Once you start reframing the introduction of solids as a discovery and learning process (rather than weaning off milk), flavour - and exposing your baby to a wide variety of tastes, textures and colours - becomes the focus.
Adding spices and herbs is a wonderful way to enhance taste and make learning to eat an exciting, enjoyable experience for your baby - especially as salt and sugar should not be used before 12 months!
But can you give your baby spicy food? Here are our top 5 tips:
1. Go for Aromatic Over 'Spice'
There's a big difference between spicy spices that risk irritating tiny tummies, and aromatic spices that enhance flavour and taste.
Spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic, turmeric, ginger, coriander, mint, dill and cumin are all easy to digest and are safe for infants to eat from 6 months.
As for that cayenne? It's safe to give (but still, you may want to hold off until your baby's eating and digestion is more established).
2. Slow and Steady Always Wins
Start by adding a small amount of a single aromatic spice to porridge, purees or roasted vegetables - 1/8 or 1/4 of a teaspoon should do it.
Wait 4-5 days before introducing a new spice, just in case there's an adverse reaction.
3. Complementary, Not Overpowering
Using spices and herbs in baby food is about enhancing flavour - so the goal is to use spices that will complement the natural taste of vegetables, not overpower.
Carrots + Cumin, Peas + Mint, Sweet Potato + Cinnamon, and Courgette + Basil are all classic combinations.
4. Use Small Amounts, Prepared Properly
Fresh herbs are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, and simply put, help food taste amazing!
Puree or finely mince fresh herb leaves, as large leaves can be a choking hazard. Remember to thoroughly wash all herbs (and any produce you use).
5. Focus on What Really Matters
Weaning isn't a race to the finish. Try and have fun with the process of learning and teaching. And remember - try not to get discouraged. It may take up to 20 tastes of something before your baby likes it!
Feeling overwhelmed? Mamamade meals contain a wide range of spices and herbs - measured and mixed perfectly for your baby.