As your child develops, there are thousands of questions that might swim in your head. When your child has started weaning, one of them might be : when does my baby start developing their taste buds? The answer is, as early as in your womb. Babies can taste what you eat through amniotic fluid. After they are born, they prefer the familiar sweetness of breastmilk and later on, the flavours of foods you ate while pregnant. Wow!

You might already be aware how important it is to explore flavours and textures during weaning. But, why is this so?

The Importance of Flavour Exploration

On Bibado’s Feeding Curiosity podcast, Jenny Best noted that parents might start with infant cereal or purees for a few weeks to ease themselves into the weaning journey, but babies are 9 months plus and still eating textureless food, a lot of problems are going to follow such as being a picky eater or resisting new flavours and textures. Other than that, they are also at risk of jaw weakness and even tooth eruption issues. So, starting with these right from the start really sets up your feeding success.

It is encouraged to start with finger food. The first few months of weaning is less about consumption and more about development of oral motor skills and exposure to a wide variety of smells, flavours and tastes. Finger foods give the stimuli needed in order to learn to eat effectively. Chewing is actually a motor pattern that needs to be learned, but babies have chewing reflexes that start to fade at 9 months old. This means that the best time to learn to chew is at 6 - 8 months old.

Give Varieties When Feeding

Jenny Best also gave some tips on giving varieties of foods when feeding without overcomplicating it. You don’t have to be a chef to do this. Just like adults, babies and toddlers love choices. You can simply cook the same food in different ways and put them into their plate. This will give them enough choices to pick one.

Try not to eat the same food every day and try not to serve the same food more than twice a week. Like adults, if we’re given our favourite food everyday, we’re bound to get bored of them. At 6 - 11 months, babies are wired to explore orally and put a lot of things into their mouth. It is a great opportunity to introduce as many foods as possible. By exposing them to different foods, they’ll become more familiar with it and know what they do or don’t like.

When introducing new foods to babies, give a variety of food more than once and give them space to react without interference to exciting new tastes. When trying new food, we would also react to the taste first and then decide whether we like it or not. Just like when we bite into lemon, we might make sour faces but that doesn’t mean we dislike it.

Have fun exploring flavours with your little one!

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