Teaching your baby to eat and enjoy a variety of quality nutritious foods will help your little one develop good eating habits. During the weaning window, from about six months to around 18 months, is when the foundations for your child’s taste map for life are nurtured.
Weaning is a gradual process where your baby will learn to eat and love food. It’s also the best time for learning about new tastes and textures, so is an important time for offering your baby a variety of different nutritious foods to give them a healthy balanced diet and support their development.
Getting baby to try and recognise new tastes
According to Dr Gillian Harris, leading Paediatric Clinical Psychologist at the Birmingham Children's Hospital, the more foods introduced in this early weaning period the better the outcome, as your baby accepts foods more easily and with fewer exposures. It’s not just about getting your baby onto solid foods, but getting them to enjoy different tastes and textures.
Dr Gillian Harris explains: a preference for a food has to be learned through recognition of that food. With time children begin to recognise foods and know what to expect when they eat different meals, which gives them more confidence with food. What’s important is the number of meals you offer that new taste, not the quantity your baby eats at each meal. So there’s really no need to put pressure on your baby to eat something if he has grimaced in surprise at the taste. What you’re doing is giving your baby the chance to learn to like that food.
According to Dr Gillian Harris, infants have an inborn preference for a sweet taste, which ensures they start life with a preference for the sweet taste of breast milk. All other taste preferences are learned and modified by exposure throughout infancy, and into later life.
Be patient and keep trying
She advises, mums should be patient, there’s no need to worry if your baby rejects the food offered, simply try again after a few days. It can take up to 13 attempts for your baby to accept a new taste.
Experimenting with tastes and textures is key. Your baby trusts you to give them safe foods. It’s the perfect opportunity for them to learn to like the taste of foods you enjoy as a family and want them to eat when they are toddlers, for example fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, pulses and starchy foods, such as potatoes, rice, pasta and breakfast cereals.
By offering foods in rotation during the weaning process you are more likely to get your baby to accept a new food, because each time it will be another opportunity for your baby to learn to like that taste. However, your baby may need to taste something several times to reassure himself he likes it. Ensure you offer a variety of known and new foods, as giving just one new food for periods at a time will make your baby more wary of new foods when they are offered. Variety is key to prevent your baby from getting bored and refusing to eat the foods he used to love.
The building blocks of nutrition
Already a favourite with mums, the delicious range of organic foods from Organix are an easy way to introduce your baby to a wide range of foods. Choose from simple tastes and smooth textures during first weaning, through to more adventurous tastes and chunky textures to help expand your baby’s palate as he grows.
Whether you’re starting out, adding variety or getting adventurous, try some of these new tasty meals and vegetable dishes - real food just like you would cook yourself. Handy ready prepared recipes that are convenient for busy mums.
♣ First tastes: New 100% Veg Pouches, perfect for first weaning and introducing your baby to the real taste of vegetables. Made with 100% organic vegetables, with nothing else added to them, it’s a smooth puree that tastes exactly as it should. The convenient pouch also means you can squeeze the puree straight onto a spoon, perfect if you’re out and about. Choose from three delicious Stage 1 recipes: Organic Parsnips, Spinach & Broccoli; Organic Butternut Squash, Sweetcorn & Carrots; Organic Sweet Potato, Red Peppers & Swede.
♣ Exciting tastes: new delicious and nutritious jar recipes will tempt your baby’s taste buds – For Stage 1 Cottage Pie with Butternut Squash and Oaty Apple Crumble; Veg & Chicken Masala with Wholegrain Rice Stage 2; and Stage 3 Spaghetti Bolognese.
♣ Tempting tastes: these organic savoury pots are steam cooked to lock the goodness of the real ingredients in. Tasty recipes suitable from 7 months plus include Pasta Stars with Bolognese Sauce; Potato, Chicken and Herb Casserole; Beef and Parsnip Mash - real recipes that taste as they should - like you’d cook yourself. Perfect at this key stage of development for teaching your baby to enjoy a variety of stronger tastes and new foods.
Mum will also love the Organix ‘No Junk Promise’, reassurance the foods you’re weaning your baby on are safe, pure and nutritious. Why not try them yourself?
For practical weaning advice visit www.organix.com.