Well we are back on the topic of boobs...well, more specifically, breastfeeding. You may recall from a previous post, "Hooray for Boobs", I laid out some very important contributions breastfeeding has on IQ. In addition, in "If You're a Picky Eater and Ya Know It, Clap Your Hands", I also talked about how genes play a role on the like or dislike of certain foods by kids. Well gosh darn, I came across an article (2007) that studied a mother's diet while breastfeeding and how it may contribute to the foods her kiddo is willing to try. According to researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, eating certain foods while breastfeeding will likely result in your kid enjoying those same foods. I think we all know that once a baby is moved onto solid foods, repeated exposure to foods will increase the chance that the baby will accept it, and we all know that greater consumption of fruits and vegetables packs many, many health benefits. This current study assessed 45 infants (20 of whom were breastfed) who had only been exposed to cereal. One group received green beans for 8 consecutive days while the other group received green beans and peaches on alternating days. All infants were assessed on their acceptance of green beans and peaches before and after the study. Results suggests that, unlike formula fed (which is not a knock against those who formula feed), babies accepted peaches more if their mothers ate peaches and breastfed. This was not found with green beans. And why you ask? Good question! The researchers found that breastfeeding mothers consumed green beans way less than peaches, and way less than the recommend amounts for green vegetables. Therefore, the results indicate that if the mothers would have consumed more green beans and/or green vegetables, the breastfed infants would have also accepted green beans more readily.
I do have one issue with a finding in this study. The lead scientist states "Babies are born with a dislike for bitter tastes"...apparently they need to read my blog! Studies indicate that a babies like or dislike for bitter tastes is GENETIC! If Mom and Dad both have the gene that encoded for bitter taste YO BABY NO LIKEY BROCCOLI. ( Wow I am so dorky...you don't even want to know how long I laughed at that...again). But if Mom and Dad or just Mom/Dad don't have the gene that encodes for the bitter taste, an infant will be more likely to accept green or bitter foods. However, as I stated in the "Picky Eater" blog, environment does play a role too. If you are picky because you THINK you don't like a certain food, or whoever prepared it for you didn't need to be in the kitchen, your kids can/will model your behavior.
Another interesting point of this study is that the researchers also found that the facial expressions made by babies did not always parallel with their acceptance of the food. They concluded that infants have an innate mechanism for displaying facial expressions for certain foods, which many not indicate their actual like or dislike of the food.
So the take-home message is that boobs rock! If you breastfeed, you have the ability to influence what foods your baby will like. How cool is that?! Therefore, breastfeeding mamas should make sure to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, not only for their babies benefit, but for themselves as well.