Did Your Pregnancy Cravings Influence Your Child’s Eating Habits?
UPDATE 1/18/12: A friend sent me this photo last night, taken five days before Mason was born. We were mini golfing and, in the middle of the game, I just had to have a giant rice krispie treat–one of my pregnancy cravings–from a nearby coffee shop.
Last night a very pregnant Jessica Simpson told Extra correspondent Mario Lopez that she was craving “the stuff she ate as a kid,” including mac ‘n’ cheese from a box, pop tarts, and Cap’n Crunch cereal. Ugh, how can she eat that junk? I thought. Then I flashed back to my pregnancy and remembered that while I ate very healthfully most of the time, I enjoyed my share of indulgences, too. Hold that judgement, sister. There was the mid-morning dish of ice cream every day at work for the last four weeks of my pregnancy, not to mention giant rice krispie treats, globs of cream cheese on gluten-free pretzels, and spoonfuls of peanut butter directly from the jar. Mason’s had the good stuff I ate, including lots of fresh veggies, fruits, chicken, and salmon, as well as the cream cheese and the peanut butter, and he’s a fan of it all. While he’s gotten picky about when he will and will not eat specific foods, and his preferences seem to change by the minute, we’ve been blessed with a child who will eat a range of different foods and spices.
But did my morning strawberry-banana smoothies translate to Mason’s love of these fruits? After all, they’re both pretty popular. Is he destined to have an ice cream addiction because I did? I guess we’ll have to see (my 16-month-old rarely eats ice cream). Will he eat spoonfuls of peanut butter directly from the jar, too? Probably, but don’t lots of people? Does he like roast chicken, lobster, and grilled salmon because I did? It’s hard to say….
Curious, I Goggled the topic. There were lots of old wives tales, of course, but then I stumbled across a news report on a related study, which was published by NPR last August: “Research shows that what a woman eats during pregnancy not only nourishes her baby in the womb, but may shape food preferences later in life.” While the study’s results were not definitive, a connection between a mother-to-be’s eating habits and her baby’s preferences does make sense. After all, fetuses drink amniotic fluid, which is flavored by the foods and beverages their mother consumes. Julie Mennella, who studies taste in infants at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, in Philadelphia, adds that there isn’t a single flavor they have found that doesn’t show up in utero, according to the report. Makes sense to me–I’ll buy the theory that what I ate during my pregnancy did shape Mason’s eating habits, at least somewhat. What do you think? Does your baby or toddler enjoy the foods you craved most during your pregnancy?