While our kitchen might not have any Michelin stars, that doesn’t mean we can’t start raising our little one to be a foodie, just like Mommy and Daddy! Cultivating a love and appreciation for food — from where it comes and how it’s made — all starts now, as we began introducing solids last month.
You wouldn’t think something as simple as rice cereal could pave the way for our little one to become a foodie — but you’d be surprised.
Rice cereal isn’t exactly glamorous. And at five months, we started Judah a little earlier on solids than we had originally planned. Severe acid reflux and some weight gain issues necessitated a few more calories than my breast milk or supplementation could provide. Our pediatrician recommended single grain rice cereal as a good start: just one serving a day.
To first introduce Judah to a new texture and a new way of eating, we mixed a tablespoon of rice cereal with a little bit of expressed breast milk. (Pro-tip: breast milk contains enzymes that prevent the rice cereal from really clumping when you mix it, so it’ll never really achieve a true “solid” texture; formula, on the other hand, will.) We weren’t really sure how he’d take to it…
…but he loved it!
The next day, we tried a little more cereal mixed with formula. Judah pretty much inhaled it and wailed for more! By the end of the first week of introducing our baby to solids, he was up to a full serving: four tablespoons cereal to two ounces of formula. It’s our daily routine now, feeding him his rice cereal at his high chair (even if he is just a tad too small). It’s humbling to know that as a new parent, our child’s future appreciation of food begins in that high chair every time we feed him.
To me, I find that a pretty humbling responsibility as a parent when it comes raising my son to be more than just a good eater. Every bite is an opportunity to cultivate a healthy relationship with food. Whether it’s his relationship to it, his willingness to try new flavors, textures and cuisines, or what constitutes healthy and diverse portions: these are all important things we can teach our son even in these early days of something as simple as rice cereal.
In many ways, I feel honored to have that kind of responsibility because I hope Judah grows up to appreciate food the way his parents already do. It’s also a reminder that yes… there will come a point when he’s going to need more than what I can provide from my own body. It’s a bittersweet milestone achievement: on one hand, we’re so proud of how well he’s taken to cereal. On the other hand, we’re reminded just how fast our little one is growing up!
Since we had originally planned to begin introducing solids at six months, we’ve decided to save the really yummy first baby foods for next month… just in time for Thanksgiving! We’re thinking we’ll start Judah’s love of new flavors and textures with his Nana’s sweet potato casserole.
Let the baby foodie adventures begin!