We introduced Hailey to her first bit of spice a couple of nights ago. I’m not talking spices that are used to add flavour. She’s had lots of those. I’m talking spicy food with a bit of heat.

It was hilarious. My husband and I couldn’t stop laughing the rest of the night.

We were at a local pizza restaurant and ordered a spicy pizza. It’s one of our favourite pizzas. Normally there is a bit of spice but it barely causes my mouth to burn. This time, the heat level was a strong medium. My mouth was burning the entire meal. Totally bareable but probably not what we should have used to introduce Hailey to spicy food. We did not realize this before giving her a piece.

I cut off a sliver of my pizza and put it on her high chair tray. After fumbling with it for a minute she brought it up to her mouth for a first bite.

A startled look appeared. Her face instantly turned beat red. It was like watching a cartoon!

Her expression gazed at me with a “what the hell did you give me?” look. The red face disappeared almost as quickly as it came. She took another bite. She spit it out looking slightly distressed and took another bite.

We offered her water. She gulped eagerly. Then took another bite. And started crying.

We quickly cleared the tray of the remaining food and offered her another swig of water. She drank more water than I’d ever seen her drink. Her mouth must have been on fire!

I wish we could have got it on video. I keep picturing the instant bright red face over and over again. It was hilarious!

I did some quick internet research when I got home to see what the paranoid world of parenting is saying about giving your baby spicy food. A lot of websites (mainly American) recommend waiting until the baby is at least a year old before even seasoning their food and until 18 months before trying anything with a bit of a kick to it.

I feel sorry for the babes that are eating the bland mush! I couldn’t eat it so I don’t expect Hailey to. Plus babies all over the world, in different cultures are eating fully spiced foods.

There didn’t seem to be any reasoning except that there could be ‘adverse reactions’. But that is the same concern when introducing babies to any new foods. Some websites even go as far as recommending the use of the 4 day rule – only introduce 1 new spice every 4 days to ensure there is no reaction.

If you read my Baby Led Weaning post, you’ll know I threw out that rule almost immediately. I introduce multiple foods per day and trust that there will be no allergic reaction. I also have faith that if there is a reaction I’d be able to remember what she had eaten over the last couple of days. The 4 day rule seems so limiting and it would take forever to introduce her to every food this way.

I avoided seasoning for the first few weeks she began solids. Once we were onto baby led weaning she just ate whatever we were eating, full seasoning and all. She has eaten almost everything we’ve given her. The only thing she didn’t seem to enjoy was oatmeal (the blandest of them all!).

It was my mother-in-law who advised that we should feed our kids a wide variety of tastes and textures early. This exposes baby to a range of foods, making them less picky eaters and more likely to continue to try new and different foods as the grow older.

This advice seems logical. My husband will eat pretty much anything. His parents tell stories of him and his brother as a toddlers eating raw oysters as fast as their parents could shuck them. Or ordering restaurant dishes like liver and onions as youngsters. To me, this sounds like an ideal scenario. I was a much pickier eater as a child. But my parents also weren’t as adventurous with food as my in-laws.

We want Hailey to be a good eater and able to consume a variety of tastes and textures. Spices are a part of that journey. We won’t be giving her anything as spicy as the pizza for a while but we will continue to give her some foods with a bit of heat.

I can only assume that she kept trying to eat the spicy pizza because she wanted to like it – right?!