Our sense of taste allows us to identify flavors as well as substances in saliva. Therefore, it’s very important to know how to stimulate a baby’s sense of taste at an early age.
Taste begins to develop during pregnancy through the amniotic fluid. The mother’s belly has the taste of different flavors received through this liquid.
In this way, the baby develops his lungs and digestive system during gestation, and he will begin to have more affinity for some flavors than for others.
Flavors sent from mother to baby
If the mother eats something sweet, spicy, salty and even acidic or bitter, the baby will taste it. And with that, he will have his first taste experiences, which will prepare him for the outside world.
During the baby’s first months, he’ll prefer sweet flavors over salty ones. This is why he favors breast milk and likely rejects acidic and salty flavors.
This is of vital importance. The duration of breastfeeding can affect the development of taste. If it’s prolonged, there will be no variety in the food that the baby consumes. The consequence may be that he isn’t willing to try different flavors and textures in the future.
Stimulating your baby’s sense of taste
There are different ways to stimulate your baby’s sense of taste in order for him to begin exploring the universe of flavors and textures that form everyday life. Some examples are:
Combining new and old flavors
Babies tend to prefer some flavors over others. Combining flavors that are familiar and pleasant with new flavors allows the baby to not immediately reject the new flavor.
A good idea is to offer the food to the baby several times so that he beings to like it and get used to it. It’s also important to offer varied foods, both in flavor and in texture, to avoid boring him.
Stimulate the baby’s sense of taste while avoiding expressions of distaste
Babies tend to develop their own tastes and attractions in terms of flavors. However, it’s important that you try to feed your baby each type of food regardless of your own personal affinity or dislike towards it.
Parents should avoid making expressions of distaste when tasting foods they don’t like, thus avoiding predisposing the baby towards disliking it too. This is especially the case when it comes to healthy meals.
Give objects with different textures
Over time, a baby brings everything to his mouth as part of his exploration process. That’s why it’s important to give him objects with different textures, colors or noises to encourage your baby to further develop his taste buds and explore the world of flavor.
This can be worrisome at first, because there must be constant adult supervision. There is a risk that the objects your baby puts in his mouth are dangerous, dirty or otherwise inappropriate.
Beware of salt and sugar
A baby’s kidneys aren’t well developed. It’s taxing to the kidneys at this age to process a lot of salt and sugar. Therefore, avoid spicing up foods, and try to give your baby healthier foods. Soft fruits and vegetables are a great choice to stimulate your baby’s sense of taste.
Go at your baby’s own pace
You have to be patient when giving new foods to babies. His own rhythm will define whether he can eat a little more after first taking a few small bites.
All babies develop differently, and some can accept new flavors faster than others. But you cannot fall into the trap of imposing a food on your baby or turning every meal into a battle.
We must remember that it may take several months for a baby to accept different flavors or to tolerate different textures.
To stimulate your baby’s sense of taste, you have to undertake the process as if it were just another fun activity.
If you have a concern about developing your baby’s sense of taste, be patient. The obstacles that arise are part of the baby’s process of learning and adapting to the world.