Babies sometimes act like they have very strong opinions about food. What is going on in their heads? Do they really hate green beans? Or do you like rice porridge? Do children prefer bland food or do they like certain spices? Do children perceive tastes in the same way as adults? Do they perceive what we do not see? Fascinating research offers answers. For example, experiments show that opens in a new window Baby food preferences can start in the womb. There is also evidence that children become accustomed to the food flavors they encounter in their milk or formula. We also know that children are affected by the behavior of demonstrators. When they see someone else eating food, it may make them more receptive to it.
And no, babies don’t necessarily prefer bland food. They don’t even prefer soft breast milk! In an experiment on 3-month-old babies, Julie Mennella and her team asked breastfeeding mothers to eat garlic and then watched their babies’ reactions. When the concentration of garlic in their mothers’ breast milk reached its maximum concentration, the babies suckled longer. In this way, science can help us better understand our children’s reactions to food. Here are some tips for understanding your child’s table manners.
New Food Introductions: Don’t Give Up Just Because Your Baby Makes a Funny face! This seems to be one of those times when grandma was right: kids do make all sorts of faces when they try new, solid foods, even if that food is destined to become a favorite. In an experiment with infants just beginning to transition from rice porridge to other forms of infant formula, researchers recorded the facial expressions of infants tasting pureed green beans for the first time. These were the most common reactions.