Introducing new foods and flavors
- Offering a variety of new flavors early and often helps create more accepting eating habits.
- Breastfed babies seem to adapt more quickly to new flavors.
- Family eating habits greatly influence how your baby will accept new foods.
Your baby's digestive system is maturing so you can introduce more variety—while still keeping breastmilk or formula as his main source of nutrition. Early exposure to a variety of new foods and flavors is important to help with acceptance.
Don’t give up on giving veggies
Some studies have shown that over 70% of babies, aged 6 to 10 months, accepted previously disliked vegetables when they were offered at least eight times.
Parents tend to give up too quickly and often only offer disliked foods no more than three times before giving up. Continue offering your child these less-liked foods even after he’s rejected them. Eventually they will become familiar foods and he just may grow to love them.
Flavors in breastmilk
If your sitter has been breastfed, he’s been learning about variety all along. Some of the foods you eat have flavors that easily find their way into your breastmilk, exposing your baby to flavors at a very early age. Because of this, breastfed babies tend to adapt more quickly to new foods than formula fed babies. So continue to eat a varied diet to help him develop a taste for many different foods!
Good to know
Breastfed babies have learned new flavors, through Mom’s milk, and seem to accept new foods more quickly.
Be a healthy role model
Your baby’s taste preference, in many ways, will be a reflection of how the family eats. For example, babies in India grow up with very different food preferences than an American child. The foods you enjoy will shape what your baby will like. He’s watching your facial expressions as you take a bite and gets the idea if something is yummy or not. Making meals a positive experience is also important. Leaving spinach on your plate with a negative expression can send the wrong message.
Your role is to offer him a variety of nutritious choices—your baby’s role is to decide what and how much to eat. Remember that feeding times are periods of learning and love. Talk to your little one as they learn to accept new foods and flavors and make eye contact.
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