When you’re pregnant, there’s more to nutrition than just nutrients — even before birth, your baby is learning to love and prefer the flavors of the things you eat. Research has proven that fetuses experience the flavors of mom’s diet. And, in fact, these flavor experiences can shape the preferences of babies during weaning and beyond. Yes, you read that right:
You have the power to shape your baby’s palate while pregnant.
In one study, conducted by Julie Mennella and colleagues, moms drank carrot juice for three consecutive weeks during their third trimester, while a second group was told to drink water. The infants of the moms who drank carrot juice showed a higher acceptance and enjoyment for carrot flavored cereal during weaning. These babies had learned to like and accept the flavor of carrots, before having experienced them for the first time as solid foods during weaning.
Studies have shown that before birth, babies taste and learn to prefer virtually anything moms eat. It’s thought that this form of flavor learning helps infants determine which foods are safe as well as promoting and continuing certain ethnic cuisines. Want your child to eat bitter green veggies or prefer the flavors of cumin? The way to get started is to eat them yourself while pregnant. Your diet serves as the first stage of developing your baby’s Flavor Intelligence. A first step in preparing your child to be a more adventurous eater — for life.