A Timeline for Preventing Pickiness from Pregnancy to 3 Years
Pickiness can be greatly reduced by repeated exposure, and this exposure can start much, much younger than you might think. We have created a timeline filled with information from baby experts and authors to ensure that your little one will be open to eating various flavors and foods.
Eat a varied diet, flavors will actually pass through into amniotic fluid. Strong flavors such as garlic, mint, vanilla, and carrot are easily passed through and can introduce your baby to flavors early on.
"Still in the womb, the growing baby gulps down several ounces of amniotic fluid daily. That fluid surrounding the baby is actually flavored by the foods and beverages the mother has eaten in the last few hours" - Gretchen Cuda-Kroen on NPR
It is also important to eat a varied diet while breastfeeding, flavors may also pass through into milk. This is described as nature's way of introducing children to new food that they will encounter later on in life.
"With mothers who breast-feed, there was a study done showing that if they drank a lot of carrot juice, when those babies first tasted solid food, they preferred cereal that was flavored with carrot juice. So the flavor of carrots goes into the [breast milk], the babies experience it, and then they have all of these wonderful, positive feelings about carrot. " - Bee Wilson
4 to 7 Months:
Beginning at 4 months, the “flavor window” opens up. Babies will be open to new flavors and even though not much nutrition needs to be derived from them, this early exposure can make them more open minded as toddlers.
According to Bee Wilson, author of First Bite, researchers who study the science of picky eating disagree with the recommendation of the World Health Organization, which currently says you should keep babies on an exclusive milk diet for up to 6 months.
She explains why babies on an exclusive milk diet during the first 6 months might be missing the boat when it comes to accepting new flavors:
"It's not that a child necessarily needs any nutrition besides milk before 6 months, it's that you're missing an opportunity to introduce them to all of these flavors which they would likely accept at this age. Then, having accepted them, they would seem familiar when they encounter them again as toddlers" - Bee Wilson
From 8 Months:
The flavor window is starting to close, so continue exposing your child to new foods, without the pressure to eat them in a “messy play” type scenario. These repeated exposures will continue building up the familiarity that’s needed to accept the food.
"It's not that the flavor window then flips shut ... and we can never learn to love bitter green vegetables. Humans can learn to love new flavors at any age " - Bee Wilson
1 to 3 Years
Expect pickiness to develop. It’s both genetic and instinctual. Continue trying food without the pressure to eat, but also start hiding veggies. Though texture will be lost, flavor exposure will still happen, and of course nutrition as well.
"Adding puréed vegetables to favorite foods led 3- to 6-year-olds to consume almost twice as many vegetables (and 11 percent fewer calories) over the course of a day. The preschoolers also accepted the dishes enhanced with vegetables as much as the dishes served in their regular form" -Barbara Rolls, PhD
Key to the 1 to 3 Year Window:We designed a refillable squeeze pouch (which can be pre-ordered here on Kickstarter) specifically to help you sneak more veggies into your toddler’s diet.
We rely upon pre-orders from Kickstarter to bring this product to life and make it right here in the USA. If you pre-order on Kickstarter, you’ll receive the cup in October.