Kids eat right.

Introducing New Flavors to Babies

Contributors: Mindy Hermann, MBA, RD and Sarah Klemm, RDN, CD, LDN
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Believe it or not, babies start tasting foods long before they get the first spoonful of a solid food. In fact, researchers found that a baby's sensory system can taste flavors from its mother's diet that travel through the mother's bloodstream into the amniotic fluid.

Breast Milk Introduces New Flavors

Your newborn continues to taste more new flavors during breastfeeding. Spices, herbs and natural flavors from foods such as onions and garlic can give breast milk a distinct taste. This introduces your baby to the taste of foods in your diet. Breastfeeding moms should eat a variety of foods — especially fruits and vegetables — to maximize the nutritional content of their breast milk.

Introduce Foods More Than Once

It can take time to develop a taste for certain foods. If your child doesn't like a food, reintroduce it again in a few days to build exposure and familiarity. One of the best things parents can do is make mealtimes calm and enjoyable. Refrain from pressuring your child to eat certain foods. Model good eating behavior in front of your children and keep exposing them to a variety of colorful foods.

Once your child has progressed to table foods, serve dishes with seasonings that are part of your family food culture such as cinnamon, curry powder, chili powder, cilantro or garlic. Avoid highly spicy seasonings that could irritate the mouth or tongue such as cayenne pepper or hot sauce until your child is a bit older. Also, keep salt to a minimum so that your child gets used to the natural flavors of unsalted or lightly salted foods.