baby eating
SbytovaMN/iStock via Getty Images

Do babies have taste preferences?

You knew Baby was going to be her own person from the very start but it can still be surprising how fast her distinct personality formed. She has her 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 she got these preferences, though – just like her eyebrows, or her mitochondria, or her dislike of mornings, she got it from you.

Baby doesn’t get her taste in the foods she will or will not eventually enjoy from her parents’ genes, but it does come from her 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 her 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. She has been able to taste, and has liked, sweet flavors since birth. She has been able to taste salt since she was about 4 months old, and she 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 she has had to get familiarity up until now has mostly been through her mother. So remember, if you’re breastfeeding, this last stretch of time before you wean her is a great time to predispose her to eat (and like!) all her fruits and veggies.

Get the Ovia Parenting app
Get our app at the Apple App Store Get our app at the Apple App Store Get our app at the Google Play Store Get our app at the Google Play Store