Is that a look of disgust on your baby’s face? A new survey has found that babies’ facial expressions are putting parents off introducing new foods.
The survey, launched by leading baby food brand Organix, revealed that one of the biggest obstacles to weaning is the funny faces baby’s pull in response to new tastes.
More than half (55%) of the mums questioned admitted that their baby’s facial expression will put them off trying to encourage them to like a new taste and flavour. A further 42 per cent said they find it hard to get their babies to try new foods.
Weaning can often seem like a challenge, especially in the early days, and all those strange expressions make it difficult to know whether a food is being accepted.
For babies used to the sweet taste of milk, bitter brussel sprouts and sour citrus fruits can come as a shock. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t learning to enjoy the new flavour. Evidence shows that it can take between 10 and 15 times attempts when introducing new foods and tastes.
Understanding babies’ facial expressions during weaning
Vivien Sabel, Clinical Psychotherapist and body language expert, explains that not every grimace is a sign that a baby dislikes a new food.
She said: “Just as we learn to interpret our baby’s signals when they’re sleepy, hungry, happy or windy, we can also read what those eye, brow, mouth, lip and tongue movements say about a new taste too.
“For example, what mums and dads might interpret as a look of shock or disgust, doesn’t necessarily translate as not liking the taste, what’s more likely is that baby is puzzled by the intensity of a new flavour.
“A surprised expression could be curiosity about the depth of flavour, the chances are they think the flavour is good but it’s very different to what they’ve eaten before – it’s all part of them experiencing and learning new tastes on their weaning journey.”
Vivien Sabel’s top tips for weaning:
- Keep an eye out for all of your baby’s non-verbal cues and expressions; they can guide you and your baby through the weaning experience.
- Watch your baby’s expression and mirror it back to them to show that understand what they are trying to communicate.
- Remember: monkey see, monkey do! Babies will soak up and copy everything you do. If you look like you’re enjoying the food, your baby may well copy you.
- Spend time observing your baby and you’ll soon understand about what they’re communicating.
For more weaning advice, weaning recipes – from purées to finger foods – and to download your free copy of the Organix Little Book of Weaning, you can visit www.organix.com or follow #realfoodface