There is a lot of philosophy and myth revolving around the food that a mother eats. Most people believe that the flavour and nutritional qualities of the foods that a mother eats transfer into her breast milk and hence, directly affect her baby’s health.
When in the womb, the flavour doesn't really matter, since your baby receives food in the form of molecules. However, the nutritional aspects do matter. Post delivery, most mothers opt for breastfeeding rather than turning towards formula. Mothers start wondering if the flavour of what they eat transfers into their breast milk, thereby affecting their child’s food preferences.
Based on this curiosity, a research was conducted wherein 18 different lactating women were too consumed pills of different flavours. Their breast milk was collected after about 8 hours and here is what they found - some flavours came through, some didn’t.
Therefore, it is safe to assume that what mothers eat does affect the taste of their breast milk to a certain degree. The above-mentioned study also tried to figure out if the flavour of the mother’s breast milk affected a child’s food preference in future.
Children who were breastfed seemed to be more receptive of an adventurous palate and were open to trying new flavours and new dishes. In fact, in a number of studies that were conducted across the globe, researchers found that food preferences start from the womb itself.
Babies prefer a range of foods, including the dishes that their mothers prefer, when pregnant. Various flavours that infants come across in the breast milk also affect their receptivity towards flavours and food preferences long after they have passed infancy.
It is a common belief that babies prefer cuisines of their culture. This happens because these are the flavours that their mother has been exposed to since pregnancy. Mothers, who consume an ample amount of fruit juices (such as carrot, watermelon, sweet lime and orange) during the course of their pregnancy and when breastfeeding, seem to have children with a preference for these fruits and fruit juices.
In a nutshell, if the mother drinks a lot of carrot juice, the baby will mostly enjoy carrot in the future. This finding is a boon to parents across the world. When it comes to inducing healthy eating habits in your children, you can start from the womb itself. You need not wait for your children to grow up and sprout teeth to ensure they eat healthily.
Sometimes, when your baby denies breast milk, you now know the reason why, though this is not always the case. It could be that they simply do not like the flavour! In such cases, mothers can shift their diet so as to accommodate their toddler’s preferences.
It is advisable for mothers to have a diet as diverse as possible so as to make sure that their children are receptive to all types of food items when they grow up. This will lead to both mother and child having a balanced diet and good health.