While I have many anecdotes of my own that compel me to believe a baby’s food preferences can be developed in the womb, there’s also research that validates this line of thinking.
The Monell Center in Philadelphia, PA focuses on researching the senses of taste and smell. They’ve identified how things like vanilla, carrot, and garlic flavors can permeate amniotic fluid or mother’s milk. Their studies confirm that what women consume during pregnancy and while breastfeeding can shape their babies’ food preferences later in life.
Basically, our like or dislike of certain foods is a byproduct of taste conditioning that occurs from the time we are in the womb on into adulthood. Consuming a variety of nutritious foods during pregnancy is key to giving the unborn baby a healthy head start.
With this said, it is important for parents to facilitate ongoing “taste education” for the whole family. This involves a myriad of factors from creating a non-distracting eating environment to serving a variety of foods from the time your child starts nursing, through the introduction of solids and beyond.
Registered Dietitian, Austinite, Mom with a 2-yr old, Dog lover