Designed for busy moms, FlavorBaby uses the power of Early Flavor Learning (EFL) to help parents raise children to be healthy, adventurous eaters.
FlavorBaby uses and evidence-based approach vetted by our esteemed panel of experts which includes doctors, researchers, registered dietitians, lactation consultants, chefs, and moms.
FlavorBaby divides vegetables into flavor families and then suggests a “Flavor of the Day" so you can choose only the vegetables you love most.
Pregnancy is a great time to begin training your baby to like vegetables. A baby’s sense of taste and smell are fully formed 3-4 months after conception, which means she experiences the flavors of everything mommy eats. Baby’s brain is being “imprinted” with the foods she knows to be safe, familiar and emotionally satisfying. It is nature’s way of helping children to learn in advance to accept and like the foods they’ll eat later in life.
Use the FlavorBaby app to select and eat one vegetable from a different flavor category each day. Beyond that you’re free to eat anything else you feel is healthy and appropriate, knowing that the USDA recommends two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables per day.
Breastfeeding is an optimal time to begin teaching your baby to like vegetables. Nursing babies experience the flavors of their mother’s diet via breast milk. In fact, researchers refer to breastfeeding as the “flavor bridge,” serving to bridge the gap from the flavors a baby experiences in utero to the flavors she will experience during her transition to solid foods.
- use the app to select a vegetable from the day’s flavor category
- eat a serving of that day’s vegetable
- eat anything else you feel is healthy and appropriate
By using the app to select and eat at least one vegetable per day from the day’s flavor category, you’ll be ensuring that your baby experiences vegetable flavors with variety and repetition. Developing your baby’s future palate so she becomes a healthy, adventurous eater in the months and years to come.
Research shows that babies can learn to like bitter tastes (like vegetables) while formula feeding. At about four months of age* you can begin teaching your baby to like vegetables by adding a tiny amount of vegetable puree to baby’s bottle once per day. While the idea of mixing vegetable flavors with milk might sound terrible to us as adults, it’s similar to the way most babies taste vegetables for the first time through breast milk.
To practice this form of Early Flavor Learning, at around 4 months of age begin adding ½ tsp of very smooth, home-made vegetable puree to 4 ounces baby’s formula once per day. Mix the puree and formula well in baby’s bottle by shaking just prior to feeding.
- Stick to formula only for the first 4 months, then begin adding puree
- Add ½ tsp of puree to a 4 ounce bottle of formula once per day
- Use the app to provide the proper variety and rotation
By using the FlavorBaby app to provide Early Flavor Learning, you’ll be teaching your baby to enjoy vegetables, as well as, giving her a break from the monotony of drinking a single flavor of formula!
Remember, the goal is to introduce a very small taste of a vegetable once per day – just a tiny flavor experience. So, keep it small and watch as she begins to enjoy the flavors of vegetables!
*Most pediatric guidelines recommend that solid foods be introduced at 6 months of age. Puree in this case is intended to provide flavor exposure only. Formula (or breast milk preferably) should be baby’s only source of nutrition until ready to begin weaning (at about 6 months). Keep the puree flavor exposure proportions consistent until that time: ½ tsp. puree to 4 oz. formula, once per day. Do not add puree to formula if your baby has a protein allergy or is being fed protein hydrolysate formula. Also, you may notice that vegetables from the “Bitter + Spicy” flavor category are not recommended during this time and will not appear in the rotation during the Formula Feeding life stage in the app.
Research has shown that a gradual introduction to vegetables at the beginning of the weaning process (we call this Veggie Priming) is a successful way to get children to like vegetables and become more adventurous eaters, for life. Veggie Priming takes 36 days to complete and requires only that you puree and freeze four fresh vegetables before starting.
Here’s how Veggie Primer works (36 days in three 12-day cycles):
First 12 days: 1 spoonful vegetable puree mixed with 1 spoonful baby’s usual milk (1:1) and tasted one time per day.
Middle 12 days: 2 spoonfuls vegetable puree mixed with 1 spoonful of baby's usual milk (2:1) and 1-2 times per day.
Final 12 days: 100% vegetable puree is fed to baby 2-3 times per day.
Use the FlavorBaby app to select which puree to serve each day.
Continue through each of the three 12-day cycles and the next thing you know you’ll have a child that loves vegetables and will grow up to be a healthy adventurous eater for life.
*Note: Some parents like to follow the 3-4 day wait rule to test to allergens. The 3-4 day wait rule does not apply to vegetables (with the exception of celery root) because vegetables very rarely cause allergic reactions. If you’d like to follow the 3-4 four day wait rule, a good time to start is upon finishing the 36-day Veggie Primer Period.
After completing the introduction of vegetable purees (Veggie Primer Period), it’s time to move on to mixtures, chunkier purees and finger foods.
Focus on providing one at least vegetable flavor once each day (in rotation using this app) during the Early Eater Period. Mixtures are fine, just make sure the target vegetable is the dominant flavor. In other words, if broccoli is your target vegetable, it’s ok to serve a baby food mixture of broccoli and pears or yams, just make sure broccoli is the primary flavor and can easily be tasted by baby (a good test is to taste it yourself).
Continue the course of providing vegetable flavors in rotation using the Flavrbaby app and soon you’ll be ready to introduce “grown up foods” at around 9-10 months.
At around 10 months of age, your baby is ready to move on to toddler foods and the final period of Early Flavor Learning.
During this time you should continue to focus on providing your child with at least one vegetable flavor each day in accordance with the app, but you can now select from adult foods. Smashed and mashed vegetables, pasta, lean meats, yogurt, cottage cheese and boiled eggs can all be introduced. You can also add starchy foods like noodles.
- focus on providing one vegetable flavor each day using the app
- vegetable mixtures are fine if the target vegetable is the primary flavor
- baby can now eat adult foods that are smashed or mashed appropriately
- avoid choking hazards like raw veggie, nuts, popcorn, whole grapes, etc.
Remember to try and always maintain a positive and loving tone when feeding baby, especially when new foods are introduced. Continue to encourage healthy eating and the flavors of vegetables. Try not to react negatively or show frustration.
- during each feeding, try at least three times if baby appears to reject or is surprised by the taste
- reassure and gently suggest in a calm positive manner
- be persistent: use the Trial Tracker in this app to track likes and dislikes for up to 12 feedings
Continue to use the Flavorbaby app to introduce vegetable flavors in rotation, one each day. The flavors you teach your baby to enjoy during this time will be the flavors they continue to love for the rest of their lives.
Download the iPhone app, choose a Life Stage, and start your baby's flavor learning journey today for a lifetime of healthy eating tomorrow!