baby eating
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Do babies have taste preferences?

You knew Baby was going to be his own person from the very start but it can still be surprising how fast his distinct personality formed. He has his own moods, favorite times of day, and …food preferences?

The last one is kind of a strange one, because Baby might not even be eating solid foods yet. It’s not a mystery how he got these preferences, though – just like his eyebrows, or his mitochondria, or his dislike of mornings, he got it from you.

Baby doesn’t get his taste in the foods he will or will not eventually enjoy from his parents’ genes, but it does come from his mother directly, because, in a very real way, Baby eats what she eats through pregnancy and, if it’s applicable, through breastfeeding. Strong flavors from what his mother eats flavor the amniotic fluid in the womb through pregnancy, and changes the flavor of breast milk. Studies, including a 2001 study published in Pediatrics which followed the taste preferences of infants whose mothers drank a significant amount of carrot juice during pregnancy, show that it’s possible to influence babies to like the taste of fruits and vegetables, or to appreciate a varied diet, by familiarizing their children with those tastes in the womb and while breastfeeding.

Baby has had the beginnings of taste buds since 8 weeks of pregnancy. He has been able to taste, and has liked, sweet flavors since birth. He has been able to taste salt since he was about 4 months old, and he will probably not be that into bitter or sour flavors no matter what you do. The biggest thing that affects Baby’s preferences besides these basic sensory abilities, though, is familiarity, and the only way he has had to get familiarity up until now has mostly been through his mother. So remember, if you’re breastfeeding, this last stretch of time before you wean him is a great time to predispose him to eat (and like!) all his fruits and veggies.

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