custom baby board books

Personalized Baby Board Books

Being a teacher, I obviously am always pushing my kids to read as much possible. Reading does wonderful things to help kids grow and learn! Naturally, we are always searching for books to read to Greyson and he always love reading them! Every time he sees a dog in a book, he kisses it. It’s adorable.

personalized baby board books

I was so pumped to discover these adorable personalized baby board books from Artifact Uprising. We’ve gotten personalized baby books in the past and they’re so cute, but what I loved most about these custom baby books are that they are BOARD books! Greyson can easily turn the pages without ripping them.

I was able to design two baby board books with Artifact Uprising. The first book was a book titled My Favorite People and we added pictures of G’s grandparents, aunts and uncles, and of course his puppy sisters as well. (He always kisses their page and I melt each time.)

personalized baby board books
personalized baby board books

The second custom baby board book that I designed was a bunch of different outfits that Greyson has worn because I wanted him to be able to use the book to help teach him his colors. I also like that he can start to recognize himself in the books. Looking back at the pictures, I can’t believe how small he was and how much he’s grown!

custom baby board books
custom baby board books

The design process was super simple. I was able to upload pictures to their website from “my photos” on my computer, insert them into the template, and start designing! I customized the page colors, words, and even the spine of the book. I’m so in love with these baby board books and I could not be happier with how they turned out!

Artifact Uprising is currently offering 15% off of orders. Use code GIFTJOY at checkout! Order by December 15th to receive your book in time for the holidays! 🙂

custom baby board books
custom baby board books

**Thanks to Artifact Uprising for sending us these books!

Coterie Diapers – A Company That Gives Back

Okay, so I’m all about the latest baby essentials. I feel like there are so many great brands out there to try and I get excited each time I discover a new company. When Coterie reached out and asked if they could send me some samples, I couldn’t wait! We are always looking to try out new diapers, and when companies have an amazing mission, like Coterie, I get even more excited!

What I LOVE about Coterie diapers most of all is that they not only help to give back to those in need, but they have also partnered with NativeEnergy to fund renewable energy programs. Every diaper has an environmental impact, so thinking about the future of our world is of the utmost importance. Coterie also gives back to the community. They partnered with Baby2Baby to take any unused diapers you have and donate them to families in need! What a fantastic idea!

Now, the quality of the diaper. The first thing I noticed when I opened our package was how incredibly soft these diapers are. They are by far the softest diaper I have touched to date. I love that they are so soft because some diapers are pretty scratchy to the touch. Greyson also has sensitive skin, so when I put certain diapers on him, he gets little red marks on his skin, which I don’t like. These diapers have are hypoallergenic and free of all the bad stuff like phthlates, latex, chlorine, etc, so I’m a happy mama!

coterie diapers
coterie diapers

Greyson drinks a LOT of milk before nap time and bedtime. We had a ton of issues early on with diaper leaks and blowouts and it was just terrible! Coterie’s diapers have kept Greyson nice and dry, so they are definitely absorbent. They fit nicely around his legs and give him enough coverage in the rear to prevent blowouts 🙂

Something that is super cute about Coterie is the diapers came with a little black and white sticker sheet. You can use the stickers to decorate the front and let babe be creative!

Thanks Coterie for the diapers!

exclusive pumping

My Journey With Exclusive Pumping

journey with exclusive pumping

Breastfeeding was always in my “plan” as a new mother. For some reason, I assumed everything would go just swimmingly, I would have no problems, and I’d nurse my son until he was ready to wean. I read all the books, read all the blogs, watched all the videos, etc. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

Greyson latched right after birth. He fed like a champ all day long and was even cluster feeding in the hospital. The nurses were amazed at how naturally breastfeeding came to us and I felt like I was on top of the world. We went home, feeling confident… until our first night alone.

Greyson was inconsolable. He wouldn’t latch and more or less cried himself to sleep after HOURS. Jeff and I were beside ourselves. We didn’t know what to do or what was wrong. Was he hungry? Tired? Wet? In pain? We didn’t know whether to drive back to the hospital or whether he had colic. As sleep deprived, new parents, we were at a loss.

I called the pediatrician first thing in the morning, as Greyson hadn’t had any wet diapers in 12 hours. The first thing he told me was to buy was Pedialyte to make sure he wouldn’t get dehydrated. The second thing he told me to buy was formula and supplement my breast feedings with a 1/4 to 1/2 ounce.

“Formula? Why? I’m breastfeeding,” I thought. I’ve always believed in fed is best, so although I was sad that he wasn’t getting breastmilk from me, the only thing I cared about was his health and well-being. So I drove to the store, picked up what the doctor ordered and came home to feed my baby. Let me tell you, that kid DRANK. That sweet innocent newborn was so hungry and that’s when I felt terrible.

I knew my milk had come in, but apparently, it wasn’t enough. This kid was eating triple time in order to make up for the weight he lost since birth, which apparently was a good amount because he hadn’t gained any back. The pediatrician was concerned with his weight gain and encouraged the supplemental feedings in order to ensure he would gain weight.

The more formula I supplemented with, the more he wanted. It took the edge off the empty breast feedings and satiated him. However, being a new mom with no prior breastfeeding experience, I didn’t realize that every formula feed hurt my supply. To this day, I still think, “I could have breastfed more often, I wish I knew about pumping after feeding to increase supply, I wish I knew about power pumping, I should have just had him on a strict 2 hour feeding schedule,” and it eats me up inside.

After a few weeks of supplementing, Greyson started to refuse both the breast and the bottle. He would scream bloody murder every time I tried to feed him. I knew he was hungry. Considering what he had been eating and what he was eating now was next to nothing. Greyson would pull away from the bottle with every other suck and writhe in pain. He would burp or spit up and begin to cry. He would arch his back while he was feeding and even after. Something was up. I began to Google his symptoms (what every new mother does, but also what every new mother shouldn’t do because Google can be evil) and it appeared he might have acid reflux.

I called the doctor and described Greyson’s symptoms. He thought he might have acid reflux as well, yet another hurdle in our breastfeeding journey. He told me to supplement any bottle feedings with a teaspoon of baby oatmeal in order to thicken his feeds. In doing so, the hopes was he would keep the milk down, so it would stop burning his esophagus when he would spit up.

It didn’t work. Greyson would scream every time I tried to feed him. The more I tried to breastfeed him, the more he resisted. I was heartbroken. I called the pediatrician again and we went in for another visit. After checking him over, he decided it was time to start a low dose of medication. We had to get it from a special compounding pharmacy because Greyson needed an alcohol free medication, so it wouldn’t burn his esophagus even more.

We tried the medicine and I kid you not within a matter of days, he was sleeping 4 hour chunks through the night and eating normally. YAY! I was so happy. However, now every time I tried to breastfeed, he was traumatized. He had begun to associate breastfeeding with being in pain and so he refused me more and more. The lactation consultants told me that if he was going to resist me when I offered the breast to just “pump” and don’t worry about it. And honestly, that was probably the worst advice I received because then he stopped latching all together…

This is why I started exclusively pumping. Exclusive pumping wasn’t the vision that I had for myself. Exclusive pumping wasn’t a choice. Exclusive pumping isn’t easy. I still beat myself up every day thinking, “If I had just done this or that,” I wouldn’t be in this position. My son has been on a combination of breastmilk and formula for the past 11 months. I pumped 6-10 times a day for this kid and if that isn’t love, I don’t know what is! Now, my supply has dwindled to the point where I am pumping a total of 2 ounces per day. My exclusive pumping journey is coming to an end for Greyson and even as I type this, I get teary eyed. I know a lot of people don’t make it this long due to a variety of reasons and I should give myself a pat on the back, but ultimately, I still feel like I failed.

I am very thankful for the formula. The formula helped my son to remain healthy and helped provide him with the nutrients he needed when I couldn’t. My son is now in the 98th percentile for both height and weight. He is in size 18 months to 2T clothing at 10.5 months old. I know that the breastmilk I was able to provide him with was a huge part in that, but the extra formula he received was what helped him to grow to his full potential.

I am hopeful for any future children I have that the knowledge and experience I have gained through this experience will help me achieve my goal of breastfeeding exclusively for the first year of life. I am confident in my ability to identify acid reflux signs early on, so that my future children can get the help they need. And finally, I am hopeful that one day I will be able to see how much I have accomplished in these past 10.5 months with exclusive pumping and how I have provided for my son the best I could have.

Because I was able to exclusively pump for so long, I have gained a lot of knowledge that I am hopeful can help others. Read about my exclusive pumping tips and tricks here.

Greyson’s First Time Swimming

Greyson went swimming for the first time on Sunday – yay! We took him to my mom’s (she lives in a beautiful condo complex) and he had a blast! We put him down for his morning nap around 9 and planned to go to my mom’s right after he woke up. Just like every baby out there, if he is tired, he is CRANKY, so we didn’t want to take any chances.

Of course, this is the day he decided to take a two hour nap. That would have been wonderful; however, the forecast was looking grim as it was supposed to thunderstorm on and off all day. It had been beautiful right up until the time when Greyson finally decided that he was going to wake up. Then, the clouds stared rolling in and the wind started picking up. We packed our bazillion bags and hopped in the car, just as it started to POUR. I’m talking sheets of rain.

As we were driving, I texted my mom, who lives 20 minutes away, and asked her what the weather was like. She said that it was clearing up and the sun was beginning to come out – yes! Once we got to the pool, there was no one there because of the downpour. Success! We got Greyson’s infant floatie ready and realized we forgot his sunhat. Considering I remembered to pack half of his closet, I’d say that’s pretty good!

baby first swim

I held him as we walked down the steps and into the water. He was so cute as he looked down at the water and his toes got wet. Greyson loves bath time, so we were assuming he would love to swim, too. At first, he was a little confused, but once he was in his infant floatie and the sun canopy was overhead, he was as happy as a clam!

baby first swim

I bought a little life jacket for him to try as well. The label said that it fit children ages 2 – 3 years. Greyson just turned 10 months old…. and it fit him like a glove. He enjoyed bopping around in the water (with one of us holding him) and kicking his legs. I’d say his first time swimming was a success! Now I’m just looking for more fun summer things to do with this little one! What are some suggestions we could try?

baby first swim
baby first swim

Greyson 10 Month Update

I can’t believe Greyson is officially 10 months old! I am in disbelief. Greyson is doing something new each day at this point and it’s amazing to see his little personality shining through each day.


Greyson has officially started crawling. He started off rolling everywhere, and was pretty efficient at it, too! After he mastered that, he would sit up and start rocking back and forth with his hands in front of him. He did that for a few weeks before he got enough confidence to reach forward. Once he was able to do that, he started crab crawling. He would use one leg to propel himself forward and the other one would kick behind him. It was pretty cute watching him. In the past week, he has gotten very good at the traditional crawl, down on all fours. I’ve noticed that he crab crawls on the hardwood floors because he doesn’t slide as much and he will do the traditional crawl on the upstairs carpet.

Greyson says “mama, dada, baba, and nana” now. We’re pretty sure nana means Una, one of our dog’s names. He even said Una a few times last week! I think Lola is too hard for him to say at this point, but he’ll get there!

He is pulling himself up to stand, both in his crib and around the house. He loves holding on to my hands and pulling himself up, but he can also do it while holding on to the ottoman or his activity table. He is so proud of himself when stands up! I know he will be cruising any time soon!

My favorite thing that Greyson has learned in the past couple of weeks is kissing. I can ask, “Can I have a kiss?” and he will give a kiss! It’s pretty adorable.

I can’t believe we are only two months away from the one year mark. Time goes by so quickly. We’re looking forward to the next milestones!

Our Bedtime Routine

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Having a bedtime routine is important to ensuring your little one knows bedtime is approaching and that they can expect consistency. We implemented a bedtime routine very early on, so that Greyson would (fingers crossed) be a good sleeper. We have done the same bedtime routine since Greyson was about a month old. I know that sounds early, but it worked for us! He is very predictable with his bedtime and wake up times, unless he is sick or teething of course. Here is what we do:

Tubby: Around 6:00, 6:15 pm we start running the bath. We give Greyson a bath each night. Some people say that is unnecessary, but it is part of his bedtime routine. He is also a pretty messy eater, so there is always food in his hair, in between his fingers, etc. Bath time helps Greyson to relax and unwind as long as he isn’t overtired! This is my favorite body wash and this is my favorite hair wash! We’ve been using both of these products since Greyson was a newborn. I know we could probably just use the bodywash since it does say you can use it for hair, but I love the hair wash, too! We take him out and dry him off. I love PotteryBarn Kids Gingham Bath Wraps and Gingham Wash Cloths. The bath wraps are super cute, super soft, and you can even personalize them!

10 month baby routine

Diapers: After tubby time, we put two (yes, two) nighttime diapers on Greyson. He soaks through his diapers SO EASILY. Check out my other post on nighttime diapers here. We have since started using Target Overnight diapers and they are aaaaamazing. We put a Pampers Swaddlers diaper as the top layer. We also put a nice healthy layer of Honest Diaper Rash Cream all over his little bottom to help prevent diaper rash at night. I love this diaper rash cream because it has zinc oxide in it, so it stays on for awhile and heals any redness that I see at the next diaper change. Definitely a must!

Lotion: Once his diapers are on, we use Baby Eucerin Eczema lotion to put all over Greyson’s body. He has pretty bad eczema and this is the only product that has seemed to keep it at bay. He gets these awful patches on his legs, arms, and belly. I just started noticing a new patch on his forehead too. Poor guy! This lotion is nice and thick and rubs in very easily.

PJs: Once the lotion is on, we put a white, short sleeved onesie on underneath Greyson’s PJs. We always use a white short sleeve onesie as a base layer. These are my fave because they are made with organic cotton and are sooo soft! After the onesie, we put on his footies. Footies are the cutest PJs ever. We LOVE anything made by Burt’s Bees. These footies are super cute and even have little bee anti-slip grippers on the bottom of the foot. Size up because they run a little small.

Sleep Sack: Once the onesie and PJs are on, we put on G’s sleep sack. I have a couple on rotation in case I haven’t run the wash yet. I love this one (because of the llamas) and this one, for colder nights. I just ordered him some new sleep sacks that have legs because Greyson has started pulling himself up in the crib. He is currently 10 months old and wearing a size large. It is a bit big, but I know he will grow into it. Once he sees the sleep sack, he knows bedtime is coming! That’s why it’s part of our bedtime routine. 🙂

Halo Sleep Sacks
Halo Sleep Sacks

Books: Sometimes, Greyson is too tired and is ready for his nighttime bottle, but if he isn’t, I make sure to read him a few books. He loves any book with flaps or things that he can touch, like the touch and feel books. He gets so excited that he starts touching all of the pages hoping he will feel something. It’s pretty cute! We love this book and this book!

Bottle: Greyson has a pretty substantial bottle just before bed. I’m talking anywhere between 7-9 ounces! I always say he is fueling up for the night. This is why we need to double up on diapers! I try to make sure that he does NOT fall asleep on the bottle. Early on, we taught him to self-soothe, so that he would be able to get himself back to sleep if he woke up during the night. Making sure that he does not fall asleep on the bottle is an important part in this process. We love these bottles by Avent.

Paci, paci, paci: Greyson LOVES his pacis. We call them his little friends. He has three in his crib and they all have the little animals attached to the end, so he can easily find them during the night. I LOVE these pacifiers because not only are they machine washable, but unlike other pacifiers, you can detach the pacifier and sterilize it. G’s favorite is his giraffe paci. He loves to suck on the little tail on the end, ha!

nookums pacifiers

Burp and Bed: I still burp Greyson, even though he doesn’t really need to be burped anymore. He just drinks so much that I find he is more comfortable after I help him burp. Once he burps, I put a little Aquaphor on his face to help his skin stay moisturized and then I place him in his crib and give him a kiss. Our neighbor gave us these Aden + Anais burpy bibs when Greyson was born and they are THE BEST. They are super absorbent, super soft, and they have snaps on the end that turn it into a bib!

Aden and Anais Burpy Bib
Aden + Anais Burpy Bib
Aden + Anais Burpy Bibs

We upgraded to the Nanit baby camera a few months ago and it was the best decision we ever made! We get notifications when Greyson makes a sound or when motion is detected. It also tracks your child’s sleep patterns! Check out my full review here. Night, night little one!

Top 5 Items to Have in Your Diaper Bag

what to pack in a diaper bag

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Packing your diaper bag with the essentials is critical when you are out and about with a little one. There are times where I have forgotten the diaper bag and without fail, have needed something crucial in that bag. One time, my brother and I were at Costco when Greyson was about three months old. We were in line, waiting to check out, when we heard it… the lovely sound of a baby pooping. Of course, I forgot the diaper bag, so we had to check out, load the car, and drive twenty-five minutes home all with a poopy diaper. Not my finest mommy moment! After that day, I have never left home without the diaper bag and I make sure to have these five things in the diaper bag each time I leave home. This is my FAVORITE diaper bag ever. (Right now, three colors are on sale!) It is huge, has three compartments, can be monogrammed, and has handles or a strap, so you can wear it crossbody if you choose.

#1 – An extra change of clothes – size up

I like to leave an extra pair of clothes in the diaper bag in case we have a blowout and need a change of clothes. The reason I like to put the next size up in the diaper bag is because I might forget to change out the clothes for a while, so I want to make sure that if I need the clothes, then they will fit. I pack:

  • an extra pair of sweatpants (basic color)
  • an extra onesie (I always layer with a white onesie underneath)
  • an extra sweater (it could be a chilly day, you never know!)
  • an extra pair of white socks (they match everything!)

#2: A clean, dry bottle, with 2 scoops of formula and a water bottle

I’m still exclusively pumping for Greyson (yay 10 months!), but I don’t want to worry about taking breastmilk out and about if we will be out for awhile. Every ounce is precious to me, so I want to make sure that I don’t have to throw any out. I’ll pack a dry bottle, with two scoops of formula and use the bottled water to mix it in case he gets hungry when we are out. I don’t leave the bottle in there longer than a week because I don’t want the formula to go bad. A lot of formula companies make individual serving formula bottles, so that would work, too! These are the bottles we use (I love them) and the formula we have been using to supplement. I like it because it has lutein for the eyes and most importantly, no corn syrup solids, which were making G constipated. These are the same bottles we used when he was younger, but they are just a smaller size. I love that they have a nipple that mimics an actual nipple.

what to pack in a diaper bag

#3: Toys and Books

Greyson is at the age now where he gets bored easily. I make sure to take his favorite musical toy, his toucan with a little piano on its beak, and a few books that have the flaps. This is the toucan and some of our favorite books, here, here, and here!

#4: Disposable Tabletop Placemats

My husband and I were in New Jersey recently, eating at the hotel restaurant when we saw two families with young children. They had these awesome disposable placemats that stick to the table, so you can put food right on the table at the restaurant and little hands won’t get dirty from touching dirty restaurant tables! They are amazing! The mats have little plastic strips around the edges, which you pull off to expose the adhesive. Stick on the table and voila! A disposable placemat!

what to pack in a diaper bag


This one should go without saying, but if you have ANYTHING in your diaper bag, make sure you have diapers. Make sure you pack at least 5 diapers in your diaper bag because you WILL use one and will more than likely forget to replace it when you get home. If you have some extras in there, you will be safe! I also like to size up with diapers in case it’s a while before I replace them. These are my favorite diapers and wipes!

Those are my top 5 things to pack in your diaper bag, but here is what else is in ours! Enjoy!

what to pack in a diaper bag
what to pack in a diaper bag

What are your must haves in your diaper bag? I’d love to hear!

what to pack in a diaper bag

Greyson Turns 9 Months Old

9 months old

I can’t believe that Greyson is already 9 months old. Whoever said “the nights are long, but the years are short,” was so right. Greyson is growing up before our eyes and I wish I could freeze every milestone he hits and every moment we have together. I feel so lucky to be his mom and he certainly has opened up my eyes to what really matters in this crazy life. Greyson is hitting all of his 9 month milestones and is growing up before my eyes.

Greyson has now started crawling, makes kissing noises, and can sit up from lying on his belly. He is always on the move and gets frustrated when he can’t do more things. I see the twinkle in his eye when he does something he is proud of, like pulling himself up while holding on to my arm. He says “mama, baba, and dada” and I swear I’ve heard him say our dog’s name: Una.

With all of these changes, it makes me sad I can’t be with him every minute of every day. I know it is good for him to experience different people and become flexible, but my heart aches each and every time I have to leave for work. I’m thankful that the summer is upon us and that I will be able to be home with him for the summer. We have plans to go swimming, go to the zoo, and go to a new aquarium that is opening in a neighboring town. I can’t wait to soak up all those moments.

What are some other things we can do this summer? I am looking for some arts and crafts ideas or some sensory things. I want to get a water table for our deck because Greyson loves the water!


nautical theme baby nursery

Nautical Themed Nursery

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If you know me, you know that I LOVE anything nautical. Whales, sailboats, anchors, monkey fist knots, you name it, I love it. Naturally, I wanted my baby’s room to be a nautical baby nursery as well. Considering how we moved into our brand new house five days before Greyson was born, I did not get to decorate it right away as I originally intended. His baby furniture was delivered five days before he was! While I was giving birth to Greyson in the hospital, my mom was accepting the delivery from Wayfair at our house! Needless to say, the first month of us living in the house was chaotic. We are still moving in!

I was finally able to tie in my favorite decor style with Greyson’s room and here is the final result! All of his large furniture pieces are from Wayfair. We LOVE the large selection of items they have. His crib is a 4 in 1 convertible crib, so it grows along with him. We just need to buy the pieces to convert to a toddler bed and big boy bed in the future. Now I have my nautical themed baby nursery like I’ve always dreamed!

nautical baby nursery

Crib Sheets
Blackout Shade
HD Baby Monitor: check out my review on the Nanit camera here!
Noise/Nightlight: Hatch Baby Rest
Puppy Basket
Grey/white basket: HomeGoods
Changing Table Cover: Target (on clearance – can’t find a similar one)

nautical baby nursery

Changing Table Topper
Lamp – Raymour & Flanigan
Diaper Genie
Growth Ruler (similar)
Laundry Basket – similar basket from Target, too

nautical baby nursery
nautical baby nursery

Letters to My Baby – sweet book where you can write letters to your baby and give them when they are older!
Home Pillowcover
Whale Frame – Joann Fabric

Some tips I used when designing my nautical baby nursery:

  • Go easy on the blue: So many nurseries look SO pink or SO blue. I did not want our nursery to have this aesthetic to it, so I made sure to go light on the blue, with still keeping a nautical theme.
  • Decorate with the same animal: Decorating with the same animal helps with consistency, so your theme is obvious right away. I really love whales. Luckily, I found our changing table cover from Target on clearance, so I was able to match Greyson’s crib sheets from Pottery Barn Kids with a similar print. I also purchased a whale picture frame from Joann Fabric. My cousin got me a whale themed baby shower guest book which doubles as art for the nursery. You can see it on the bookshelf. I was able to mix in different nautical stuffed animals like an octopus, a hermit crab, etc to decorate the crib before Greyson was sleeping in there. I wanted to make sure my nautical theme nursery was consistent throughout the whole room before I added in a few extra animals.
  • Less is more: I wanted the nautical decor to be tasteful and simple. I didn’t want it to overwhelm his room. Keeping the decor to a minimum and making sure the space was functional was most important when I designed this nursery.

I hope you have enjoyed getting a glimpse into my nautical themed baby nursery. All of the furniture we purchased for his room was purchased at great prices (Wayfair always has stuff on sale.) What did you decorate your first born’s nursery with? I’d love to hear!


First Finger Foods For Baby

Soft first finger foods for baby

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I’m in search of great first finger foods to give an almost nine month old. Greyson started purées when he was just under 6 months old. I was in no rush to start him on real food because he was drinking plenty of milk. The kid had been drinking anywhere from 32-36 oz of breastmilk/formula per day! I finally decided to start him on food because the pediatrician said we could start purées if we wanted to and I thought maybe it would help fill his tummy a bit more, so he wasn’t always so ravenous!

I have been making the majority of his food, like steaming sweet potatoes, pears, butternut squash, and the like, but buying certain fruits and meats are a little more time consuming and difficult to make! I bought chicken breast and tried to purée that and it didn’t turn out too well! Silly me should have done ground chicken instead of chicken breast, but at least I know for next time! I bought The Big Book of Organic Baby Food on Amazon, in hopes it would inspire me to try some different foods. I liked it in the beginning when Greyson was younger, but I am looking to branch out now. 

We have been doing purées for the past two and a half months, with some puffs, yogurt melts, and teething biscuits thrown in there, too. I recently cut up a banana into small pieces to give him, but he doesn’t seem interested in picking it up to feed himself. I think it might be too slippery for him to pick up? He’s fine if I feed it to him or if I mash it up. What are some other soft first finger foods we could try? Greyson is still working on his teeth, so I don’t want to give him foods that will be too challenging for him to eat! What are some great first finger foods to give a baby? I’m all ears!