“A bitter pill”, “sour grapes” or “sweet nothings”, all descriptions of taste are very often associated with strong emotions. They express in words states of intense pleasure as well as displeasure.
This strong link connecting taste with emotion and drive has to do with our evolution: Taste was a sense that aided us in testing the food we were consuming. It was therefore a matter of survival. A bitter or sour taste was an indication of poisonous inedible plants or of rotting protein-rich food. The tastes sweet and salty, on the other hand, are often a sign of food rich in nutrients.
Taste buds are sensory organs found on our tongue that allow us to experience tastes.
There are 5 different types of taste
- Savoury (“unami”)
How exactly do your taste buds work?
Have you every looked at your tongue and wondered what all those bumps are? These little bumps are called papillae (puh-PILL-ee) and most of them contain taste buds. Taste buds have very sensitive microscopic hairs called microvilli (mye-kro-VILL-eye). Those tiny hairs send messages to the brain about how something tastes, so you know if it's sweet, sour, bitter, or salty.
The average person has about 10,000 taste buds and they're replaced every 2 weeks or so, but as a person ages, some of those taste cells don't get replaced. An older person may only have 5,000 working taste buds. That's why certain foods may taste stronger to you than they do to adults.
To read more post on the The Importance of the Mouth, click here
Thanks to a whole variety of taste experiences inside Mommy’s tummy, your baby’s sense of taste started to develop before they were even born. This means that by the time they are ready to start eating, they have a good idea of what they like and what they dislike.
To encourage your little one to explore new and exciting tastes try these Make SuperFood SuperFun activities
We love self-feeding, whether it be with a spoon or with their hands, either way, they need to learn and explore. Whether you are a BLW mom, at some point your little one will have to learn to use utensils.
Your baby’s sense of taste begins to develop before they’re even born.
The spoon is the first and most important tool when feeding a baby, therefore it’s vital they become accustomed to the feel of it in their mouth as this will help avoid gagging or spoon refusal as the weaning process begins.
We suggest offering a small soft weaning spoon to babies aside from mealtimes to help them become comfortable with it.
Monkey See Monkey Do
Babies love mirrors! Why not place their high chair in front of a mirror and let them watch themselves explore. Join in the fun by trying a piece of food and pulling a face afterwards to make them laugh. See if they do the same when they try their food!
Encourage your baby to put the spoon in their mouth and use their lips and tongue to explore it. They can make sounds with the spoon and feel the vibrations.
Encourage your little one to accept new tastes by setting out a selection of different foods that they can touch and feel before tasting, it is a natural instinct to explore and they will want to their fingers in their mouths.
For babies eating purées or mashed foods, sit them in their high chair and put a ‘blob” of purée or mashed food onto their tray. You could start with just one and then add a few different types of purée in stages
It only needs to be a small amount, this is all about experiencing taste rather than eating!
Babies and toddlers learn from mimicking those around them, so show them how much fun it is by dipping your finger in one of the purées and then licking it off. Yum!
The Bumbles™ Baby Food Range has a wide variety of colours, we have red, yellow, green, orange and cream, they are all so delicious you will be licking your fingers too!
Allow your baby to touch and play with the purées and see if they taste it with their fingers. There may be a favourite flavour that they keep going back to, or they may enjoy the mixture of tastes!
This messy exploration has so many benefits!
If the finger painting activities is just a little too much for you to cope with, try same activity using baby spoons. Fill 2 or 3 spoons with different purées and then encourage baby to pick up the spoon to taste.
As your baby becomes more and more accustomed to exploring and being independent, try offering these different foods at snack time. Allow your Little Explorer to choose which ones they want to eat; you will be surprised to see how much they love being in charge of their meals times!
To celebrate Spring we have created printable activity sheets to help explore your little one's senses. Activities like these will help your baby or toddler become accustomed to, and accept new materials and objects that change their senses.
The practice of discovery will help them when they are faced with new and exciting foods.
Don't forget to download your Free Little Sense of Taste Printable in the header above or click here.