Have you ever heard of the flavour window for babies? What about the texture window? Read below to learn more about these important times in your child's first year.
Flavour Window: 4 - 6 Months
Studies show that babies are *most* open to trying new flavours from 4 - 6 months of age. Breastmilk and formula still play the major role in terms of nutrition at this time, but that doesn't mean that you can't expose your little one to all sorts of different flavours through taste, smell and touch.
Children naturally prefer sweet and smooth foods that are easy to eat, but the foods that fall into this category aren't always the best for their health. What's more, most children have an aversion to bitter tastes found in green vegetables and other nutrient-dense foods. Familiarizing your child with complex flavours and textures like bitter during this time, and throughout their first year, will not only make them more comfortable with these foods, it will lower there chances of picky eating in the toddler years.
Takeaway: Expose your little one to as many new flavours, especially bitter vegetable flavours, during this time. If you are breastfeeding, make sure to incorporate these flavours into your diet as well.
Texture Window: 6 - 10 Months
As mentioned before, children naturally prefer smooth foods, and texture is usually the driver for food aversions (think meat or fibrous veggies). From the age of 6 - 12 months your child is developing their oral-motor skills. Even without teeth, children use their gums and tongues to chew and move food around their mouths. A 2001 longitudinal study showed that exposing children to textured food before 10 months decreased fussiness towards textured foods at 15 months and the children had fewer feeding issues at 7 years (1). Talk about a long term impact!
Takeaway: Expose your little one to as many new textures--think chewy, gelatinous, hard, soft, and lumpy--during this time. Some of our favourite textured foods are tofu, chickpeas, hummus, eggs (scrambled and hard boiled), spinach, broccoli, and mushrooms.
At Pureyay, our goal is to introduce your child to more than 100 flavours and textures in their first year and help them become lifelong confident eaters. Our meals have a wide variety of textures and flavours that rotate seasonally and feature different herbs and spices. Each week's blends menu has at least 20 flavours, adding up to nearly 100 flavours each month. And advancing from our smooth, to chunky, to mashable finger food blends allows your child to develop the oral motor skills.
(1) Northstone, K., Emmett, P., Nethersole, F., & ALSPAC Study Team. Avon Longitudinal Study of Pregnancy and Childhood. (2001, February). The effect of age of introduction to lumpy solids on foods eaten and reported feeding difficulties at 6 and 15 months. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11301932