Worried about your unborn child being a picky eater when he grows up? It might have more to do with what you’re eating now during your pregnancy.
According to a study by the Monell Chemical Senses Center, moms can actually influence their baby’s palate with the food that they eat during pregnancy. The amniotic fluid, the protective liquid made up mostly of water which surrounds your baby during gestation, is his primary source of nourishment. Aside from nutrients, it also carries certain tastes from the food that the mother eats. Julie Menella, leader of the study, explains that "Foods like vanilla, carrot, garlic, anise, mint -- these are some of the flavors that have been shown to be transmitted to amniotic fluid or mother's milk."
The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, involved 46 pregnant women, who were not informed of the nature of the research during the time it was conducted. These women were split into three groups. Those in the first one were made to drink carrot juice during pregnancy, the second group drank carrot juice but only during breastfeeding, and the third, as a control group, was instructed to avoid carrot juice altogether.
Once the mothers had given birth and their babies were already eating solid foods, these women were made to feed them cereal mixed with carrot juice during the usual time of day. The mothers had to videotape these feedings and they had to rate the children’s response to the food from a scale of 1 to 9, based on their facial expressions and actions.
The results showed that those children whose mothers drank carrot juice during pregnancy and breastfed them as infants seemed to enjoy the cereal more than those from the control group.
Says Menella, "As a stimulus it's providing so much information to that baby about who they are as a family and what are the foods their family enjoys and appreciates."