Friday 20 September 2019

Scientists crack the baby-face code for mealtimes

Smile: Babies make faces when eating
Smile: Babies make faces when eating

Henry Bodkin

Most parents will at some stage find themselves sitting glumly amid the purée-spattered wreckage of a disastrous mealtime wondering what their precious baby was trying to tell them.

Now help is at hand, as infant psychologists claim to have cracked the meanings behind the faces babies pull as they are weaned off milk.

By and large, it is positive news. The main message is not to give up: parents too often assume their baby hates food, when really they are just getting used to it. Pursed lips and a mild squint, for example, should not be taken as a sign of dislike. Instead, it is simply the face babies make when introduced to sour food.

Similarly, a look of surprise, even of concern, does not signify rejection, but the curiosity that overcomes an infant when it comes across a new flavour.

Even classic signs of dislike such as a squint or a lowered brow need not discourage parents because when babies really object to the food on offer they will turn their face away altogether.

Dr Caspar Addyman, a developmental psychologist at Goldsmiths, University of London, compiled the 'Nine Faces of Weaning' guide with Piccolo, a baby food company. "

If baby is really unhappy, you will know about it,"he said.

Irish Independent

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