The short answer here is to try, try and try again
When you think about it, it’s quite understandable that babies are wary of foods during the weaning process. The sight, smell, texture and taste are all new to them. Even sitting in a chair with a bib on and food coming towards them can be overwhelming!
The wariness is usually more pronounced with bitter flavours, particularly green vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, green beans, spinach, green peppers. We are all born with a preference towards sweet tasting foods and this is usually enhanced by the natural sweetness of breastmilk (or formula milk). So when it comes it comes to vegetables, especially the green ones, it’s very normal to expect some quite disgusted facial expressions and possibly a few shudders! It’s a very new flavour and one that our body tells us to be wary of (in hunter gatherer times bitter flavours meant harmful or poisonous foods).
So what should we do about it?
There are many studies which conclude that offering vegetables early in the weaning process can help to improve the acceptance of these foods later on. If you are starting to wean your little one it’s a good idea to think about introducing a variety of different vegetables, one at a time at first, before branching out to sweeter flavours such as fruits.
Repeated exposure is also key and there are many studies that also demonstrate how trying again with foods (even as many as 10+ times) is the best way to increase the acceptance of a food. So, in short, keep trying. If a food is refused one day don’t be put off trying it again a few days later and then a few days later again. The more exposures the more acceptance and this applies to any foods, not just the bitter ones.
Make eye contact, smile and try to be relaxed when you feed your baby. They will be encouraged and reassured by your body language.
You could also try eating together as another way of reassuring and encouraging your baby. Smiling and making yummy noises as you eat will demonstrate that food is fun and enjoyable.
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