Hypoallergenic formulas often have a different taste and smell to breast milk, regular infant formulas and cow's milk.1 Understanding how babies' taste preferences develop can help when introducing these formulas. From birth, babies learn about food by associating their own experiences with different tastes.2
When babies feel comfortably full or energised after eating, they will make a positive association with that particular food, especially if they were hungry beforehand.3Tip for parents: try to choose a time when your baby is hungry before introducing new tastes.
Once we have learned to like a particular flavour, we are more inclined to like new flavours if they are combined with the familiar one. This is called flavour-flavour learning.4 Tip for parents: introduce new tastes with familiar ones rather than on their own.
Babies learn to like things they know. Tasting the same food over and over again breaks down resistance to the new taste.2 Studies have shown that it can take 10 times to accept a new taste.2Tip for parents: don’t give up. Give your baby time to get used to new tastes.
Role models and environment
Babies learn by watching the reactions of other people around them. Family disagreements at the dinner table are quite likely to put them off. But a happy atmosphere is more likley to encourage them to eat.2 Tip for parents: try to stay positive at feeding times.
You can download our taste booklet for parents here.