modern baby food and the “flavor window”

man, there are some really inventive baby food companies out there. startups that are marketing things like caviar, bone broth and quinoa to six-month-olds. i was introduced to one of the more innovative baby food services through well rounded, a digital magazine i contribute to. on their menu were things like salmon roe and falafel. cool, i thought — but do babies really need this?

a quick google search showed me a dozen other baby food start ups with similar menus. i wondered: is this just fancy, flavor-forward labeling that’s really designed to tempt the hip parent into buying, or do babies really benefit from these complex flavor blends.

i did some research and found out that there’s a “flavor window” babies experience from four to seven months — the ideal time to introduce your baby’s palate to as many flavors as possible. researchers say that four to seven month window is when babies are most accepting of new flavors and start to really solidify flavor memories, making it more likely they’ll remember and love a variety of flavors even as an adult.

i pitched the story to a newspaper i write for and they gave me the green light. here’s the story, if you’re interested in learning more. it’s all pretty interesting, especially if you have a baby you hope won’t grow up into a chicken-nuggets-only kind of kid. there’s also a book on the subject if you’d really like to dig in.

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