Why my baby likes & dislikes certain foods
Our individual taste preferences
Children, and adults are all different; we have different taste preferences. Even siblings can have completely opposite favourite foods, and differing appetites. Some like sweet cakes and biscuits, others go for salty savoury snacks. This can be confusing, especially if you think you’ve parented them the same way.
Some taste preferences are unique to us as individuals, and some are built into us. For example, we are born with a preference for sweet foods, after all breastmilk is quite sweet. Foods rich in nutrients and calories like fruit would have been safe to eat when our ancestors foraged for food.
Bitter foods are sometimes a clue that the food is toxic so it’s natural for babies to avoid these tastes at first. After all, we have naturally evolved using these innate taste preferences to help us forage the right foods. However, don’t give up if your baby doesn’t like green veg, try to give a tiny taste up to 15 times.
Liking for salty foods is also universal from around 3-4 months old. Babies born to mothers who had severe morning sickness have been shown to demonstrate an enhanced preference for salty foods, due to the dehydration during pregnancy.
Flavours from the mother
Some flavours transmit to your baby during time inside their mother, especially flavours such as mint, garlic, carrot and caraway. Babies may have a preference for what you ate lots of during your pregnancy, as the amniotic fluid is a complex ‘first food’ with a range of tastes.
This doesn’t mean if you survived off crisps and cake that your baby will only eat those foods!
Babies may have an preference for sweet foods or things you loved in pregnancy, but what they start to eat and what they are exposed to in your family kitchen as you begin your weaning journey to family meals is now the most important thing for their future health.
If you’re breastfeeding your baby they will have a range of flavours from whatever you eat. This exposure to different tastes before food is introduced signals to the baby the mother’s diet is acceptable and preferred.
Weaning your little one is all about supporting a healthy attitude to food in your baby, not just about getting the nutrients in. To find out more about our classes and what we cover see our Weaning page, or book a class online. If you’d like a private class for a group of friends at your home please get in touch to ask us or email firstname.lastname@example.org.