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Baby Taste Preference

Want to know how to reduce pickiness in your child's diet? Find out on this Moment of Science.

Our lifelong food preferences are largely shaped by the foods we’re exposed to early on in childhood. This process begins before we even taste solid foods. If introduced early enough, we’ll happily accept flavors that our own parents might turn their noses up at.

For instance, there is an infant formula designed to aid digestion, which has a bitter aftertaste that parents find unappealing. They assume that their babies couldn’t possibly like it. If they wait until their babies are seven months old to introduce the formula, their assumption will probably be right.

However, if they introduce the formula to the child within its first four months of life, the baby will accept the formula and continue to accept it. For example, if a mother breastfeeds and eats vegetables, her baby will be exposed to the flavors of vegetables through her breast milk.

If a mother eats a varied diet, then her breast milk can naturally introduce a wide variety of flavors to her baby early on. And the wider variety of flavors children are exposed to, the more likely they are to eat a varied diet later on in life.

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