Wean Meister is a firm believer that babies should be exposed to a high variety of tastes if they are to become good and happy eaters.
If you give your baby a range of flavors from a young age they will be more likely to enjoy new tastes as they get older and will be much less likely to become fussy eaters. Then of course, you are able to be confident that your child is getting everything s/he needs nutritionally.
Below we outline what to expect from your baby as their palette develops.
From 6 Months to One Year
At this time babies are very open to try new food and tastes. After only drinking milk for the first 6 months of their life, they seem to enjoy the adventure of trying new flavours. Meal times can be exciting and babies quickly learn to like the foods and become very trusting of the food you give them.
You should stimulate your baby’s curiosity about food with different colours and textures.
If your baby doesn’t take to a certain food straight away, stay calm and offer it again another day. You may need to try this numerous times, but as long as you don’t make a fuss; your child should come around in the end.
Try not to have too many distractions around – turn the T.V. off. Your baby is much more likely to eat well if they are not focused on anything else.
Don’t try and feed your baby solids after a big milk feed, you will be much more successful if they are a bit hungry. This also helps them to gradually want less milk.
10 months onwards…
Your baby will nearly be eating the same foods as you now. So bridge the gap between baby food and grown up food by increasing the flavours you offer your baby. Think carefully about flavour and consider what tastes you might like.
It’s a nice age to let them start feeding themselves, particularly with finger food. You could start giving them food on a plastic plate so they begin to recognise what is in front of them.
12 months onwards…
It’s not uncommon for babies around 12 months to start becoming suspicious of new foods. Some people say it stems from a survival mechanism from the cave man days, to stop you’re baby from picking up something poisonous as they are now on the move. Or it may just be because the gap between eating mushy baby food and complex grown up food was too quick and they need to learn about new flavours and textures a bit longer. Perhaps they have become used to pre-made baby food jars, which have a more bland taste than normal food. This is another good reason to prepare your baby homemade food where ever possible.
If your toddler becomes fussy all of a sudden, the most important thing you can do is stay calm about it. Keep offering plenty of variety and then you can be confident that they are getting plenty of good nutrients.