Jenny is a mom of three on a quest to help parents prevent picky eating and find joy at the table together. Prior to launching Solid Starts, Jenny led communications at various food non profits and served many years in the NYC government. Before that, she was a professional ballerina with the New York City Ballet.
Pediatrician & gastroenterologist
Dr. Ruiz is a mom of three, a board-certified general pediatrician, and a pediatric gastroenterologist. She completed her undergraduate at Dartmouth College, doctorate of medicine and pediatrics residency at Vanderbilt University, and pediatric gastroenterology fellowship at Stanford University. Dr. Ruiz is an attending pediatric gastroenterologist at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and an affiliated clinical instructor of pediatric gastroenterology at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. She treats a wide range of children suffering from constipation, abdominal pain, swallowing difficulties, inadequate weight gain, inflammatory bowel disease, fatty liver and other liver diseases, and Celiac disease. Dr. Ruiz resides in the Bay Area with her family. She enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, traveling, getting a good workout when she can, and, of course, eating!
Pediatrician & allergist/immunologist
Dr. Bajowala is a mother of two and a board-certified adult and pediatric allergist and immunologist with a passion for patient education and advocacy. She specializes in the evaluation and management of food allergy, and is a best-selling author on the topic. In her private allergy practice, she helps her young patients overcome food allergies through precision-focused sublingual and oral immunotherapy. Outside of medicine, Dr. Bajowala enjoys sampling a variety of cuisines during her international travels, cultivating her garden, cooking with her family, and writing.
Pediatric occupational therapist, feeding & swallowing specialist, international board-certified lactation consultant
A mom of two, Kary specializes in family mealtime dynamics and eating issues across the spectrum, from breast and bottle feeding challenges and picky eating, to dysphagia, tube feeding, and complex food refusal. Kary has extensive, wide-ranging work experience from outpatient therapy, to pediatric acute care in a high acuity NICU, to in-home settings and Well Child visits, all supporting families and children with eating and swallowing. Kary has worked with thousands of infants and children as they learn to eat, and she has taught parents and medical professionals on this topic for nearly two decades.
Pediatric occupational therapist, feeding & swallowing specialist, international board-certified lactation consultant
Specializing in infant and child feeding, eating, and swallowing, Kim has spent the majority of her career in pediatric acute care at some of the largest children's hospitals on the west coast, focusing specifically on neonatal (NICU) feeding and swallowing, breastfeeding with high-risk infants, and infant/pediatric cardiac rehabilitation. In addition to her hospital-based work, Kim counsels families struggling with breastfeeding, transitioning to solids, selective/picky eating, tube weaning, and oral motor/chewing. Kim is mom to Maeve and enjoys cooking with her husband, Will, and chasing after her Golden Retriever, Bailey.
Pediatric registered dietitian & nutritionist
Inspired by her mother’s work serving nutritionally vulnerable mothers and infants, Venus is dedicated to bridging nutritional inequities in her work. As a pediatric dietitian in gastroenterology, she works with kiddos with celiac and inflammatory bowel diseases, food allergies, picky eating, and more, while exploring research and program development. Venus completed her Registered Dietitian training at Stanford Medicine and her Masters in Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. Off the clock, she practices her polyglot skills, sings jazz, and subjects her husband to unconventional culinary creations.
Occupational therapist, feeding & swallowing specialist, certified lactation education counselor
As an occupational therapist, Marisa holds advanced certification in feeding, eating, and swallowing, and is also a certified lactation education counselor. With a background in psychiatry and behavioral management, she is passionate about addressing the anxiety commonly felt with feeding—from postpartum breast- and bottle-feeding to complex family mealtime dynamics and caregiver support. Marisa has navigated solids with her three children: twins Savanna and Juliana, and big brother Benjamín. She enjoys cooking family meals with her dietitian husband, Josh, and relies heavily on her clean-up pup Charlie.
Alexia is a bilingual Speech-Language Pathologist with a special interest in feeding and swallowing. She has experience in outpatient, school, and home health settings, but strongly believes a healthy and happy relationship with food is developed at home with small, daily steps. Alexia supports families and children struggling with complex language disorders, feeding challenges such as picky eating and tube weaning, and oral motor delays. Alexia loves calm days at home with her husband Caleb, baby Nico, and their American bully Pipa. She also enjoys knitting, lifting weights, spicy food, and reading as much as possible.
Registered dietitian and public health/clinical nutritionist
Corina is a registered dietitian, public health/clinical nutritionist, and mother of 4 girls. Originally from Guatemala, Corina completed her nutritionist training at Cornell University and her dietetics and public health training at Columbia University, where she also worked as a research coordinator in public health and nutrition-related cancer prevention investigations. Corina currently lives in Dallas where her main goal is to raise healthy, happy eaters with a joyful relationship to food.
Pediatric occupational therapist and director of visual media
Nekole is a pediatric occupational therapist with an advanced certification in feeding and swallowing, as well as a certified lactation education counselor. Since 2016, she has utilized her knowledge and experience to create and support a growing community of more than 15 million caregivers and parents on YouTube. Nekole is a mom to two, and she is devoted to raising conscious, heart-led humans.
Speech-language pathologist, feeding & swallowing specialist, certified lactation counselor
Jenna is a pediatric feeding and swallowing expert with experience at some of the largest children's hospitals in the United States. Since 2015, she has specialized in working with infants and children with complex cardiac anatomy and aerodigestive needs. Jenna loves to mentor fellow professionals and assist families in reaching their feeding goals. Off the clock, Jenna enjoys cooking new recipes, spinning, and traveling.
Pediatric nurse practitioner/nurse researcher
Jenny is a board certified primary care pediatric nurse practitioner, with a doctorate degree in nursing at University of California San Francisco. Her research passion is working with children and families living with chronic conditions (such as type 1 diabetes and food allergy) to identify novel methods to help promote successful self-management behaviors to improve health outcomes. One year ago, Jenny became a mother of a beautiful baby girl who inspired her to dig deeper into the world of baby-led weaning, and introducing safe and healthy solids in an evidence-based manner.
Creative director, food and culture
Kate is guided by the belief that every family deserves access to fruits, vegetables, and whole foods that nourish the soul and the planet. She brings her passion for biodiversity, culture, and storytelling to Solid Starts, where she supports the team with documenting the joy of cooking and eating good food. When she’s not behind her laptop or camera, she can be found standing at her kitchen island, cooking with the flowers, herbs, and leafy greens that she grows in her backyard garden.
As an editor and mom of one, Sarah spends her days wrangling wayward words and a busy toddler. She is a former magazine editor and advertising agency copywriter specializing in research-based editorial and ghostwriting. She’s passionate about the relationship between food and health, as well as food sustainability, accessibility, and biodiversity. Sarah lives in Upstate South Carolina.
Director of people operations and community engagement
Based in Arizona, Chelsea brings over a decade worth of experience working with small businesses, start-ups, and community-based organizations. She passionately advocates for food accessibility and the preservation of native foods and their recipes. Chelsea is a mother of one and currently obtaining a dual degree in Spanish and nutrition.
First Foods® database manager
Katja brings expertise in interdisciplinary research, writing, and editing to wrangle the First Foods® database. She is passionate about the world’s foods—where they come from and how they bring us together—and ensures that Solid Starts reflects the diversity of the world’s food, cooking, and cultures. As a writer and former academic with a Ph.D. in English from U.C. Davis, Katja brings more than a decade of research experience to the team. In her free time, she shares her love of cooking with her daughter, and enjoys reading, running, and trying to tire out her tireless dog.
Chief operating officer
Nadine leads and manages all new business and partnership efforts for Solid Starts. She has more than a decade of experience working in growth and strategy roles across e-commerce, tech, and financial services, and received her MBA from Northwestern University. She is passionate about helping others develop positive and healthy relationships with food. Nadine lives in New York City with her husband, two children, and black lab.
Community outreach & social media marketing director
Kelly supports Solid Starts across all media platforms. Before joining Solid Starts, she worked as a communications consultant, political advisor, and managed special events for national non-profit foundations and professional sporting organizations. A mom of three, Kelly lives in Kansas City with her husband, teenage daughter, toddler son and baby girl. She is passionate about food, travel, and Halloween.
Community Engagement Assistant
Stephanie was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. She is a mom of one and her daughter is a founding member of Solid Starts junior recipe tester program. Through the introduction of solid food to her baby, and by supporting fellow parents through their journeys, Stephanie feels a deep commitment to the development of happy eaters who enjoy a variety of food textures, flavors, and colors. In her work, she applies expertise in process and systems improvement shaped by an industrial engineering degree from Northwestern University—as well as a passion for fashion design.
Liz works behind the scenes to ensure everything at Solid Starts runs smoothly. Originally from New York, Liz is currently enjoying the waves and wine in Portugal. Her favorite things include exploring different countries, hiking with her dog, and eating chocolate.
Digital project manager
Cristina helps manage website and app projects. Born and raised in New York, Cristina now lives in the (very cold) state of Michigan with her husband, daughter, and crazy, cuddly corgi George. She enjoys all things Disney, spending time with family, and collecting absurd amounts of fluffy socks and blankets.
Lucy is a freelance graphic designer specializing in brand identities, websites, and all types of print and digital design. Her clients range from boutique jewelry studios to global consulting firms.
When not designing things, Lucy can be found wandering around neighborhoods in Brooklyn and getting inspiration from vintage typography, architectural details, and random sidewalk ephemera.
Diversity, equity & inclusion coach
Nikki Silvestri is the founder and CEO of Soil and Shadow, a coaching and consulting firm serving social and environmental entrepreneurs. A nationally-recognized thought leader, Nikki's received numerous accolades for her work and was named among The Root’s 100 Most Influential African Americans.
As our DEI coach, Nikki is guiding conversations about this work in the field of baby food and child nutrition and is advising Solid Starts as it becomes a thought leader in this space.
Nikki has a master's degree in African American Studies from UCLA. She lives in Oakland with her husband and son.
Sign up for new guides, recipes and special offers
The content offered on SolidStarts.com is for informational purposes only. Solidstarts is not engaged in rendering professional advice, whether medical or otherwise, to individual users or their children or families. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or your medical or health professional, nutritionist, or expert in pediatric feeding and eating. By accessing the content on SolidStarts.com, you acknowledge and agree that you are accepting the responsibility for your child’s health and well-being. In return for providing you with an array of content “baby-led weaning” information, you waive any claims that you or your child may have as a result of utilizing the content on SolidStarts.com.