Being a mother, you must have observed your baby does not breastfeed in one same way all of the days. The truth is babies taste what goes in breast milk- for that matter- what you eat. What you eat can change the taste and flavour of breast milk. While some foods make breast milk taste bad, there are foods that make breast milk taste good.
Breastfed babies (when compared to formula-fed babies) are used to enjoy a range of flavours and tastes when the time comes to introduce them to the solids. One of the reasons for this is that breast milk tastes different depending on what you eat and so the baby gets exposed to lots of different flavours.
If a breastfed baby never happened to reject breast milk, most likely, she or he will not close the mouth against any food in future.
Breast Milk Changes Taste- Facts To Support
There are many interesting studies conducted about the change in the taste and flavour of breast milk. One common experiment was done to prove this theory was feeding the dairy cows food with strong flavours like wild onions, cabbages, etc.
It was found that many of those flavours are detectable in their milk as early as 20 minutes after eating. The flavour intensified after two hours. It may remain in the breast milk for quite a couple of hours.
We all know that humans are mammals, like cows and goats. Although the body chemistry and composition is different, it is not incorrect to say that, in this regard, humans are like cows. So, the taste of what the mother eats will affect the taste of the breast milk. For example, eating garlic will give the milk a garlic-flavoured tint.
However, rather than being off-putting to the child, studies show that babies who are breastfed with various flavours in milk tend to suckle harder and drink for longer than other babies. It has also been observed that babies who drink formula (which is always the same taste) are more likely to develop an aversion to different tastes and sensations when they are older.
Related Reading: 9 Biggest Challenges Of Breastfeeding No One Prepares You For
On the other hand, babies who are introduced to such flavours at a young age are seen to be far more open to such expectations and are more easily adaptable when they are weaned. They are more smoothly eased into consuming solid foods. At a very young age, they also develop the ability to recognize tastes, especially if the mother also enjoys these tastes. They may develop a liking for particular foods.
How Does Breast Milk Taste Different?
If you are confused as to how the food you eat can affect your breast milk, you wouldn’t be the only one. It is not the ‘food’ that literally get into your milk.
This is how it happens. When you eat a particular food, the biochemicals that give flavour to that food travels to the milk. It is not like food passes into breast milk. When you eat something, the chemicals in that food travel through your mouth and food pipe into your gut and then join the bloodstream. From there, the chemicals go through your liver and then rejoin the bloodstream. Then it appears in the breast milk.
Sometimes, this long process can alter the chemical composition of the chemical that give tastes. This might create a whole new taste for breast milk.
10 Foods That Make Breast Milk Taste Good
So with all that is said, we understand a mom’s diet is pivotal to breast milk’s flavouring. It could take as little as one hour for the breast milk to get the taste of the food the mother has had. And the taste can last up to eight hours. While it takes only one hour to banana to get into the breast milk liquorice needs two hours, and menthol takes eight hours.
Here are ten foods that make breast milk taste good.
Eat lots of carrot kheer or carrot halva when you breastfeed. This way, your little one can have carrot flavoured breast milk. Carrots are loaded with beta carotene.
It is found that along with beta-carotene, the biochemical that give carrot its flavour is also passed to the breast milk. Another study shows that babies tend to love carrot flavoured cereal if the mother drinks a lot of carrot juice while breastfeeding.
Intake of carrot/carrot juice during pregnancy improves beta-carotene and vitamin A in the mother’s body and breast milk. However, excessive intake of carrots during breastfeeding can bring about a harmless and reversible discolouration on infant’s skin.
2. Fennel seeds
Are you a fan of fennel tea or foods that are flavoured with fennel seeds? Well, you are going to produce fennel tinged breast milk. Eating fennel seeds during breastfeeding helps to increase the quantity of breast milk. Plus, it adds a sweet taste to breast milk – the baby is going to like it too.
Mint, either dried or fresh form, is another food that can give a yummy flavour to the mother’s breast milk. Try having a mint chutney or mint-flavoured sweet treat during breastfeeding. You can see your little one continue feeding on your breast for more time.
The strong flavour of mint oils and mint flavourings found in many sweet treats often gets passed into breast milk quickly. Mint flavour starts to appear in milk at low concentration.
However, as time pass, the flavour will start to heighten. The peaking time of mint flavour in breast milk is around six hours after ingesting it.
Garlic definitely has a strong flavour. Studies prove its odour would pass on to breast milk in a short span. While some babies’ shows aversion towards it, most infants increase sucking time when the breast milk has a tinge of garlic.
As garlic makes the babies latch on for long, we can assume that this is one of those foods that make breast milk taste good.
Garlic is an inevitable part of many Indian dishes. Here, garlic has been used as a galactagogue as well. Therefore, besides turning the milk appealing for little taste buds, garlic also helps to enhance breast milk production.
Related Reading: 6 Things You Will Need For Breastfeeding
Liquorice has great medicinal value. Yet, it is recommended to avoid consuming large quantities or prolonged use of liquorice during pregnancy. This is because it can adversely affect the production of breast milk.
However, it is safe to consume dark candies, desserts, and sugary sweets (once in a while) that contain liquorice as one of the ingredients. The flavour of liquorice is so strong, and it will give breast milk its flavour during the day the mother consumes it. The taste of liquorice heightens in breast milk two hours after consuming it. Babies tend to love liquorice-flavoured breast milk.
6. Strawberry and vanilla
Are you a milkshake lover? Try strawberry, banana, and even vanilla milkshakes. The flavours of breast milk tend to change if you eat these fruits or drink vanilla flavoured food. Besides all the health benefits strawberry provides during breast feeling, it also gives the little one to taste strawberry flavoured breast milk.
7. Sweet potatoes
Did you know that a standard-sized sweet potato can potentially meet the daily requirement of vitamin A for breastfeeding moms? It can also increase breast milk production. Apart from this, it can also enhance the taste of breast milk.
Therefore, it can be considered as one of the foods that make breast milk taste good. So don’t hesitate to include sweet potato dishes in your menu while breastfeeding.
Related Reading: Top 10 Benefits Of Breastfeeding For Moms
Apart from increasing the milk production, fenugreek seeds could potentially pass their flavour to the breast milk. Eating fenugreek change the smell of one’s sweat and urine. It usually starts to smell like maple syrup.
Likewise, if breastfeeding mother consumes fennel seeds or bulbs of the fennel plant, it can change her breast milk flavour.
Babies tend to love maple syrup flavoured breast milk. Moreover, it is also found that as the flavor passes to the baby via breast milk, the baby’s sweat and urine might also start smell like maple syrup.
The potassium-packed banana helps to maintain the electrolyte level in breastfeeding mothers. It also gives a unique, sweet flavour to breast milk. Therefore, have a banana or two whenever you feel your little one is not drinking enough milk.
Apple is another fruit which, apart from the health benefits it offers the mother, enhances the taste of breast milk as well. An apple a day thus makes your breast milk more appealing
Your breast milk will contain a hint of the taste of the food you eat, and this is what your baby tastes. This is actually beneficial as it helps you introduce your child to the world of flavours and tastes. So, it is recommended that you include as many fruits, vegetables, herbs, and other varied dishes to your diet while breastfeeding so that your little one can accustom themselves to the different tastes. This will be useful when they are weaned.
But it’s not just taste that you need to take into account. Remember to have a balanced and healthy diet that can provide you with all the necessary nutrients you and your baby need, such as vitamins, calcium, and iron. A balanced and tasty daily menu will ensure that both mother and child are healthy and happy!