Your babys sense of taste is natures way to make her consume food and thus gain nutrients and energy. Your understanding of your babys sense of taste can help you to provide the right kind of stimuli for her taste buds at the right phases of her growth and development.
Last Updated: 22 October 2020
Similar to other sense developments, your baby’s sense of taste begins to develop during pregnancy and continues to undergo rapid growth and changes after birth, and through the first year. Your baby’s taste buds begin to form as early as nine weeks of your pregnancy. And, by the time she’s born, she has already tasted different foods – from chocolate fudge to sushi, most of what you had in pregnancy.
Amniotic fluid which surrounds your little bundle during pregnancy allows her to smell and taste the food which you eat. Sweetness is the first taste your baby will experience in the womb and it is one of the reasons why babies show a preference for sweets.
Research studies show that babies born to mothers who have a good spread of food varieties during pregnancy are less likely to grow up to fussy-eating toddlers. Exposure to different tastes of foods in pregnancy builds a healthy relationship to food in the unborn baby. If you are pregnant or planning to conceive soon, you just know what to do, to save yourself from difficult feeding times in the future!Your baby’s sense of taste at birth
By birth, your baby’s taste buds are developed enough to distinguish between foods that are sweet, bitter and sour. The number of taste buds on her tongue continues to increase, which will allow her to experience other tastes of food in the coming months. Salty foods are almost the last ones she will recognize, at around 4 months.
If you choose to breastfeed your baby, breast milk will be the first food she will taste. Its sweetness brings a natural affinity in babies for breast milk. When you place your baby close to your breasts, she will know her way to your nipples. This is because your baby’s sense of taste is closely associated with that of smell. The smell of breast milk stimulates her taste buds making her to turn towards your breasts.
Like amniotic fluid, breast milk also serves to your baby, the tastes of foods which you eat. The taste of breast milk keeps changing, according to the food you eat. Including a rich diet of fruits, vegetables, herbs, fish and spices is going to make your baby familiarize with different tastes. Studies show that babies who are breastfed for long, adapt to different tastes of food as they grow, than those who are not.Helping your baby’s taste development at the time of weaning
By around six months, most babies are ready for solid foods. As your baby begins to experience tastes of actual food in addition through the breast milk, she begins to develop her own set of likes and dislikes of food. Preference for tastes is known to be linked to genetics and family preferences. So, remember, if you are going to keep the olives aside from your pasta, your baby may try to follow you. The more you show interest towards healthy foods, the more you will be passing this quality to your child.
In order to make the weaning process smooth, follow basic rules of weaning like one new food at a time and mashed food until she begins to swallow food without choking. Within the choices of early food, expose your baby to touch, smell and taste a wide variety. Increase the variety as she gradually becomes ready for finger foods.
It is quite natural that babies may show dislike to certain tastes of food when they begin solids. It is recommended to try such foods for around 15 times before labeling it as her not-fond-of food item. It is important to keep in mind that babies’ taste preferences are known to change from time to time. What she refused to eat a few months ago may become her favorite dish in the coming week. So, it is good to keep your observations and mind open with your baby’s sense of taste.Taste sense through toddlerhood
Making toddlers have healthy food can be a daunting task for parents, more so with fussy eaters. It may so happen that foods that your toddler fondly had as a baby have turned to her dislike now. It requires on the part of parents to try a number of tricks sometimes to make toddlers have nutritious food. A few ways to make your baby’s sense of taste friendly to healthy foods is to involve her in small cooking tasks, make variations of the same dish according to her taste buds, create interesting stories around healthy foods and making family meal times exciting to her.