Taste-Testing Breast Milk

8.4.08: A new study shows how the foods you eat flavor your breastmilk


It's no wonder that my daughter is always asking me to squirt a little Hershey's syrup into her milk. She probably developed a taste for chocolate milk while she was still nursing.

Scientists at the University of Copenhagen recently tested the impact of different flavors on the milk of breastfeeding mothers by giving the nursing moms capsules containing differents flavors, including banana, licorice, caraway seed and menthol. The women were asked to provide samples of breast milk before and after eating the capsules. Some of the flavors, like banana, had little effect on the breastmilk. But others, like menthol, flavored the breastmilk for up to eight hours.

The researchers say that the study, which was published in the New Scientist, helps to shed some light on why breastfed babies are sometimes reluctant to nurse, and why some children turn out to be picky eaters while others are more adventurous. The authors conclude that breastfeeding may prepare babies to be more receptive to eating solid foods, since they've already been exposed to a wide variety of flavors.

It's just one more reason to breastfeed for you baby—you don't want to raise a picky eater. Here are 200 more reasons why breast is best. Enjoy!

Dana Rousmaniere is FitPregnancy.com's Managing Editor. She's now rethinking the chicken and rice diet she ate while nursing Charlie.