient-dense, iron-rich foods” like puréed meats, salmon, tofu, mashed beans, or hummus. Other common first foods include mashed bananas, avocados, sweet potatoes, pureed peas, or carrots. Additionally, “it’s ideal to pair iron-rich foods with foods high in vitamin C to increase absorption,” says Malkani.  Some parents prefer to start with purées, while others opt for baby-led weaning. The latter involves introducing solid foods as appropriate finger foods — usually taken from the family table — for self-feeding. Some examples include slices of avocado, banana, scrambled eggs, or roasted sweet potatoes.  Whichever method you choose, make sure you’re watching your baby for signs of fullness. Also, avoid common choking hazards like whole grapes, nuts, popcorn, hotdogs, and big globs of peanut butter. You should also avoid honey until after their first birthday, as it contains spores that can cause infantile botulism. What You Need To Make Homemade Baby Food If you’re making baby food at home, we recommend investing in a blender, food processor, or food mill. Any of these devices will allow you to quickly turn a small amount of adult food — like carrots or broccoli — into delicious baby purées.  Of course, you can absolutely make baby food without the fancy equipment. Simply use a fork or potato masher to turn soft foods — like bananas, avocados, and baked sweet potatoes — into mashes for your baby.  How to Make Baby Food at Home As long as the food is in small, mushy pieces, it’ll be safe for your baby to eat. However, there are some additional tips to keep in mind:  Fruits and Vegetables We recommend thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables to remove any herbicides, pesticides, or dirt. If the produce is on the harder side — like potatoes, broccoli, or carrots — steam or boil them before mashing. On the other hand, if they’re naturally soft and mushy — like avocados, kiwis, and bananas — they can be mashed raw.  Purées To make baby-safe purees, simply put your fruit or vegetable in a blender and process until it reaches the desired consistency. If you didn’t remove the peels beforehand, strain the food to remove any choking hazards.  To store, simply transfer the purée to ice cube trays, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze until your baby is ready for them. When it’s time to eat, remove the purée from the freezer and thaw. Baby food can be served cold (but not frozen), at room temperature, or lukewarm. Grains and Cereals Cook grains according to package instructions. Then, purée or grind them. We recommend opting for single-grain, iron-enriched, or whole-grain varieties like whole-grain oat or whole-grain barley. And if your baby is new to solids, serve puréed grains with breast milk or formula to thin out the consistency. Meats and Poultry You can purée trimmed and skinned meats and poultry and serve alongside puréed vegetables. If you’re unsure where to start, we recommend chicken, turkey, beef, or lamb.  Tips for Making Baby Food at Home Want to ensure your homemade baby food endeavors are a success? Follow these simple tips: Add Flavor – the Right Way Because your baby’s taste buds are still developing, it’s best to serve unseasoned foods first. (Plus, this helps your baby develop a preference for a food’s authentic taste.) However, if you want to jazz up sweet potatoes, carrots, and other vegetables, you can eventually add healthy spices like cinnamon. You can also sweeten the pot by mixing in puréed apples or pears.  Practice Safe Feeding Habits Always wash your hands thoroughly before feeding or preparing food for your baby. Additionally, make sure their food doesn’t sit at room temperature for more than two hours.  Once your baby graduates to multi-ingredient foods or recipes, make sure all dairy products are pasteurized. (Raw dairy products can contain infection-causing bacteria.) And just like adult food, raw or undercooked eggs and poultry can harbor salmonella bacteria. How to Store Homemade Baby Food After preparing homemade baby food, place it in an airtight, single-serving container or covered ice cube tray. Then, store it in the fridge for one or two days or in the freezer for up to two months. To heat leftovers, simply warm them up on the stove. Serve purées lukewarm – not hot.  Should I Breastfeed

Why Reading To Your Kids At An Early Age Matters

As a mother, you wear many hats, from caregiver and teacher to nurturer and role model. In the midst of diaper changes, playdates, and mealtime battles, you may sometimes forget the immense impact of something as simple as reading your child a story. There are so many reasons reading to your young kids is important, from the ways it helps develop their brains to how it can help strengthen your relationship with them.  In this article we’ll delve into the cognitive, emotional, and social benefits that come with this habit and offer practical tips to make reading time an even more rewarding experience for both you and your little one. Let’s explore why making time for bedtime stories or setting up a cozy reading nook matters so much. Cognitive Benefits A big benefit of reading to your kids at an early age is the remarkable boost it provides to their vocabulary. When you read books to your children, you expose them to a wide range of words they might not encounter in everyday conversations, in turn enriching their vocabulary and language skills. One study found that young children whose parents read them five books per day enter kindergarten having heard about 1.4 million more words than kids who were never read to at home. Reading at an early age can also have a big impact on cognitive development in other ways. The process of listening to stories and following narratives stimulates the brain and the development of new neural pathways, which is especially important in the first 3 years of your child’s life.This early exposure to language and storytelling contributes to the growth of the areas of the brain responsible for comprehension, critical thinking, and problem-solving. Another one of the benefits of storytelling is that it can present children with different scenarios, problems, and diverse perspectives. As they get older, engaging with stories can encourage kids to think critically and analyze situations, as well as consider the consequences of characters’ actions. As they navigate these mental exercises, children develop valuable critical thinking skills that will serve them well throughout their lives. Academic Success One of the long-term advantages of reading to your kids at an early age and making it a critical part of their childhood education is the way it supports their literacy development–and these foundational skills are crucial for your child’s readiness to excel in formal education settings. To start, being read to exposes children to the sounds of language, enhancing their phonemic awareness, or the ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds in words. This skill is fundamental for learning to read and write.  As your children grow older and you continue to read to them, they take a more active interest in looking at the pages. It’s here where they can become familiar with the concepts of print, such as recognizing letters, words, and the direction of reading (left to right, top to bottom). This knowledge is vital for understanding how written language works. Additionally, the stronger vocabulary mentioned in the previous section can serve as a foundation for academic success. Children who have a broad vocabulary will be better equipped to comprehend complex texts, perform well in school, and excel in various subjects. Plus, regular reading sessions can help children build their attention spans. This skill is invaluable when it comes to focusing on school assignments, studying for exams, and completing complex projects. The impact of early reading goes beyond just preparing children for academic success in their early years. It also lays the groundwork for a positive attitude toward learning that can persist throughout their lives. Reading exposes children to a multitude of subjects, places, and ideas, igniting their curiosity and fostering a thirst for knowledge.  As they grow, this curiosity can lead them to explore a wide range of topics and become lifelong readers and learners. And when children are exposed to the joy of reading early on, they often develop a lasting love for books. This love for reading can both enrich their personal lives and encourage them to seek knowledge independently, making them more successful learners. Social and Emotional Benefits Reading to children isn’t just helpful for their brains. It also offers a myriad of social and emotional benefits, including helping you and your child bond.  Sharing a book with your child is an opportunity to connect emotionally. Bonding through reading can foster a sense of closeness and provide a secure, comforting environment that allows the child to feel loved and safe. Plus, a consistent reading routine can create an opportunity for regular bonding between you and your children. You can promote trust and strengthen your parent-child relationship through exploring stories and discussing the content together. Additionally, stories can help children understand emotions. Many children’s books feature characters experiencing a range of emotions, from happiness to sadness, anger to empathy. As children engage with these stories, they may begin to recognize and understand emotions, both their own and those of others. Finally, reading to your child can help promote social and emotional intelligence, as many stories involve moral lessons and ethical dilemmas. Reading stories that deal with issues such as kindness and honesty can help children develop strong moral compasses, as well as empathy and an understanding of the perspectives and feelings of others. Imagination and Creativity  The importance of reading can also be found in the way it nurtures imagination and creativity in your kids. As young minds are exposed to a wide range of stories, characters, and settings, their imagination blossoms, and their creative capacities expand. Stories often transport children to fantastical realms, allowing them to visualize vivid landscapes and characters in their minds. This imaginative exercise is the essence of creativity, as it encourages children to dream, visualize, and think beyond the boundaries of reality. Beyond fantasy, books are also windows to different worlds, historical periods, and cultures. They allow children to explore places they may never physically visit and experience events they may never encounter firsthand.

Prenatal Vitamins: Do I Need Them, And How Do I Choose?

Between morning sickness, food aversions, and unhealthy cravings, maintaining a nutritious diet throughout pregnancy can be challenging. And even if you are eating balanced meals, getting the necessary nutrients for pregnancy can be hard to do with diet alone.  According to John Hopkins Medicine, a healthy pregnancy requires at least 300 additional calories per day, contrary to the myth that you need to eat twice as much as you normally would. And those calories should come from a balanced diet of protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Pregnant moms should also try and keep sweets and fats to a minimum.  But what happens when you’re unable to get those additional nutrients your body is craving? Well, that’s where prenatal vitamins come in. “Anyone who is planning a pregnancy, is currently pregnant, or is breastfeeding should start taking prenatal vitamins,” says Ryann Kipping, RDN, of The Prenatal Nutritionist. Not only do prenatal vitamins prevent nutrient deficiencies, but research also suggests that they combat unwanted pregnancy complications.  Incorporating a prenatal into your routine is a phenomenal way to support both your body and your baby’s growth and development. Today’s article reveals what to look for in prenatal vitamins, as well as the best options on the market.  What’s a Prenatal Vitamin? Essentially, prenatal vitamins are multivitamins that are specifically formulated for pregnant women (as well as breastfeeding moms and women who are trying to conceive). Compared to regular vitamins, prenatal vitamins prioritize all the nutrients needed throughout pregnancy. For instance, they contain higher levels of iron and folic acid than a standard multivitamin.  It’s important to note that prenatal supplements cannot replace a healthy, balanced diet full of the best foods for pregnancy. But while Kipping instructs her clients to take a food-first approach to nutrition, she does admit that prenatal supplements fill in the gaps.  Vitamins Needed for Pregnancy  While all nutrients are important during pregnancy, certain ones play an important role in your baby’s growth and development. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, pregnant women need the following:  Top 8 Prenatal Vitamins For Pregnancy By Need Are you pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive? Lily Nichols, RDN, and Grace Goodwin Dwyer, RD recommend the following prenatal vitamins based on need: Most Comprehensive Formula: Full Well (formerly Full Circle Prenatal) This prenatal vitamin exceeds others in terms of nutrients included, bioavailable/bioactive forms, and dosage based on current research. There is extensive heavy metal testing performed on every batch (which is rare in the industry). And because Full Well vitamins contain an evidence-based dose of 4,000 IU vitamin D, women might not have to take an additional vitamin D supplement.  Note that this formula is not intended for women with an iron deficiency, as it does not contain any iron. And because it is a comprehensive formula, the full dosage is eight capsules per day.  Best Prenatal Vitamins for Busy Moms: Seeking Health ‘Prenatal Essentials’ This prenatal vitamin only requires two capsules per day, making it ideal for on-the-go moms with busier lifestyles. It contains most of the nutrients for pregnancy — including sufficient iodine — and it uses metabolically active forms of folate, B12, and other nutrients. It also has methyl-free versions available for women who experience adverse symptoms (like anxiety) from too many methylated B vitamins.  Note that this prenatal supplement does not contain choline, and it only contains 1,000 IU of vitamin D.  Best Powder Prenatal: Seeking Health Powder: ‘Optimal Prenatal w/ Plant-Based Protein’ If you’re unable to take capsules, Seeking Health Powder’s Optimal Prenatal with Plant-Based Protein is a great option. Not only does it exceed most prenatal vitamins in terms of nutrients added and bioavailability, but the addition of protein helps manage nausea and/or aversions. This prenatal vitamin also contains an extra dose of amino acids to support fetal growth and maternal metabolism.  Best Chewable Tablet: Seeking Health Prenatal Essentials Chewable This chewable tablet is one of the best prenatal vitamins for its nutrients included, bioavailability, and research-based dosage. It also has a surprisingly good taste! Note that this prenatal does not contain iron, and it has slightly lower concentrations of nutrients compared to other chewable gummies.  Best Prenatal Gummy for Nausea and Aversions: Smarty Pants ‘Prenatal Complete’ Smarty Pants’ ‘Prenatal Complete’ is one of the few prenatal gummies that uses bioavailable forms of nutrients – including methylfolate. Plus, it contains a small amount of omega-3s. However, this prenatal vitamin does contain quite a bit of sugar and only the bare minimum quantities of vitamins (which is what makes it so palatable).  Most Affordable Prenatal Vitamin: The Honest Company Love the Bump Prenatal Vitamin This prenatal vitamin offers the essential vitamins for pregnancy at about half of the cost. And unlike most affordable prenatal vitamins, Honest’s Love the Bump Prenatal Vitamin has methylated folate (instead of just folic acid).  This formula contains a pretty hefty dose of iron, so keep that in mind if you’re prone to constipation. It also lacks choline, so you’ll need to take that separately.   Best for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Thorne Basic Prenatal Thorne’s Basic Prenatal is formulated to reflect the specific nutrient needs of pregnancy and breastfeeding. It provides choline folate to support fetal brain and spinal cord development, as well as additional calcium and vitamin D for breastfeeding needs. Additionally, this prenatal vitamin uses highly absorbable forms of nutrients. It’s designed to be gentle on the stomach, as it contains Ferrous Bisglycinate – a form of iron that is less likely to cause constipation.  Best Vegan-Friendly Prenatal Vitamins: Natalist Prenatal Daily Packets Natalist’s Prenatal Daily Packets are doctor-formulated, vegan-friendly, and designed to help round out your pregnancy diet. They provide the essential vitamins for pregnancy — including iron, omega-3 DHA, and vitamin D — without any artificial ingredients. And they come in convenient daily packages (each pack contains five capsules), which is ideal for women who have morning sickness or difficulty swallowing pills.  Note that these prenatal vitamins aren’t tested for purity and potency by a third-party lab. 

Teaching Your Kids by Example: Why It’s Important, the Benefits, and 4 Real Tips

Have you ever considered that one of the most powerful tools in your parenting toolkit might be the example you set? According to the American Psychological Association, kids learn good and bad behaviors by watching, listening, and imitating. In this parenting guide, we’ll explore the incredible impact of leading by example (aka role model parenting), the science behind it, and the long-term benefits it offers. Plus, read until the end for four practical tips to help you master this essential parenting technique. Why Teaching Kids by Example Is Effective You’ve probably heard the saying, “Monkey see, monkey do.” Well, it turns out children take this idiom quite seriously. Kids are natural mimics and learn by observing the adults in their lives. I learned this very important lesson when my 1-year-old started yelling “Hey, stop it!” at our dogs whenever they barked at the door–guess who does that?  From the moment they enter this world, our kids are on a mission to soak in all the information they can. Studying adults is how they learn to navigate the world, discover their values, and develop their understanding of right and wrong—which ultimately shines into their personality and how they relate with themselves and others. The Science Behind Why Kids Learn by Example The science behind this observational learning phenomenon is fascinating, too. Children have this incredible ability to internalize, absorb, and imitate the behaviors they observe.  In a widely recognized study, often referred to as the “Bobo Doll Experiment,” researchers observed that young children mirrored the behavior they witnessed in adults. For example, when kids saw an adult displaying aggression towards the inflatable “Bobo Doll,” they exhibited aggressive behavior when interacting with the doll. On the other hand, when children witnessed adults treating the doll with kindness, they were more inclined to display acts of kindness themselves. Essentially, we as adults are doing much more than teaching kids what to do and how to do it—we’re teaching them how to “be” while doing it and instilling values, attitudes, and habits that will shape their character as they grow. Long-Term Benefits Of Teaching Kids by Example The influence of parents who lead by example extends far beyond the present moment. It has a lasting imprint on a child’s future, molding them into responsible, compassionate, and flourishing individuals. Let’s dive into the many benefits of teaching your kids by example. Benefits of teaching kids by example: 4 Practical Ways To Lead By Example As A Parent Children are like little sponges, soaking up everything they see and hear. They learn by imitating and watching the people around them. And as parents, you have the incredible power to be their positive role models. So, how can you lead by example effectively? Now that we’ve established the importance and long-term benefits of teaching your kids by example, it’s time to see some practical tips to help you put this into action. Here are four tried-and-true techniques from the American Psychological Association. 1. Learn to manage your own stress and control anger Stress and anger are a part of life and something your children will encounter as they grow. By showing them how to manage these feelings in an effective way, you’re giving them a valuable life skill. Take a deep breath, go for a walk, or engage in a relaxing activity when you’re feeling upset. When your child sees you coping calmly, they’ll be more likely to adopt these same techniques themselves. 2. Talk to others about your feelings and ideas in a respectful way Teaching your children the art of respectful communication is a gift that will benefit them throughout their lives. When venting your feelings and ideas in your day-to-day life, try to do so in a calm and respectful manner. It’s also important to include your child. If you’re feeling annoyed and raise your voice in front of your little one, get down on their level and talk them through what happened and how you’re feeling—be sure to acknowledge how you should have handled this better. This shows your child the importance of speaking courteously, which they’ll carry into their own interactions. 3. Solve problems and disputes using words, not violence Conflict is a part of life, but it can be resolved without resorting to violence or aggressive behavior. Show your children how to use words to express themselves and work through disagreements.  Encourage them to talk about their feelings and find compromises with friends or siblings—just as you do when resolving issues at home. Demonstrate how to solve disagreements calmly and respectfully. Then, your children will eventually learn effective conflict-resolution skills by your parenting through actions strategy. 4. Talk to yourself aloud about a problem and a solution A very subtle yet effective way to teach kids by example is talking to yourself aloud about how to navigate a problem in front of your children. This inner dialogue demonstrates problem-solving and decision-making, which children will internalize. By witnessing your literal thought process, kids will learn to approach challenges with a thoughtful and solution-oriented mindset. Takeaway: Teaching Your Kids by Example Teaching your kids by example is a powerful method that can shape their character and values. By modeling behavior you expect, you can lay the foundation for your children’s bright future. Remember, it’s not about being a perfect parent—it’s about showing your children that making mistakes and learning from them is a part of life. Rest assured, the little eyes that watch you will grow into an amazing adult.

How to Start Potty Training Your Child (5 Tips from Seasoned Moms)

While potty training can be exciting, it can sometimes be a tad daunting. Potty accidents, extra loads of laundry, maybe even frequent wake-ups during the night–potty training can be a lot, to say the least. That’s why we’ve gathered valuable insights and tips from seasoned moms who have been through it all, sharing their tried-and-true methods for successfully accomplishing the potty training journey. Whether you’re a first-time parent or a veteran mom just looking for fresh ideas, get ready to be armed with five practical tips to make this process smoother and more rewarding for you and your child. How to Know When to Start Potty Training While you can start potty training at any age, most experts recommend following a child’s lead. “If they start initiating diaper changes, taking off a dirty diaper, hiding to eliminate in their diaper, looking uncomfortable when it’s wet, then it’s time,” says Kate Fritz, MA, BCBA, LBA, a board-certified behavior analyst and early intervention clinical manager who’s helped dozens of toddlers with potty training. Now, let’s get into tangible tips for this complete potty training guide. 5 Potty Training Tips from Vetted Moms Tip #1: Avoid wet diapers This simple yet effective tip helps little ones grasp the concept of staying dry and feeling uncomfortable when wet. “If it even had one little mushy spot, it was changed immediately. I think that since she was used to the feeling of being dry all of the time, being wet was something that would have been super uncomfortable,” says Nicole C. Tip #2: Set potty alarms Adult bladders are considerably larger than children’s, so we can go longer between potty breaks. But sometimes, that makes it harder to remember how soon our kids need to go. Timed reminders are great for this. “I set the ‘potty alarm’ on my phone. Every hour or so, the alarm played, and the boys knew it was time to go. Eventually, they would say… ‘potty alarm’ when they needed to go,” says Jami C. Another mother, Tifani R., even mentioned setting an alarm every 15, 30, and 60 minutes to build up learning the sensation of having to go. This can help teach kids to get to know their bodies better while still having a timer as a backup. Tip #3: Go naked One unique potty training tip moms find success with is letting their child go nude at home. “We let Presley run around naked and the first time she peed on herself, she hated it and that helped her realize she needed to pee on the potty,” says Amy J. Another mother, Xia A., agrees. “I let William run naked. Crazy as that sounds. But he didn’t like the idea of peeing on himself,” she noted.  Allowing your little one to roam without diapers or pants can help them become more aware of their bodily functions and make the connection between the urge to go and using the potty. Plus, it minimizes the need for constant clothing changes–making the potty training journey a bit easier for moms. And another pro tip? “Don’t give in to diapers or pull-ups at all.. you may have to stay home for a week or so and get over the hump,” says Staci H. Whether it’s a three-day period or 2 weeks, keep going! Tip #4: Positive reinforcement As a parent, you probably already know your child loves praise–especially when learning something new. Amber C., a mom of two, suggests lots of positive reinforcement during their potty training journey. This creates a positive association with a new skill, making it more likely for them to repeat the behavior. Plus, don’t be afraid to get your childcare team and older children involved in the encouragement. “All the other kids in his daycare were really supportive and would cheer for him when he would go–there were also a couple other boys toilet training too and they would buddy up together,” says mother Amy S. And it doesn’t just stop at the porcelain throne. “We took him to the store and he picked out his “cool” undies and I cheered him on when he put them on!” says Brittany N. This simple approach not only boosts your child’s confidence but also strengthens your bond by celebrating achievements together during this critical developmental milestone. Tip #5: Give elimination communication a try Don’t worry, this method isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. Many moms find elimination communication much less time-consuming and cheaper than traditional potty training. One mom, Sarah F., even said this method was much less stressful for her. From birth, babies instinctively do not want to soil themselves. They’ll even signal cues right before they have to “go” to avoid this. The idea with elimination communication is to learn their cue and associate that feeling with sitting on the potty. Look for cues like squinting, grunting, looking down, etc. Every child is different, but one thing’s certain–they will have some sort of cue. Some parents will also pair going potty with a noise such as a “hiss” or a “hum” to further build that communication connection. The Bottom Line It’s important to remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to potty training. Each child is unique, and what works for one mom might not work for another. So, take these insights as guidance, and don’t be disheartened by setbacks or challenges. Whether your child is 8 months of age or 4 years, the key is finding what works best for you and your family’s needs. Embrace the potty process with patience, love, and flexibility, and before you know it, you’ll ditch the diapers and never look back.