Adventures in Eating: The Highchair Chronicles

{first meal: before}

Ever since the first day we fed Greta solid food, when she was just shy of 6 months, I've been taking pictures of her. I'll never forget the first meal I cooked for her -- organic spinach, triple washed; locally grown cage-free hen egg yolks, soft-cooked, with chives from the garden -- determined I was to feed her only perfect foods. It was a Tuesday at my parent's house. My mom twisted up one of her soft, faded dish towels and tied Greta into the painted wooden highchair that's been introducing kids and grand kids to solids since my Dad had his first fistful of food 60-some years ago.

As I fed her those first spoonfuls, with Grandma and Granddad eagerly watching over {Grandpa's LOVE to see babies eat and get nice and chubby}, I tried to imagine what messages that sweet little mouth was sending to her brain. "This, food, exists? This is WONDERFUL." She smacked her tiny lips and opened her mouth for more. My heart leapt. "My baby loves healthy foods! She loves her mamma's cooking. Yah, YAH!"

In that short meal, we experienced a huge range of emotion, from utter delight to tearful baby meltdown. "Waah, where's my mamma's milk? It's so much easier. So delicious. Hold me."

{first meal: after}

In the 4 or so months since, I've been snapping moments of Greta in her little throne {her highness, as my friend Tara calls her daughter Abby when she eats}. I'm not sure exactly what it is about it that makes me run for my camera or more often my iphone, mid-spoonful. Of course I love my baby girl, and I obviously love food. But even more, there's a sense of discovery that happens each time a babe discovers a new taste, a new texture -- a wonder that is so easy to miss in life.

With all the politics and politeness around what you should and shouldn't feed your babes, when to start and where it all comes from, writing about what you feed your baby in public space is a slippery slope. But here's the thing, it's such a fun, important thing to talk about. And despite all my training in food and family nutrition, I still learn the most from other mammas. So, I'm going to start posting those photos, and stories, recipes and tips and tricks, and hopefully some of yours, about what makes those moments we share around the highchair some of the funniest, happiest moments of our day.

Along the way, I'll share the rules {and I use that term loosely} I've learned and keep learning since that first meal and I'd LOVE to hear yours too! What was the first food you fed your babe, and when? And What's your number one rule of thumb at feeding time?

Here's mine:

Rule #1 ~ Make Mealtime Fun 
No matter what food we're introducing to Greta, or where we are when we eat it {her highchair, a picnic blanket, a park bench}, we love to make eating together fun. A happy time and happy place as a family. I’m not talking about food in packages with trinkets inside and characters on the box fun, or making silly noises to get your babe to eat things they think are yucky fun. I mean simple, stress-free fun, whether the meal ends up in their mouth or on the floor. Have fun growing, cooking and sharing the things you love with this wonderfully absorbent, curious little person. 


Anonymous said...

These pics of Greta are the best! I'm not a mom, but I have a sister who is 13 years my junior, and I remember my mom whipping up such yummy 'baby food' for her-- spinach, carrots, sweet potato, just about any veggie combo mashed with a little olive oil or something. She was a fat, happy little thing.

sarah said...

That is so cute ~ I LOVE a fat, happy little thing. I have to say, I can't believe how much faster Greta grows since we added solids! Her little belly is getting nice and round, but it's all from healthy, brain and muscle building fats and proteins so I know it's a good thing!

Thanks for sharing! Your baby sis is a lucky gal to have a mamma who cooks fresh, from-scratch foods for her, as I'm sure she did for you!

Christine said...

Love this! Cute little Greta. Avocado was the first food I fed our daughter, just a taste of it around 6 months. She didn't want to really eat any "real food" until 8 months though. She totally skipped the pureed food stage, which is fine by me! My number one rule - hmmm. I think it would be similar to yours. Don't stress or follow a formula, just let your baby try a variety of good things and let them decide what they like. Let them develop their own tastes. Don't try to force them to eat something they don't like. It's a adventure!

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Sarah Copeland is a food and lifestyle expert, and the author of Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, and The Newlywed Cookbook. She is the Food Director at Real Simple magazine, and has appeared in numerous national publications including Saveur, Health, Fitness, Shape, Martha Stewart Living and Food & Wine magazines. As a passionate gardener, Sarah's Edible Living philosophy aims to inspire good living through growing, cooking and enjoying delicious, irresistible whole foods. She thrives on homegrown veggies, stinky cheese and chocolate cake. Sarah lives in New York with her husband and their young daughter.