Weaning is an exciting time for both babies and parents. Exploring new tastes and textures after living on milk for 6 months. There are certain foods that your baby will love from the beginning, Lucas loved bananas and sweet potato to begin with before moving onto more fish and meat tastes aswel. He didn’t think much of carrots or anything stringy, he still won’t eat anything stringy whether it is a fruity sweet or spaghetti.
A survey, launched by Organix, reveals that one of the biggest barriers to introducing new foods during weaning is baby’s facial expression in response to new tastes.
It can be challenging to introduce new foods during weaning and the faces babies pull can be interpreted by parents as disgust or dislike at what they are trying, which can make it all the harder.
The Organix weaning survey reveals:
• More than half (55%) of mums say a baby’s facial expression puts them off trying to encourage their baby to like a new taste and flavour.
• 49% say it’s a struggle to keep babies interested in food.
• 42% say they find it hard to get babies to try new foods during weaning.
From sweet carrot to sour lemon and bitter broccoli, weaning is the beginning of a taste adventure, the first opportunity for your baby to explore and experience taste sensations. Evidence shows that it can take between 10 and 15 times to introduce a new food or flavour and that learning about food is all about familiarity and repetition. So by understanding more about their babies’ facial expressions, parents are likely to feel more confident about introducing new foods.
In response to the research, Organix has commissioned Vivien Sabel, Clinical Psychotherapist and body language expert, to help parents interpret and understand their little one’s facial expressions, rather than being put off.
Vivien Sabel, Clinical Psychotherapist and body language expert, says, “Just as we learn to interpret our baby’s signals when they’re sleepy, hungry, happy or windy, we can also read what those eye, brow, mouth, lip and tongue movements say about a new taste too.
“For example, what mums and dads might interpret as a look of shock or disgust, doesn’t necessarily translate as not liking the taste, what’s more likely is that baby is puzzled by the intensity of a new flavour. A surprised expression could be curiosity about the depth of flavour, the chances are they think the flavour is good but it’s very different to what they’ve eaten before – it’s all part of them experiencing and learning new tastes on their weaning journey.”
Top tips from Vivien Sabel:
• Look out for all of your baby’s non-verbal cues and expressions, they can support your baby and you through weaning and trying new foods.
• Observe your baby’s expression and mirror it back to your baby as a way of saying you understand their communication.
• Remember babies do what babies see! They are like sponges and soak up everything you do, if you look like you’re enjoying the food, your baby is likely to copy you.
• The more time you spend observing your baby the more you’ll understand what they’re communicating.
Ideas for Weaning Fun – by Lucy Thomas, Organix’ Children’s Food Expert
• Finger popping purée: have some fun with Organix fruit pots and explore new tastes and textures at the same time. Dip your fingertips into the pot so they’re covered in the brightly coloured purée (Organix Apple & Blueberry is lovely and bright), then suck the purée off your fingers with a loud popping sound followed by a big smile. Then help your baby do the same – if easier pop a spoonful of purée on their highchair tray for them to dip their fingers in.
• Matching pairs: match a finger food with a purée, such as Organix carrot sticks as a dipper with carrot purée, you could try a soft cooked carrot baton too. It’s a great way to offer the same vegetable in lots of different ways for baby to try without masking the real flavour.
• Tiny taste explorer: offer your baby small taste experiences throughout the day, to introduce them to new tastes. Try a lick of the lemon slice from your water, a sprinkle of cinnamon on their apple purée, a hint of curry powder in their parsnip mash or a pinch of nutmeg in some Organix banana porridge.
• Mirror image: babies are fascinated by their reflection, even though they can’t recognise themselves! Hold a mirror in front of them whilst they’re eating or holding a finger food, it’s a great activity when you’re introducing something new, watch how their expression changes.
For lots more weaning advice, weaning recipes – from purées to finger foods – and to download your free copy of the Organix Little Book of Weaning, visit Organix.
I’ve teamed up with Organix to offer 5 lucky winners a £20 bundle of their baby foods. Organix has created weaning foods with a variety of tastes, shapes and textures to encourage your baby’s curiosity about food.