We are born with a biological tendency to prefer sweet food and to avoid those that give us a bitter taste. Certain scientific hypotheses propose that this is purely for survival, so we prefer more energy-dense food.
But nowadays, basing our diet on this “survival instinct,” with the type of food we have at hand today, is not very appropriate.
The taste of food in mother’s milk
More and more studies suggest that even before the birth of a child, they are given many opportunities to learn to enjoy the flavors that healthy food brings.
It is known that flavors are transmitted from the maternal diet to the amniotic fluid and, later, into breast milk. This means that during this period, in addition to enjoying all the benefits of a healthy diet, we can offer the baby a “taster menu” a little bit like in a gourmet restaurant.
Okay, but therefore, should I avoid certain food in case it does not taste good to the baby?
No. This sentence is another myth and has been transmitted to us generation after generation. And unfortunately, the biggest victims of this misbelief are actually our biggest allies, the famous vegetables from the cabbage, broccoli, or cauliflower group. And as far as taste is concerned, there is no reason to exclude them from your regular diet. Firstly, because they are vegetables, a food group that should be very present in your diet. On the other hand, they contain substances such as glucosinolates that are beneficial to your health and also provide vitamins and minerals such as calcium. Yes, that’s right: calcium of vegetable origin also counts! You may have already heard that running out of calcium is an issue that worries everyone around you when you breastfeed. So, here is the solution.
A window of opportunity
The composition of breast milk varies not only nutritionally, adapting to the needs of your little one, but it can also provide new sensations and experiment through different flavors without even weaning from the breast. And all this will help to form your baby’s food preferences. And by this, I don’t mean that your baby will come off the breast and, with the air of a Chef, will ask you a la carte what they want the next feed should taste like.
Rather, it is all about taking advantage of this critical window, the time of the first two years of your child’s life. These flavors that your little one tastes allow them to experiment and shape, as we said, their later preferences, to accept solid food, and to get to know the food culture in which they are going to grow up.
Therefore, although all babies begin this learning experience inside the womb, only those who are breastfed will receive the additional reinforcement and taste learning that continuous exposure to a wide range of flavors that breastfeeding provides.
This is one more reason why certain food or products, such as processed and ultra-processed food, sugars, and unhealthy fats, should be completely missing in your home. And this is also why you should not be afraid of consuming any plant-based food. Because their taste will not make your baby reject your breast milk, but rather, make them accept as soon as possible this type of food that is so important for their health and for yours.