Q: Can my baby taste before she's born?
A: By the time you're 13 to 15 weeks pregnant, your baby's taste buds have developed, and she can start sampling different flavors from your diet. The amniotic fluid she swallows in utero can taste strongly of spices like curry or garlic or other pungent meals. Your baby's taste buds predispose her to liking sweet tastes, though (it's nature's way of helping babies like breast milk), and studies show that babies swallow more amniotic fluid when it tastes sweet than when it is sour or bitter.
During the last trimester, your baby swallows up to a liter a day of amniotic fluid. This helps prepare her for breastfeeding, since breast milk also contains flavors from Mom's diet. At birth, babies have a strong sense of taste and may show definite taste preferences. Even preemies born as early as 33 weeks suck harder on a sweetened nipple than on a plain rubber one. --Karin A. Bilich