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My baby loves MSG - or parents, please reassure me!

My 8-month old shows little interest in food other than sweet fruit. Tonight we had a rather MSG-laden chicken soup - my DH made it for me because I have a cold, and it was just what I needed. Baby was interested so I gave her bits of chicken and noodle - she LOVED it. Now I've had no interest in food for a week due to the cold, nothing has flavour, but this soup tasted highly flavoured even to me. And she loved it.

All the baby books say not to add sugar or salt to your baby's food because it will give them a taste for processed, highly flavoured food. Well... *I* love highly flavoured (not processed!) food. Sweet, salty, garlicy, Thai, bring it on. So I've always had my doubts about the advice. I mean my favourite beef stew recipe has hoisin sauce and red wine. It's assertive. I don't plan to feed my kid specially prepared bland food forever so why is there some magic age where they get introduced to flavour?

Having read all the threads on picky eating I have realized that I can't control how chowish my kid turns out (thank you hounds for the perspective). And I realize that my supreme irritation with picky eating is one way to make sure she's picky - just to piss me off! I think I just want some reassurance that people fed their babies from their own plates from a young age and they didn't, I dunno, explode from too much flavour?

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  1. As far as I'm concerned, MSG is a drug that fools your tongue into perceiving flavors that aren't necessarily there. I have a bad reaction to it (headache, palpitations etc) so avoid it as much as possible. I'm pretty sure that if you feed your child fresh nutritiously prepared foods, she'll acquire a taste for them. Kids eat what they want to eat. I think chowishness is learned at the side of the parents.

    1. My son always ate what we ate and we love highly favored, highly spiced foods. Lots of garlic, seasonings, lots of spicy. My son never *exploded* from too much flavor, However I have never added MSG to any thing I have cooked myself. I know some things have MSG naturally but I don't own any MSG powder and would never choose to use it.

      1. That sounds like two questions:

        I don't know about the MSG part. MSG makes me sort of ill, I get a headache and a sore jaw. So, I don't eat it.

        The flavor thing: I've got two kids, 14 and 10. Both are great eaters, there isn't anything they won't try and they like most things.

        There both great eaters, too. Though they have appetites, neither of them overeats or eats just out of boredom or anything like that. The younger one has a sweet tooth, fwiw. Neither of them has an interest in fast food, though we had plenty of happy meals over the years -- mostly for the toys.

        And you know what? We fed them from our plates from the time they were able to eat from our plates. Our concern had more to do with their digestion -- spicy foods were harder on their stomach. But flavorful food? Heck yeah ... if they could chew it, swallow it and digest it, we let them eat it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: PaulF

          "We fed them from our plates from the time they were able to eat from our plates. Our concern had more to do with their digestion -- spicy foods were harder on their stomach. But flavorful food? Heck yeah ... if they could chew it, swallow it and digest it, we let them eat it."

          I agree with this. I have a 21 month old daughter and she is a great eater. She started on fruits and vegetables at around 6 months and by the time she was 9 months old, she was completely eating regular solid foods (of course I cut everything up in miniscule pieces).

          I don't add MSG to anything (not sure why anyone would), but I cook with all sorts of spices and I use salt and/or sugar in cooking when necessary. (I never salt food after it's been cooked, because I hate overly salty foods.) But we live in NYC and eat our fair share of Chinese food and I'm certain that it's got MSG.

          To me, the key is to have balance. I might serve her the occasional hotdog for dinner, but she also loves almost all fresh fruits (watermelon is probably her favorite right now).

        2. It's not surprising. Monosodium Glutamate is nothing but free glutamate with sodium used as a delivery vehicle. The richest source of free glutamate in nature is mother's milk. You could say that mother's milk is the first "MSG" flavored food a human comes into contact with.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Gary Soup

            I had no idea! That's very interesting.

            1. re: Gary Soup

              Ha! That makes sense, she loves her booby. I actually think I had read that somewhere.

              Anyway the MSG was in the canned broth and grocery store rotisserie chicken (I've never seen an ingredient list for these, but they just ooze MSG flavour to my mind) that DH used to "make" the soup for me. I'm actually pretty sure the archtypical chicken soup of my childhood, my grandma's, had some kind of flavouring / colouring agent with MSG, and I enjoy the stuff generally.

              Thanks all, I'm feeling much more relaxed about the whole thing, I'll avoid too much processed stuff but she'll probably be getting a lot more table scraps from now on.

            2. I was pretty concerned about food allergies when my kids were infants. That'd be my only concern. The earlier you introduce certain foods (milk, soy, melons, corn, strawberries, eggs, peanuts, fish - the big "allergy" foods- I'm sure there are others) the more likely your kid will develop allergies to them that, possibly, could remain for the rest of their lives. This is more likely a problem, I believe, if food allergies run in the family.

              Boy, though, I'm an overly cautious mom!