To my pregnant friend who is all about sharing her favorite foods with the occupant of her womb: you are on the right track!
It’s never too early to share your favorite foods with your baby. Even in utero, the taste of strong flavors like garlic or mint is transmitted to the baby via amniotic fluid. After birth, you pass along the tastes of your own diet through your breastmilk.
A new study shows that not only do babies taste what their mothers eat, mom’s food preferences help shape baby’s food choices. Kids who were exposed to a flavor in utero ate more of it as babies, and appeared to like it more.
NPR tells us this is more than a curiosity; it could help promote healthier eating in kids:
University of Florida taste researcher Linda Bartoshuk says babies are born with very few hard and fast taste preferences. She says Mennella’s work shows that very early exposures to flavors both before and after birth — make it more likely that children will accept a wide variety of flavors. And when those early exposures are reinforced over a lifetime, Bartoshuk thinks they might have far-reaching implications, even promoting good eating.
I like to tell my girls they are made of spinach and tofu and ice cream, because that’s mostly what I ate when I was pregnant. It’s true that they have an unholy love for each of those foods. I always figured that’s because I serve it to them all the time, not because I ate it myself. Now, I’m not so sure.
Either way, good eating habits in pregnancy are a win for mom. If they also tune your child’s palate to like healthy foods, so much the better.
Photo: color line
What else does your baby learn in the womb? Find out here