We started a new family tradition about a month ago, when Baby was just beginning her lifelong relationship with food. We have been experimenting with a combination of Baby Led Weaning (also known as Baby Led Solids / Baby Led Feeding) and regular mashed up spoon feeding which seems to be suiting us well.
We borrowed a dvd from a friend on Baby Led Weaning which showed little groups of three sitting up at the dinner table and enjoying their meals together as a family. Prince Charming and I looked at each other guiltily… until then we were all a shambles of an evening. Prince Charming would be bathing Baby while I was preparing dinner – one meal for Baby and another for us. One of us would then sit on the couch with Baby on our lap to spoon feed her, while the other ran around and fed the bunnies and the dogs. Prince Charming would then put Baby to bed and read her a story, and finally we would go out to the lounge and eat our dinner on the couch or on the floor while watching TV. We would usually go to bed feeling stressed, tired, and turn the lights off with the kitchen still a mess.
We wondered why we had stopped eating dinner at the dinner table, and why we felt it necessary to feed Baby separately to us. After all, we are a family now, and we have spoken a lot about nourishing Baby’s relationship with food so it is a healthy one now and into her teenage and adult years. We both grew up in families were mealtimes were traditional, healthy and seen as special family time, yet we realised that perhaps our own eating habits were not supporting the values we learnt as children. We eat very healthy food, yet our traditions around food – being mindful, enjoying the tastes, sharing time and connecting together, as well as feeling blessed to live in a country where we can eat the way we do – seemed to have been forgotten.
Almost a month ago, we sat down for our first family meal. I lit two candles and we all enjoyed our dinner, slowly and purposefully. We have sat down together almost every evening since then, with no TV, no radio, no noise except maybe some gentle music or just the sounds of the birds and the light of the candles and the sun going down.
It certainly has reminded us to slow down, reflect on our days, to communicate, to connect and last but not least to enjoy the delicious tastes and healthy foods that nourish us each day.