Research tells us that 8 out of 10 parents are worried about their children’s eating habits…. but did you know that you actually program your baby’s taste buds during pregnancy?!  In this blog, I’m going to explain to you what you need to do during pregnancy to help reduce the risk of dinner time arguments for years to come…. well about food anyway!

Developing baby’s taste buds

If you’ve been asking yourself “can my baby taste the meal I’ve just eaten?”…. the answer is yes! I want to tell you about a fascinating research study which proves it.

A group of mothers-to-be were asked to drink 300ml of carrot juice every day throughout the second and third trimesters of their pregnancy, and another group of mummas-to-be just ate and drank normally.  Then when their babies were born and started solids, all the babies were offered regular or carrot-flavoured porridge. And guess what?  The babies of Mum’s who drank the carrot juice were more likely to choose the carrot-flavoured porridge! 

What does this tell us?

It tells us that our babies taste buds are programmed during pregnancy. And, it seems that it’s not just a short term affect.  Studies show that how you program your baby’s taste buds during pregnancy can impact them well into childhood, and even into adolescence. 

For example, a study was done where they looked at a group of ten year old’s diets.  They compared the children’s diets to their mum’s diets, their dad’s diets and their mother’s pregnancy diets.  And, you guessed it!  There diets were most similar to their mother’s diet during pregnancy.   

The reason that it’s important for your children to eat a wide range of nutritious foods is obvious. If they have a limited palate, it’s going to be more difficult for them to meet all their nutritional requirements which can impact on their brain development and energy levels….. and also being a fussy eater can make it difficult for them socially. How will they be able to go to a friend’s house for dinner if they’ll only eat hot chips, ice cream and pickles because that’s what you craved during your pregnancy?

How to prevent fussy eaters?

The research tells us that if you want your baby to be less picky, enjoying a wide range of different tastes during pregnancy will help your baby develop a broader palate right from the start. Now, the best way to ensure that your little one is exposed to a variety of different tastes is to follow a meal plan. Especially during pregnancy, when you’re exhausted, if you’re trying to come up with something new to eat every night, you’re going to struggle.  So, make sure you put a plan together.

The more exposure, the more they will grow to love it!

So, if you want your baby to eat Brussel Sprouts, but you hate them, the question is, if you force them down once, is that enough to program your baby’s taste buds?  Unfortunately not.  Like anything in life, familiarity breeds fondness, so the more exposure you little one has to those foods, the more he is going to grow to love it.  Although really, who doesn’t like Brussel Sprouts?! My mother obviously ate plenty when she was pregnant with me, because I love them! 

I’d love you to let me know in the chat box, what’s one food that you’re going to eat regularly during pregnancy to ensure that your baby develops a taste for it?


Melanie McGrice in the kitchen

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