Adding spices and herbs to your baby’s meals

If you managed to keep down most foods throughout the majority of your pregnancy, your baby no doubt would have enjoyed all of the yummy tastes of herbs and spices you ate like cinnamon, pepper, basil, paprika, and curry.

Then, that flavour exposure continues if you’re breastfeeding your bub. Breastmilk changes its flavour depending on what you eat. If you like spicy and flavoursome meals, don’t be surprised if your little one doesn’t go for the boring foods.

When babies start solids, they’re usually open to exploring and enjoying a variety of different flavours, fragrances, colours, and textures. Exposing them early on to food that isn’t just bland or sweet will help to develop your baby’s palate.

As salt and sugar should be avoided in baby food, herbs and spices are a great way to add some interest and flavour to a meal.

But, adding them does more than enhance the taste and look of their food; they also have medicinal properties. For example:

  • Cinnamon helps to boost brain power
  • Ginger aids in digestion
  • Cloves boost their immune system
  • Fennel helps to relieve gas, making it great for colic and tummy upsets
  • Superfoods garlic and onion are both immune boosters and protect their system from gut bugs

Adding spices and herbs to your baby’s meal

Babies in many cultures around the world are introduced to strong herbs and spices early on, so don’t be afraid to add flavour to your homemade meals. You might want to hold back on the chilli for now, though. It can cause irritation to the gut, leading to cramping and diarrhoea.

Here are some tips to get started: 

  • Experiment with herbs and spices from the beginning of introducing solids. There’s no need to wait.
  • Fresh is more nutrient dense than dried that have sat on the shelves for months, so try to find those in season that are at their best.
  • You might like to try them one at a time, starting with milder flavours and adding more intensity as their palate develops.
  • If your baby rejects a flavour, don’t give up. Remember it can take 10-20 exposures to accept a new food.


Which ones go with what?

  • Sprinkle fresh chopped parsley on just about any meal
  • Add some ground cloves to apple puree
  • Ground cumin goes well with roasted carrots
  • Cinnamon marries well with apples and pears
  • A small sprinkling of nutmeg on banana is lovely
  • Smoked paprika is delicious on sweet potato or kidney beans
  • Cardamon works well with chicken or porridge
  • Turmeric is good added to cauliflower and curries
  • Mint combines well with potatoes or peas
  • Basil is delicious as a pesto or in bolognese
  • Garlic can go in just about any savoury dish

Enjoy getting creative, and helping to encourage your bub to be an adventurous eater! You might also like to check out these posts:

How to encourage your baby to eat more vegetables

Getting started with spoon feeding – an expert guide

How omega 3s can aid sleep for the whole family

10 iron-rich foods for babies

Is my baby ready to start eating finger food?


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