On this site, we often talk about the importance of introducing our little ones to a wide range of tastes and textures. As well as ensuring our babies are receiving a broad spectrum of nutrients, this approach also prevents “fussy eating” – tots who are already enjoying lots of different healthy foods are far less likely to be picky eaters later on and are much more open to trying new foods as those foods become appropriate for them.
Traditionally, parents have been taught that food for babies has to be bland – and if you’ve ever sampled a jar of commercially prepared baby food, then you’ll know that most baby food companies follow this advice to the letter!
Yet more and more parents – and, indeed, the medical profession – are realizing that babies actually ENJOY stronger flavours, seasonings and “exotic” foods. The important thing to remember is that seasoning does NOT necessarily mean salt, which can be dangerous for a young baby and should not be added to his food. But “seasoning” can be a range of herbs, spices… even garlic, all of which can transform your baby’s bland fare into something truly delicious!
It is also interesting to look at the cultural differences in the introduction of food to babies around the world. In the west, we are often told to introduce foods in a certain order – usually infant rice first, fruits and veggies next, then meats. But this isn’t the way it’s done everywhere – and you certainly wouldn’t be alone in wondering why we are told to stick to such a rigid schedule when babies from other cultures do perfectly well on a very different feeding regime.
Take a look at this fascinating article from La Leche League, which really gets you thinking and makes you realize that a bit of flexibility in your baby’s diet isn’t such a bad thing!
On a cautious note, it’s always important to seek your doctor’s approval before introducing new foods to your baby and it is vital, too, to take the risk of food allergy into consideration when adding new foods to your baby’s diet. Yes, many babies eat a variety of different foods at various stages of development, but food allergies can provoke severe reactions in a few children, so the risk should never be dismissed – particularly if there is a history of food allergy, asthma or eczema in your family.
Nevertheless, try to think beyond the routine mashed banana for your baby and don’t be afraid to allow him to fully explore the wonderful and exciting world of food!
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