What a Mess! Why a Messy Baby Means Healthy Brain Development

What a Mess! Why a Messy Baby Means Healthy Brain Development - lil'gourmets

Let's Get Messy!

With our “You can’t beet the mess!” contest, we at lil’gourmets hope to not only satiate our never-ending desire for cute baby pics, but also to highlight the benefits of messy eating in a baby’s development.

Our Cinnamon Beets + Apples baby meal is a nutrient-dense, veggie-licious combo that brings together earthy organic beets, a bit of crisp organic apples plus a hint of ginger, a dash of cinnamon, and a squeeze of lemon for a balanced meal for baby and healthy toddler snack.

The naturally beautiful and vibrant beet color also happens to make the baby food puree naturally... messy.  

Messy Eater = Healthy Brain Development

Messy means babies are practicing critical developmental skills. Using their full body to experience food through their various senses like touch, smell, sight and taste promote acceptance of foods, self-feeding skills and fine motor skills (see one of our favorite articles, Why Messy Eating Is a Good Thing for Babies and Toddlers for further details on these benefits).  

Our pediatric advisor, Dr. Rupa Mahadevan, captures the relationship between messy eating and a baby's development perfectly with a simple metaphor. 

“Imagine that you are a carpenter versus a gardener when feeding your baby their baby meals. The carpenter provides their baby a blueprint for experiencing their meal. It tells the baby what to eat and how to eat it. The gardener, on the other hand, gives the baby seeds and steps away to provide space for them to nurture and sprout on their own. Putting different flavors and foods in front of your baby enables them to explore taste training through their senses and cultivates a healthy relationship with food.” 

Self-Exploration Leads to Discovery 

Babies aren’t too different from us. When you are forced to do something, you’re less likely to do it. If you have the freedom to do something the way that feels natural to you, however, then it is likely a more enjoyable experience.

Dr. Mahadevan expands on this point, “Self-exploration yields a development skillset to better deal with life. Babies should be given choices and made to feel part of their food experience so the process becomes more of a fun and creative exercise rather than a stressful one.” 

Our Recommendations

So, what do we recommend at lil'gourmets? Allow time and space for your baby to explore food. We’d often have two spoons: one for them to navigate and one for us to make sure some food made it into their mouths!

Additionally, we’d also have some other finger foods alongside for our babies to explore a variety of tastes and textures. They will make a mess so strip them down to a diaper, put a tarp under their highchair and enjoy watching their joyful curiosity of food!

And remember to enter to win 8 free lil’gourmets baby and toddler meals by sharing a photo or video of your cutest messy eater using #enjoythemess @lilgourmets. 

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