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Can breast milk help your baby love food?

baby feeding


Help them become a lifelong healthy eater

Breast milk can help your baby become a lifelong healthy eater

Your breast milk is uniquely tailored to your baby1 and, incredibly, the food you eat while breastfeeding can influence their taste preferences throughout weaning and beyond2,3.

In the same way, the taste of your breast milk will vary depending on what you’ve eaten2,3. And it’s now thought that these flavours are more likely to be accepted by your baby once they start to wean2,3. Research also tells us that the acceptance of a variety of tastes during weaning helps children to become lifelong healthy eaters4.

It is also thought that this process, known as taste imprinting, may help explain the continuation of cultural and ethnic food preferences. 

A love of garlic, or spices, starts to develop well before your baby sits down to eat their first meal

As well as affecting the taste, your diet directly influences the nutritional composition of your breast milk. So eating oily fish, for example, will not only help your baby to like the taste of salmon, it gives them a rich source of DHA – one of the most beneficial LCPs for visual and cognitive development5,6.

All the more reason to keep up that healthy, balanced diet while breastfeeding – it really is food for thought.

Learn more about the varied composition of breast milk and why it is the perfect nutrition for your baby.

Worried about breastfeeding?

It’s completely normal to find breastfeeding a little tricky at first, but our breastfeeding guide is full of tips and advice to help you succeed.

View references

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 1. Jensen RG. Handbook of milk composition. London: Academic Press, 1995.

2. Mennella JA et al. Prenatal and postnatal flavour learning by human infants. Pediatrics 2001;107(6):E88.

3. Beauchamp GK, Mennella JA. Flavor Perception in Human Infants: Development and Functional Significance. Digestion 2011;83(Suppl 1):1-6.

4. Beauchamp GK, Mennella JA. Early flavor learning and its impact on later feeding behaviour. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2009;48(Suppl 1):S25-30.

5. EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies. EFSA Journal 2009;1007:1-14.

6. EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies. EFSA Journal 2009;1006:1-12.
Last reviewed: 10th March 2016

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