Varying Breast Milk Flavoring

One reason why researchers have had such a hard time replicating the composition of breast milk is that it isn't a fixed commodity. No two women's milk is identical, nor is the composition of any one mother's milk constant at all times; it varies with the amount of time that has elapsed postpartum, gradually changing in composition to match the baby's changing nutritional needs. It also varies with time of day, with the thinnest milk (the lowest tat content) being produced early in the day and the richest produced in the evening. Finally, it varies with the mother's diet, providing breast-fed infants a rich medium for experiencing many different flavors in early life.

Breast-fed babies clearly like this flavor variation. In one experiment. three-to-four-month-old babies were found to suck longer and consume more milk after their mothers had ingested a garlic pill than when they ingested a tasteless placebo tablet. The difference was most pronounced two to three hours after mothers ate the pill, the same period when the garlic odor of their milk was the strongest. Although garlic-flavored milk may not sound very appealing, young babies apparently love it. If the mothers repeatedly consume the garlic tablets, however, their infants no longer suck for extra periods of time. Like adults, they seem to get bored with tasting the same thing over and over and prefer some variety. Fortunately, there are plenty of possibilities. Women's milk is also known to be altered by ingesting vanilla, mint. and cheese, and probably most other distinctive flavorings, herbs, and spices.

Variation in breast milk flavors may play an important role in taste development itself. Even before a baby is exposed to any solid foods at all, he experiences all kinds of new flavors through his mother's breast milk, perhaps biasing his later taste preferences. Indeed, studies of rats, cows, and lambs have shown that when nurslings are exposed to distinctive flavors through their mothers' milk, they tend to prefer that flavor well after weaning.


By eating a variety of differently flavored foods, like garlic, mint, vanilla, etc, the infant is exposed to a variety of flavors of breast milk,

Folksonomies: parenting babies breast feeding infants infant development

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 What's Going on in There? : How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Eliot , Lise (2000-10-03), What's Going on in There? : How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life, Bantam, Retrieved on 2011-07-18
Folksonomies: parenting babies development infants physiology