Friday, July 16, 2010

Give Your Newborn Baby TASTES of Real Food

By Julia Moravcsik, PhD, author of Teach Your Child to Love Healthy Food

Flavors in Breastmilk Teach Babies the Taste of Food

Believe it or not, babies actually learn how food tastes in the first four months of their lives, before you even feed them solid food! They learn these tastes from breastmilk.

The food that you eat finds its way into your milk, flavoring it. If you eat garlic, your milk will have a faint taste of garlic. If you eat carrots, your milk will have a faint taste of carrots.

Babies use this subtle information to learn lifelong taste preferences. The faint flavors of breastmilk are telling them which foods are safe and nutritious. If Mom has eaten these foods and survived, these foods have passed the test. Nature has given babies a valuable tool for learning to like safe and nutritious foods which will be part of their diets in upcoming years.

Formula-Fed Babies Are Missing Out on Valuable Lessons

Formula-fed babies have a disadvantage. The taste of formula is the same at each meal. These babies don't experience the subtle tastes of garlic, carrots, or broccoli, so they don't learn to like these healthy tastes in the early, formative weeks of their lives.

Scientists have found that formula-fed babies are pickier eaters later on in life because they don't get these valuable taste lessons in their formative years.

Giving Tastes of Healthy Foods Helps Babies Like Them For the Rest of Their Lives

Both formula-fed and breastfed babies can learn healthy tastes in their early weeks if you give them TASTES of real food. Here's what I mean by a taste. A taste is not a spoonful, or even a dab. A taste is a tiny smear, so small that it is barely taste-able. Put a tiny smear on the mouthpiece of the bottle. Breastfeeding moms can smear it on their skin where the baby latches on.

Give TASTES, Not Servings

Your doctor may have told you not to feed your child solid food until 4 months. They are correct. However, this is not feeding. It is tasting.

Doctors don't like to encourage early feeding of solid foods for these reasons.
  • They're concerned about choking.
  • They're concerned that feeding solid food will make babies drink less milk.
  • They're afraid that early feeding will cause allergies.
Because you're only giving a TINY amount, babies won't choke or drink less milk.

Add Tiny Amounts to Formula

You can also add tiny amounts of food to formula. Make sure the consistency is as thin as milk so your baby doesn't choke. 

Early Tastings Don't Cause Allergies

The concern about allergies is very interesting because recent research has made it controversial. Scientists used to think that feeding a baby a food early in life would cause an allergy to that food. The rationale was that babies' immature immune systems would overreact.

However, recent research has found exactly the opposite! Many recent studies (including this one and this one) have found that giving young babies food seems to prevent allergies to that food.

More importantly for your mission to teach your baby to like healthy foods, feeding babies solid food early seems to make them less picky later on in life. Children who start eating solid food after six months are pickier than children who start eating solid food early because they don't experience food tastes in their formative years. And children that are pickier are more likely to eat junk food instead of healthy food.

How Much To Give

Give your baby a tiny, tiny taste of healthy foods like a drop of carrot juice, a speck of mashed avocado, or a tiny smidgen of juice from a ripe peach.

Your goal is to only give him enough so that he tastes the food.

Make sure the consistency of the food is similar to milk so that your baby does not choke. You can mix foods like avocado with milk until it is runny and then put a drop or two in your babies mouth.

Would you like a simple, easy-to-follow program that will teach your child to love healthy food? See my new book Teach Your Child to Love Healthy Food on amazon.com.

Here Are Some Other Ways To Help Your Child Learn to Love Healthy Foods

Let Your Child Smell Flavorful Foods
Feeding Your Child Healthy Food Now Can Help Him Years Later

Children Like the Food They Grow Up With 

See the Latest Article... 

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17 comments:

  1. I have been doing this all along. Thank you for showing me the science behind giving babies tastes of foods.

    ReplyDelete
  2. i came to ur site looking for one answer that no one seems to put in any of the sites. its a simple question. and proble what everyone wants to know. at what age? and what types of things are good for them to taste. u havent meantioned either. my boy is 5 weeks. can i dip his binky or let him taste somthing from my finger... these are things people wana know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My daughter is 5 weeks to give her little taste of alsorts on her lips to lick of like yoghurt custard gravy an I even let her taste some bbq sauce only a little smear tho

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