Developing tastes

  • How babies and children learning about taste evolves over time, beginning in the womb.
  • Taste is evolving.
  • Teaching new tastes at this time includes temperature and colors.

Taste buds are already present at 8 weeks of pregnancy and fully mature in the last trimester.₅ His taste buds can detect flavor in the amniotic fluid which, in turn, is influenced by your diet. This is also when he first learns about the four basic tastes—sweet, salty, sour and bitter. Though born preferring sweet tastes, you can influence his future flavor preferences by introducing new and varied foods over and over again. Repetition will shape what your baby is willing to try and like. Be patient and stay the course.

The evolving sense of taste
It’s not until 5 to 6 months that your baby can appreciate and be interested in new flavors. Educating his taste buds happens over time while he learns how to eat. Babies quickly become used to foods tasting a certain way. This means that if you add sugar or salt to her food, it is likely to be preferred this way in the future—not a healthy practice—and may relate to health problems later in life.  

Did you know?

Babies get their first taste experience in the womb, from amniotic fluid.

Taste is more than just flavor
The taste of something is really much more than sweet, salty, bitter or sour. As you feed new foods to your baby, he’ll naturally be learning about other things that influence how food tastes.

Temperature – Refrigerated milk tastes quite different than the body-temperature version. Room-temperature peas are not the same as when Mom warms them.  
Texture – At this stage, all foods have a similar, soft texture, but eventually your baby will recognize the difference between crispy, bubbly, creamy and crunchy.  
Visual appeal – We eat with our eyes, and so do babies. Offer the colors of the rainbow for variety and taste.

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