This is a good question and one I frequently get asked both in weaning workshops and in individual consultations. Babies actually start ‘tasting’ foods in utero, so the more food variety a pregnant mum can eat, the better. Breast fed babies will also have tasted the foods that their mum eats through her breast milk.
We know that babies are born with a particular ‘liking’ for sweet tasting foods, as breast milk and formula have a ‘sweetish’ taste. When you introduce solids to your baby, this is an ideal opportunity to ‘expand their palates’ so that they learn to like the taste of vegetables and other savoury foods.
Research has shown that the best foods to start with are vegetables, especially green, bitter tasting vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, kale, green bean, peas or chard, as a few examples. You can also offer other colour vegetables such as sweet potatoes, cooked carrots, potatoes and swede. Try to offer as much of a variety as possible so that your baby eats vegetables from across the rainbow of colours available.
It is also very important from 6 months of age to offer iron rich foods to your baby alongside vegetables and starchy foods (see below and next post in the series for further information on iron).
*offer vitamin C rich foods alongside these vegetarian sources of iron, to improve the absorption