Let's start at the beginning: milk

Milk and love

I am writing a few posts about food and the complicated relationship with all have with food. But, in order to do that I think we need to start at the beginning. 


For most babies, we enter the world and the very first event that occurs is attempting to breastfeed (or drink from a bottle). After breathing and surviving birth, it is the next skill that must be learned.


Watch how this baby, rather quickly, moves over and latches onto the breast*:


*Warning: this video contains nudity.

I bring this up to highlight how interconnected nourishment, love and comfort are in the early days and months. 


Breastfeeding, for babies, is the answer to many "problems". If they are hungry, they nurse. If they are sleepy, they nurse. If they reunited with mom after a separation, they nurse. If they fall down and get scared or hurt, they nurse. Do you see the pattern? There is even a stage in which babies will nurse to help them poop.


So, from the very beginning, food and nourishment is tied up with a number of different emotions.

From milk to food

Soon milk is replaced by solid foods. Then, babies gather even more reasons for eating. They experiement with food by squishing it and playing with it. They discover the wonder of different flavours and textures. So, in addition to the nourishment, hunger, sleepiness, scared, sad, hurt feelings - we now have entertainment and education. 


Parents also often use food as a reward. Children are given "treats" for good behaviour, for celebrations and to occupy kids. 


Again, our relationship with food starts when we are born and continues to become more and more complex.

Linking Food with Body Image

Perhaps the next big event that happens in terms of one's relationship with food is the connection between your body shape and size and what you eat. This happens early especially for girls. We are taught that size matters. Kids start hearing adults talking about diets, healthy foods and "fatty" foods. 


I think this is the foundation of each person's relationship to food. What is your relationship with food like?

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