From Taste to Communication with Your Baby

Although this may seem difficult to believe, it is a fact that your newborn’s sense of smell is more acute at birth than at any other time in his life.  This is an example of “inborn” reflex, a basic survival skill.  Babies use their sense of smell to “root-out” food, particularly milk from their mother’s breast.

At birth a newborn can only taste 3 of the 4 major taste categories (sweet, sour and bitter).  Before 4 months, babies don’t show much reaction to the forth category - salt; however, after 4 months, babies have developed the nerve cells needed to detect salt in liquids.  You will notice that a baby typically shows a preference for sweet liquids and sweet tasting foods.  It is interesting to note that babies actually need natural occurring sugars in their diets.  Natural sugars are extremely important for proper brain growth and development in a young child until about 2 years of age.

You should always follow your pediatrician’s recommendations for feeding your baby.  Good and proper nutrition is vital for healthy brain development.

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