A Good Start for Baby

Help Your Offspring Develop a Taste for Nutrition

If new moms want their babies to grow up loving fruits and vegetables, they should eat plenty of these good food choices themselves—at least during pregnancy and breastfeeding. A recent study from the Monell Center suggests that the best predictor of how much fruits and vegetables children eat is whether they like the tastes of these foods. Julie A. Mennella, Ph.D., the senior author reporting the findings, explains, “If we can get babies to learn to like these tastes, we can get them off to an early start of healthy eating.”

The research involved 45 infants, divided into groups of breastfed babies and babies fed on formula. A follow-up questionnaire revealed that mothers who breastfed their babies while frequently eating fruits and vegetables saw an increase in their baby’s acceptance of those foods during the changeover to solid meals while weaning. Flavors, the researchers found, are transmitted first through amniotic fluid during pregnancy, and then through the mother’s milk. Breastfeeding affords babies the opportunity to familiarize themselves with certain tastes early on, setting the stage for likes and dislikes later in life.

Source: Monell Chemical Senses Center, 2007

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