Today is the big day! Okay, today is one of the big days that Ben will have. He has already had some big days in his short life, and I hope he has many many more big days to come. But today is a favorite big day of mine. It is the day he first tried solid foods.
This is a first I knew I would really enjoy. The biggest reason for that is it is one of the few firsts that we as parents could kind of control. Most of the milestones that babies achieve are reached on their schedules. I can’t make Ben roll over, or walk, or talk. I can’t make him sleep through the night. (If I could figure out how to make babies sleep through the night I would be rich!!) I can decide when he has the chance to first try a new food. At least the first few foods anyway. This is a first that Pat and I can share with Ben on our timetable This is especially great for Pat. I am with Ben pretty much all the time. He comes to work with me every day and since he nurses it is just easier to keep him nearby. It follows that I am around for a lot of his firsts. I have seen the first time he was able to grasp an object, as well as roll over. So I was super excited that Pat was going to get to participate in this particular first.
I also love food. Pat loves food. Let’s be real here, food is a big deal in any society. The act of having a meal with a person has a lot of significance. Up until now all of Ben’s meals have been pretty one sided. He sits on someone’s lap (usually mine) and eats. Despite another person being physically present, it is a pretty solitary activity for him. Now he will be able to sit up at a table and look at other people while he eats. He will be able to play a part in the family dynamic of discussion and sustenance sharing. And he gets to eat tasty food!!
After a lot of thought, research, and discussion, we decided to use carrots as a first food. There were a few main reasons. They are a vegetable that is easy to cut into an appropriate size and shape. They are easy to roast or steam to get to a nice consistency. They are a little sweet, which has pros and cons. Some schools of thought think we shouldn’t introduce anything sweet so babies don’t develop a preference for this. Others say start with the sweeter vegetables because breastmilk and formulas tend to be sweeter, making the first food more familiar to baby. I can understand not wanting Ben to develop a taste for too many sweets too young. But at the end of the day as parents we control what he can eat, so just because he may enjoy sweet flavors doesn’t mean we have to give him sugary, unhealthy food all the time. I love sweets but I still eat vegetables, and so can Ben.
Always an important factor, costs came into play. Carrots are relatively cheap to buy in a decent quantity. And finally, I am confident I can prepare the carrots in a way that would be decent for a baby just starting off with solid foods. So carrots it is. Sweet potatoes came in a close second, and will probably be introduced next.
Pat and I have done our research. We have had endless discussions. We have thought long and hard about this. So now the plan is in place. Tonight. Dinner time. Ben. Carrots. Let’s do this.