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She is 13 months old.

We give her a combination of healthy but bland foods. We do not add any spice and have stopped adding sugar since we noticed that it doesn't matter to her. We add salt sometimes in her food.

The problem is that the toddler isn't least bothered even if the same bland food is repeatedly given to her throughout the day as long as the food is warm and is fed through a bottle.

She spends around 5 hours in the daycare is fed non-bland food by a spoon there.

Should I be bothered?

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Can you clarify what you mean by 'fed through a bottle'? Are there any reason you choose to give her bland food? (in general, at 1 year, babies should be able to eat most of what you do, just chopped, if you cook health food low in sodium). –  Ida Aug 4 at 18:05
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I'd be much more concerned about the food being fed through the bottle than the reaction to taste. Pediatricians recommend not feeding anything other than formula/breast milk through bottles; when your baby is ready to eat solid foods, it should always be through the spoon. This is to develop the ability to eat with a spoon (and to eat foods through a method other than sucking), and is very important: not only developing the mouth reflexes, but developing their hand-eye coordination. A 13 month old should be eating pieces of food by picking up between finger and thumb, for example. –  Joe Aug 13 at 13:27

3 Answers 3

Why would you expect your toddler to be bothered?

Babies tastes develop over time - at first the are focused on sweet flavours.

What commonly happens is that the child starts to be less interested in their food, so you add in new flavours and textures over time. Doing this helps build their acceptance of tastes.

But for now, as long as your baby is getting the right balance of nutrients, you should not worry about what it tastes like.

You really should not add salt to children's meals though - this point is strongly emphasised by medical professionals. Even a small amount of salt can cause problems, so unless you live somewhere incredibly hot and local custom is to add salt to replace those lost by sweating, children just don't need it.

Some references (thanks Ida and Greg):

Some references: AAP:

Also, don’t give him foods that are heavily spiced, salted, buttered, or sweetened. These additions prevent your child from experiencing the natural taste of foods, and they may be harmful to his long-term good health

WebMD:

Children should become accustomed at a young age to the natural flavors of food rather than to a salty taste.

Also, UK NHS say <1g salt per day for under 1s: nhs.uk/chq/Pages/824.aspx?CategoryID=51

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Some references: AAP: Also, don’t give him foods that are heavily spiced, salted, buttered, or sweetened. These additions prevent your child from experiencing the natural taste of foods, and they may be harmful to his long-term good health WebMD: Children should become accustomed at a young age to the natural flavors of food rather than to a salty taste. –  Ida Aug 4 at 18:14
    
Also, UK NHS say <1g salt per day for under 1s: nhs.uk/chq/Pages/824.aspx?CategoryID=51 –  Greg Aug 11 at 16:26
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@5un5 - please don't make such dramatic changes to a post without good reason. –  Rory Alsop Aug 12 at 15:53
    
Ida and Greg - I have incorporated your refs into the post. Thanks. –  Rory Alsop Aug 12 at 15:54
    
@RoryAlsop, The initial question posed in this answer, "Why would you expect your toddler to be bothered?" is not an answer, and should be a comment to the original question. –  5un5 Aug 13 at 6:40

As long as she gets a health variety, the flavors don't matter. It's better to feed her with a spoon or cup than with a bottle so that she can get used to using the front part of her mouth to handle pureed food and liquids. If she always gets a bottle, she'll miss out on the experience of eating. The food goes right past her tongue into the back of her mouth. You shouldn't have to add any salt or sugar to her food if you're feeding her vegetables, beans, peas, legumes, fruit, grains, and other baby food. You can even make your own.

Of course avoid choking hazards like peanuts and grapes.

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Yes, you should be bothered by enforced blandness as well as the fact that your child treats bland food as a preference.

From personal experience - our older kid was raised as a baby/toddler on VERY bland food (both due to our inexperience, family influence and allergy issues) while our younger one was not.

As a result, the older one (now in early school years) refuses to eat or even try ANY food that's even remotely spicy-ish at all - and in general is extremely conservative about food and hates trying new ones; while the younger one is a lot more adventurous when it comes to trying new foods and is measurably more spice-friendly.


Notice that being used to non-bland foods is a lot better for a person than vice-versa: you can always spice up bland food if you're forced to eat one; but being faced with spicy food when you're unable to eat anything but bland will severely hamper you both nutritionally and socially (having witnessed coworkers who couldn't eat any even remotely non-standard non-bland food).

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