baby eating
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Do babies have taste preferences?

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

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

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