Making Parenting Easier
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Sensory Weaning and Awakening your Baby’s Five Senses

Our five senses guide us through every experience, helping us understand and interact with the world around us. Sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch shape our perception of food and textures.

As babies begins their weaning journey, it’s important to consider how we introduce them to the vast world of flavours and sensations. Exploring solids is a major milestone, and engaging the five senses during and outside of mealtimes can make this journey memorable and impactful.

Sensory Weaning and Awakening your Baby’s Five Senses

Why do we need to consider the 5 senses?

Enhancing your baby’s eating experience through their senses can aid in developing preferences and decision-making skills. Stimulating their senses of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch is crucial for optimal brain development, allowing them to form perceptions and memories during their early years.

When introducing food, creating a positive relationship is key. Factors like size, shape, colour, temperature, and texture influence your baby’s initial reactions. It’s important to remember that babies may need up to 15 exposures to accept new flavours or textures!

How to incorporate the 5 senses when weaning

Incorporating the five senses into your baby’s weaning process doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here are some practical ways to engage each sense during this important stage:

Sight (👁️): Consider the appearance of the food

Choose foods that are colourful, varied in shape, and appropriate in size for your baby’s developmental stage. Brightly coloured fruits and vegetables like carrots, peas, and strawberries can be visually appealing and enticing. Even getting creative with vegetable cutters to produce fun shapes and animals will really enhance the eating experience.

Smell (👃🏻): Allow your baby to explore different scents

Let your baby smell different ingredients before and during meal preparation. This can help them become familiar with the natural aromas of foods and enhance their interest in trying new flavours. For example, fresh and dried ingredients such as lemon vs lemon rind/any citrus fruit, fresh herbs vs. dried herbs

Sound (👂🏼): Introduce foods with interesting textures

Offer foods that make distinct sounds when touched, crushed, or chewed. For example, crispy crackers, crunchy vegetables like celery or cucumber, or foods with seeds like berries can provide auditory stimulation.

Taste (👅): Offer a variety of flavours

Start with simple, mild tastes and gradually introduce new and more complex flavours. Experiment with fruits, vegetables, and mild spices to expand their palate. Also allow your baby to experience fruits and vegetables in different forms (ensure they are size appropriate for your baby’s age) e.g. grated, spiralised, ribboned, sticks. Each form will vary in taste and smell due to the nature of how the plant cells have been cut therefore releasing different quantities of aroma volatiles.

Touch (✋🏽): Encourage edible messy play

Present your baby with more than one texture at mealtimes, this doesn’t always have to be something they are ingesting it could just be something they are feeling, such as cooked pasta, mashed potatoes, or soft fruits. Allowing them to experience different temperatures by offering warm and cold foods can be beneficial. Also, offering your baby whole fruits – melon, orange, apple – each have different skins and textures and to a certain extent smells depending on ripeness.

It can take up to 15 exposures for your baby to accept a new ingredient!

3 steps to help you get into the ‘sensory mindset’

In order to make the most of each of your baby’s five senses, we recommend trying to get into the ‘Sensory Mindset’. Thinking about the following 3 main elements during mealtimes will help to create an optimal sensory environment for your little one to explore:

  1. Plate/Bowl/Tray – the medium on which your baby will be eating from is key as this is where food will be presented. We suggest a neutral colour so the appearance of food stands out and selecting a shape which will create a positive experience for your baby – animal shapes are popular!
  2. Food – always think about the food that is being served, strive to create a balanced plate and ‘eat the rainbow’.
  3. Surroundings – where safe, allow your baby to be part of the process. Cook with your baby, let him/her listen to all the sizzles and sounds, watch you prepare vegetables and even having a little taste.
  • Baby Brezza Food Maker Deluxe

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  • Baby Brezza Food Maker Deluxe

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Keep in mind that each baby is unique, so observe their reactions and preferences as you introduce new sensory experiences. By incorporating sensory experiences into your baby’s weaning journey, you can make mealtimes enjoyable and enriching, setting a positive foundation for their relationship with food.