Wow, what a truly amazing few weeks it has been! Ela has been eating solids now for a week or so. I think I’m in baby food heaven!
Yes, I have a thing for baby food.
I seek out farm stands and gather the best pears, peaches and apples (what’s in season here in NJ). I wake up early in the morning to make batches of purées for little Ela. I get excited to try out new flavor combinations on her—be it saffron with pears, or cardamom with apples.
One morning, in the middle of one of these purée-fests, I got to wondering why I love preparing meals so much (particularly baby food). How did I go from practicing law to dreaming about apple mash?
It’s actually quite a tender thing, isn’t it, to feed your child? I couldn’t nurse Kirina, my 3-year-old, too well (she was in the NICU, I was a first-time mom, the whole thing was stressful), but with Ela, it’s been all nursing. And that has been a really unique and wonderful experience. It’s something only I can give her and it feels like a huge responsibility. It is wild that you can actually grow a little creature just from breast milk!
Solids are a huge step though. It is a baby’s first introduction to earthly delights—ripe fruits, sweet and juicy. Savory vegetables with herbs and spices. New tastes, smells and flavors. It is an amazing food world to savor and experience.
And you, the parent or caregiver, gets to be in charge of introducing her to those tastes and first experiences.
When you feed your little one good things, you are not only nourishing them, but you are nourishing their taste buds, their appetites, their souls. Feeding food to anyone is nourishment on so many different levels. Feeding is showing love, constancy and caring. Feeding creates a bond, whether it is between mother and child or grandfather and granddaughter. Your little one looks to you for what she needs to grow.
For me, with every spoonful given, I find myself nourished. My soul simply feels more open. I felt this way with Kirina, and also now with Ela. Even more with Kirina actually since we didn’t have that nursing bond as much. Those first spoonfuls were a new sort of bond. I finally understood what my mother and generations of mothers who cook feel–the need to feed someone, to help them thrive, to have the satisfaction of helping someone feel satiated and safe.
It doesn’t matter whether you breast-feed or bottle feed, cook your own baby food, or spice up a jar from the grocery. Always remember you are doing good soul-work by feeding your little one. You are keeping them happy, healthy and alive with every bite. It is the most important work you will do in your life.
Nourish your baby, nourish your soul.
From Ela’s highchair to your little one’s, bon appetit!