Outreach Committee Parents postpartum Pregnancy

Is My Baby Ready for Solids?

Is My Baby Ready For Solids?

The golden rule used be introduce baby to enriched white rice cereal and/or Karo syrup (yes Karo syrup) sometimes as early as 2-3 months. Perhaps you have even been told by your pediatrician or mom friend to put a little rice cereal in your baby’s bottle to help them fall asleep. If you’ve been told this by a friend a Doctor you are not alone.


In reality, a 2010 study found adding rice cereal to an infant’s diet shortened the length of time a baby slept during the night.  Researchers also began to notice a correlation between starting solids early and a depressed immune system along with a multitude of digestive issues in those babies.


Dr. Nathan Wall, pediatric Chiropractor in Draper, Ut writes,

Introducing solid foods is a very impactful step in a child’s life. This step stands to influence many other systems in their body for quite some time, two of which are the gut and immune system. Having practiced for years in the pediatric world, I can say that too many parents are misinformed and confused when it comes to this process either by poor information from their other health care providers or even by current trends.

I sometimes have to deliver the hard news to parents that just because a child can grasp food and bring it to their mouth, this does not mean that their neuro-gut-immune system is organized or even primed for such an introduction.

I want parents to understand as Dr. Kelly Brogan puts so eloquently, “Food is not just fuel, it is information. Literally, it puts the form into your body.” So, when a parent gives their child a bowl full of rice cereal (empty, nutrient lacking, simple carbohydrate) what form are they building in their child?


The American Academy for Pediatrics and the World Health Organization both agree babies should avoid solids until at least 6 months old (no juice, no cereal) For many babies 6 months is the minimum age to introduce solids and many babies benefit from waiting closer to 8 months before solids are introduced. It can difficult to determine when a baby’s gut health is ready for solids and so many parents and providers look for developmental milestones as a gage for adding solids into their child’s diet.


Before reaching for a jar of baby food or a bite of bread from your plate, ask yourself these questions:



  • Can baby sit up well without support?


Sitting up without support doesn’t mean can my baby hold his or her head up while sitting in their Bumbo chair. Or sitting up while sitting in a baby bouncer or walker toy. If you set your baby on the floor can they sit up well unassisted for an extended period of time?

  1.     Has baby lost the tongue-thrust reflex and does not automatically push solids out of his mouth with his tongue?

If you give your child a small bit of avocado or sweet potato does their tongue push out against their teeth or does their tongue stay back allowing them to properly swallow their food? Babies will naturally have foods they like but watch their tongue to effectively make this judgment call.


  1. Is baby ready and willing to chew?

Some children have teeth sooner than others. So don’t let the appearance or nonexistence of baby teeth sway your mind on this milestone.


  1. Is baby developing a “pincer” grasp, where he picks up food or other objects between thumb and forefinger? Using the fingers and scraping the food into the palm of the hand (palmar grasp) does not substitute for pincer grasp development.

A great way to judge this milestone is to set small objects in front of your child. This could be diced sweet potatoes, peas or a favorite toy. Notice how your child uses his or her hands to pick up the object. Do you try a pick them up using their entire hand or do they reach for those small objects effectively with their thumb and forefinger?


When Baby Isn’t Ready for Solids

If you’ve gone through these questions and your 6 month isn’t quite meeting these points there is no need to push for solids. I remember with my first child I was a little eager on the solids. Around 5 ½ months without testing to see if my child was actually meeting these milestones I began to introduce solids. Interestingly during those first few months of solids, he had an increase in diaper rash, undigested foods in his diapers and began to become more cranky and hard to soothe as an infant. In contrast with my daughter, we waited a few weeks longer before trying solids and looked at her developmental milestones, not just her age. Unlike her brother, she was digesting foods better and didn’t have the same diaper rash concerns or crankiness. Coincidence??? Perhaps, but now knowing the research that supports delaying solids it makes sense to me.


Table Food, Purees & Where to Begin

Just walk down any baby food aisle and the whole process can seem overwhelming, baby food processors, special food puree tools etc. I reached out to Karen Folcik, Utah local, mom of two and author of the award-winning book Happy Tummies- A Cookbook for New Mammas to see what her suggestions were. Folcik shares,


When your baby is ready for solids, there is no need to go out and buy any special foods or equipment for your little one. You can just feed your baby what you already have at home! Most family dinners can easily be tailored to fit your little one’s nutritional needs, and studies have shown that babies are less picky when it comes to new foods when they are allowed to eat foods prepared for the whole family. It’s as easy as simply removing baby’s portion before adding salt or other spices, then mashing, pureeing or shredding their portion of the meal.

So, if you are making chicken for dinner, baby can have some chicken! If you have bananas or avocados at home, you can choose one of those, they make great starter foods for babies. The key is to choose mild flavors that will be easy for your baby to digest, and then serve it in a way that is suitable for a little one who doesn’t have many (or any) teeth. For instance, for bananas, which are a favorite starter food of mine, you just simply peel, mash with a fork until its completely smooth, then serve a tiny bit on your (cleaned) finger or a soft baby spoon. Nearly all fresh, natural foods are suitable for babies, as long as they are cooked properly, if needed, and are served in a way that baby can eat it without a risk of choking.


For more resources on introducing solids, recipes, weaning your baby, baby led weaning, making your own baby food and more, feel free to visit these pages.


Le Leche League- Local chapters throughout the U.S on supporting parents from breastfeeding to transitioning to solids and weaning.

Kelly Mom– Archive of articles on when to introduce solids, offering water, evidenced-based research on optimal time and more.

Baby Led Weaning– Blog articles and recipes for those who choose or want to incorporate baby led weaning into their transition to solids.


From the Author:

Alyssa Moulton is a Certified Hypno-doula who loves supporting her clients from pregnancy through the postpartum time. If you were to describe her in three words she would say calm, empowering and authentic. She is passionate about helping each client feel empowered and supported in their birthing decisions. When not serving as a Doula, Alyssa loves teaching youth and adult cooking classes from Healthy eating and meal planning to homemade pastries and baking themed birthday parties and loves seeing her student’s learn new skills and feel empowered in the kitchen! She also hosts a bi-monthly Mom’s Circle in Herriman as a way for Mom’s to connect, grow and live in community with each other.  Interested in learning more? Contact Alyssa at


About our contributors:

Karen Folcik is the author of the award-winning Happy Tummies: A Cookbook For New Mamas, which shares recipes for homemade baby food using everyday ingredients you already have at home. Karen Folcik has her Master’s in Social work and was a child and family social worker for many years before deciding to stay home full time after the birth of her first son. She lives near Salt Lake City with her wonderful husband, two awesome children, and one rambunctious cat.

For more information about how to start solid foods, how to feed your baby for the first time, and recipes for feeding your baby foods you already have at home, check out Karen’s book, available on Amazon, and online wherever books are sold.


Dr. Nathan Wall is a family Chiropractor with a strong emphasis in pediatrics and prenatal care, as well as significant training and experience working with children with neuro-developmental disorders. His focus is on the proper function of the nervous system as it relates to the coordination of the body’s natural physiological functions. He strives to enable his community to become empowered with their own health.

Birth Doulas Diversity Outreach Committee Parents Postpartum Doulas

Free to Breastfeed: Voices of Black Mothers, Book Review


Free to Breastfeed: Voices of Black Mothers
by Jeanine Valrie Logan & Anayah Sangoele-Ayoka

As doulas, part of our role is to provide general information, tips, and help with getting our clients started breastfeeding. It is important for us to take into account the societal and cultural factors that could present possible hurdles for our clients who choose to breastfeed. That is why I was so excited to read Free to Breastfeed: Voices of Black Mothers. The book (available on Kindle or paperback) is a collection of stories, essays, poems, and email conversations from a wide variety of black mothers. They all share their unique experiences and perspectives regarding their personal breastfeeding journeys, with all the ups, downs, joys and challenges that most women who breastfeed eventually feel. The book is broken up into six chapters covering topics such as the legacy of breastfeeding, myths and barriers, troubleshooting problems, stories of empowerment, and the eventual ending of the breastfeeding relationship. The book ends with a collection of useful terms and resources, as well as profiles for each of the contributors.

The authors compiled all of the stories into this book to “act as a starting point for discussions within our communities, a steadfast support in those difficult moments, and a self-empowering guide when discussing one’s breastfeeding goals with family, friends, partners, and health care providers…because breastfeeding IS the revolution.”


The Health Implications of Not Breastfeeding, and How Black Mothers are Disproportionally Affected

Statistically, African-American mothers are the least likely ethnic group to breastfeed, and if they do breastfeed it is often only for a short time. The authors point out that there is a shortage of breastfeeding support groups specifically targeted to black women, as well as a “lack of trained lactation consultants, specialists, educators and counselors in black communities.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that black women breastfeed at a rate of 54%, compared to white women at 74% (source). Black women under the age of 45 are also at a higher risk for developing breast cancer compared to white women, (source) and the authors point out “that breastfeeding not only reduces one’s risk for developing breast cancer, but risk is also exponentially reduced the longer one breastfeeds. This information is major for black women who die from breast cancer at a rate four times greater than white women.” (source)

Black Women and Breastfeeding: A Complicated History 

With the clear health benefit to breastfeeding, as well as the emotional benefits of bonding with one’s child through the breastfeeding relationship, one may wonder why more black women don’t breastfeed. There is a complex history surrounding black women and breastfeeding, and for some women this plays into their decision not to breastfeed.

A “Wet Nurse” is a woman who is hired to nurse and sometimes care for another woman’s child. Wet nurses have been used throughout history, but the author tells us that wet nurses “are very significant to Black American history. Black female slaves were readily used as wet nurses for their owners’ children, often at the sacrifice of their own children.” Because of this, some black women feel a complicated mix of feelings around breastfeeding. The author of the blog post Breastfeeding While Black: Let’s Normalize It also shares more reasons why black women may not breastfeed, including “lack of general knowledge, few hospital resources, limited peer support, lack of family/spousal support, and insufficient maternity leave.”


What Can We As Doulas Do?

As doulas, each of us has the power to help black women in our communities breastfeed if they choose to. We can reach out to offer support, education, resources and help clear up myths and misconceptions about breastfeeding. We can connect clients with resources specifically geared toward black mothers, starting with the resource list below. Also, please share this blog post on social media to help spread the word about the need for more breastfeeding education and support for black mothers.



  1. Motherlove podcast: featuring the authors of the book
  2. Black Breastfeeding Week: Annual celebration of Black mothers who breastfeed
  3. Black Breastfeeding Week Facebook page 
  4. Black Women Do Breastfeed: Website featuring a blog, resources, and breastfeeding stories
  5. Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association: Providing resources and support to African-American breastfeeding families
  6. Mocha Manual: pregnancy and parenting lifestyle website and blog for African-Americans
  7. Black Breastfeeding 360: A comprehensive multi-media content library of resources, perspectives and voices of the Black breastfeeding experience
  8. African-American Breastfeeding Alliance: Empowering Black families to breastfeed their children
  9. Uzazi Village: Providing support groups for breastfeeding mothers
  10. R.O.S.E. (Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere): Programs that include breastfeeding clubs for moms
  11. Blacktating: Breastfeeding news and views from a mom of color
  12. Mocha Moms: a support group for stay at home mothers of color with information on childrearing and other family topics
  13. Black Women Breastfeeding: A Multi-Generational Story”, short YouTube video
  14. The African-American Breastfeeding Project”, YouTube mini-documentary
  15. Utah Breastfeeding Coalition: To collaboratively support, protect, promote, and celebrate breastfeeding in the State of Utah
  16. Utah Department of Health Breastfeeding Resources
  17. La Leche League of Utah


Beth Hardy, SCMT, MT-BC, PCD(DONA)
Music Therapist | Birth Doula | Postpartum Doula 


Birth Doulas Business Events Outreach Committee UDA Membership

February Mentor Meeting Highlights

Last night was our very first mentor meeting of 2017 and boy was it good! The topic was “Social Media and Your Doula Business,” something I’m sure we all can appreciate. It is basically impossible to have a successful business these days without a strong online presence, and this can no longer be accomplished with just a website. Social media has given marketing and advertising a whole new face and it’s imperative to understand at least the basics.

I, for one, am grateful that the Utah Doula Association shows how much it values its members by having monthly mentor meetings. The UDA wants to support you as you build and grow your doula business. These meetings are a fabulous opportunity to learn from the more seasoned doulas and – in this month’s case – learn  from Social Marketing pro April de Haan.

With her adorable Australian accent April explained how she actually knew very little about what a doula is and what we do. But you would never know that with how beautifully she presented information to us on branding, best times to post, how many characters are recommended and even how many hashtags are appropriate. Who knew it was such a science? After studying and working in social marketing for 12 years, April certainly knows the ins and outs of social media.

She made us great little pamphlets to take home. The first few pages went through Instagram and Twitter. (Did you know retweeting too often can be a bad thing? Yea, neither did I.) Image sizes are crucial to your posts as well, which was well covered in the Best Practice table. This table featured Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Image size, text length, frequency of posts, links/hashtags and videos were all covered in one convenient little page to reference.

Clearly, in order to post anything you must have content: something to talk about and engage your followers. It’s not always easy to be creative, but taking time each week to brainstorm is so important to always have new data. Your followers and potential clients want to see that you are active. They want to see you posting, informing, creating dialogue and engaging.

With this in mind, April outlined the content pyramid for us. The base of your pyramid is information. You want to be posting in this category about 3 times/week. Next is conversation; aim to start discussions 2 times/week. The third tier is entertainment, which should be done weekly. Funny videos or memes are perfectly acceptable and encouraged! The fourth tier is sales. Limit this to 1 or 2 times a month. Let potential clients know about any specials you’re offering, but don’t bog them down. And finally, at the top of the pyramid is teaching. Are you in a position to teach a monthly class? Can you give a presentation at an expo or Positive Birth meetup? These are great ways to let people know you are active and passionate in your field.

All of the social media channels offer insights into your page. How many views are you getting? Who is the majority of your audience? How many clicks to your website? Learning how to use these tools can be invaluable when it comes to attracting the right clients for you.

Ask any of the doulas who attended this meeting and I am sure they will all tell you how excited they were to go home and work on some of the things we learned. Be sure to join us at our next mentor meeting on Saturday, March 4 where we will have an experienced doula panel to answer all your questions about doula work! Learn more here. 

If you are interested in getting in touch with April de Haan:

(435) 640-5030                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Twitter: @apesicles                                                                                                                                          LinkedIn:

Melissa Olson-                                                                                                                               Birth Doula                                                                                                                                Bundles of Joy                                                                                                                              Doula Services




Birth Doulas Diversity Events Outreach Committee

How the New UDA Outreach Committee Will Rock 2017

Melissa Olson – Birth Doula Bundles of Joy Doula Services 

The Utah Doula Association is starting 2017 strong with over 130 members. These amazing doulas are as diverse as the women and families they serve. Utah’s birth community has grown and developed in such a way that it prompted a change within the UDA.  Utah families need a safe place to come to know doulas, their philosophies, talents, backgrounds, passions, skills, and compassion. The Utah Doula Association is excited to meet this need in 2017 with the new Outreach Committee.

“The Outreach Committee is my lovechild.  I dreamt it up in my brain, honed its image through conversation and commiseration, and mapped out its framework under the glow of my laptop computer in the wee hours of the morning.  The women who have stepped up to the plate in its first year are true leaders and imaginaries.” –Rachel Winsley, 2017 president elect

The goal of the Outreach Committee is not only to present resources and services to marginalized and under-served families but also to highlight the amazing group of doulas we have at the UDA and what doulas of the UDA can do for you.

Our goal and plan are to publish weekly blog posts that are designed to help Utah families get to know doulas with active memberships in the Utah Doula Association. The Outreach Committee will showcase the benefits of hiring a doula that is affiliated with our organization, offer helpful tips and information with regard to pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. We will strive to provide well-rounded information to readers of all backgrounds and identities and share uplifting stories for all.

The first week of the month we will recap local events organized by the Utah Doula Association. Every month there is an opportunity to develop professionally and personally at an event sponsored, organized and facilitated by the UDA. These events include mentor meetings, the UDA New Year’s Dinner in January, the UDA Spring Conference in April, a summer potluck in July and the UDA Fall Retreat in November. Find a calendar of our events here and be sure to follow our Facebook page here for more details.

The second week of the month will be a blogpost especially for expectant mothers. The skills and knowledge of UDA doulas will be highlighted as doulas within our organization guest blog on various topics ranging from commonly asked questions about pregnancy, birth stories, personal experiences with infertility, recipes, video testimonials, etc.

The third week of the month will focus on the postpartum period. The postpartum period presents a special challenge for mothers. Will they breastfeed? Are they going to work outside of the home? What is on the other side of postpartum depression? What do I eat when I don’t have time for anything?  These are issues that will be discussed with care and compassion by birth workers who are enthusiastic about supporting parents during the fourth trimester and beyond.

The fourth topic of the month will be that of diversity. Issues facing minorities and marginalized families will be our focus. We live in such a diverse world and it is our goal to better understand birthing couples in Utah and how we can connect with and support one another.

The Outreach Committee of the Utah Doula Association is committed to providing a balanced approach and safe place to come for information. We are excited to have formed this new committee within the Utah Doula Association Board and look forward to publishing informative material that will benefit families in the mountain west.