Thinking About Getting Pregnant?
Congratulations on Your Pregnancy! (for those who are newly pregnant)
What is a healthy pregnancy weight gain?
Can I continue to eat a vegetarian diet during pregnancy?
A Pregnancy Menu For You and Your Baby
Treating Nausea and Vomiting
What About Seafood?
Don't Eat That!
Pregnancy and Cholesterol
Wash Those Veggies!
Breastmilk, the Healthiest Diet for Babies
What DOES that Broccoli Do for My Baby?
Vitamin D Supplements in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
New Research Affirms Individualized Vitamin D Supplementation for Pregnant Women
Breastfeeding: Developing a Future Gourmet
What to Do About The Flu
Decreasing the Risk of Gestation Diabetes
Keeping and Storing Breastmilk
Pregnancy Weight Gain Guidelines – Do We Need New Ones?
Breastfeeding: A Woman's Health Issue
Eating During Labor
Probiotics and a Decreased Risk of Gestational Diabetes
Pregnancy - a Time to be Active!
Clearing the Air : Quit Smoking for You and Your Child
What is a Healthy Pregnancy Diet for Obese Women?
Does Iron Intake Matter?
One Fish, Two Fish... Full Term Birth?
Folic acid in pregnancy and language development
A Mediterranean Diet, Pre-Pregnancy
There is No Substitute for a Healthy Diet
Honest Healthy Diets for Babies
Exercise for New Moms
A Healthy Pre-Pregnancy Diet and Gestational Diabetes
Vitamin D and Gestational Diabetes
Great News About Breastfeeding
Peanuts and Pregnancy
Fried Foods and Gestational Diabetes
Iodine supplements - should you take them?
Prevent Gestational Diabetes with a Mediterranean-style diet
FDA Updates Recommendations for Fish Consumption in Pregnancy
Faith's passion in nursing is to help people find the options they need to discover their personal path to optimum health. Ask her friends and they will tell you that their appreciation of nutritious food has grown through Faith. About Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN
"To be sure, the nutrient composition of formula is held to standards and regulation that are based, in part, on the analyses of human milk. However, unlike breast milk, the flavors of all types of formulas are monotonous and lack sensory information on the dietary choices of the mother. Thus, the formula-fed infant is being deprived of rich and varied sensory experiences that at one time were common to all mammalian young. How this impacts on later food habits and flavor preferences remains to be determined, but it seems likely that the consequences could be profound."
-Dr Julie Manella, et. al
Pediatrics. 2004 April ; 113(4): 840-845
In other articles we have covered how breastmilk is excellent nutrition for your baby but this site isn't only about nutrition. It is about food that tastes great! Babies, like their parents, appreciate wonderful flavors. Breastmilk provides a variety of flavors that may influence baby's palate for years to come.
Why do some of us like broccoli and others turn up our nose? The answer is complicated, but the more we study the issue, the more it seems likely that taste preferences may be influenced by what we ate as infants and even perhaps by what we tasted in utero.
Amniotic fluid is full of smells/flavors which change based on the mother's diet.1 Researchers speculate that this is a means of imprinting the mother's diet as "acceptable" or "preferred" to the child, and partially explains why children prefer the food served in their culture (or at least their household).
Babies like flavor! Don't let anyone talk you into eating a bland diet because you are breastfeeding! Researchers found that when breastfeeding women ate garlic, their babies nursed longer than when they hadn't eaten garlic. Babies, like adults, may have food sensitivities, so if your baby is routinely fussy after you eat a certain food, you may want to eliminate the food for a few months.
How long do the flavors from Mom's lunch stay in her breastmilk? That depends on the food and the woman. Subtle flavors, like bananas, last less than an hour. Stronger flavors last much longer. Peppermint (the longest one that has been tested so far) may last up to 8 hours. The amount of time flavors linger in breastmilk varied from woman to woman.2
What a baby tastes in infancy influences his future taste preferences.
Nutramigen is a particularly unpleasant-tasting formula with a bad aftertaste (most often used when a baby doesn't tolerate other formulas well). When researchers gave Nutramigen to 4 and 5 year olds, those who had Nutramigen as an infant tolerated the taste much better than those who hadn't eaten it as an infant. Additionally, these children were more willing to drink juice with higher concentrations of citric acid than their peers who had been fed on less bitter formulas.
Mom's diet (and her breastmilk) influence babies as well. In another group, moms were given carrot juice daily. When solids were introduced to their breastfeeding babies, babies preferred cereal moistened with carrot juice to plain cereal.
There is some evidence to show that babies who were breastfed are more accepting of new foods than their formula fed counterparts. This is consistent with adults. Generally people who eat a wide variety of foods are more willing to try new foods than those who eat a limited diet.3
So, prepare a new recipe. Try a vegetable that you have never eaten. Prepare food in a different way. Take time to cook with a family member or friend. Savor, enjoy, relax. Those new tastes aren't just for you, they are building a creative taste palate for your baby as well.
Nourish yourself and your child!
1. Mennella JA, Johnson A, BeauchampGK. Garlic ingestion by pregnant women alters the odor of amniotic fluid. Chem Sense. 1995; 20; 207-209
2. Geddes L. New Scientist. 2666. 23 July 2008 Breast milk provides menu of different flavours.
3. Sullivan SA, Birch LL. Pediatrics. 1994 Feb;93(2):271-7