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?

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  1. by Logan mama

    On January 10, 2012 at 10:27 am

    I can see he love to eat certain veggies & Fruit that I was eating during pregnancy. At the same time it seems he does not like milk that much. I just wonder it is because I did not have milk through my pregnancy. (I had some allergy problem)

  2. by Elizabeth

    On January 11, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    The only thing I could stomach for the first three months of my pregnancy was Kraft macaroni and cheese. But my one-year-old daughter is not a fan. Can’t say that disappoints me…

  3. by Danielle G. Van Ess

    On January 11, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    I swear each of my children is made of the particular things I craved while pregnant with them and they still like those things to this day (at ages 2, 5, & 7 yrs old). With the first it was pineapple, the second oatmeal, and the third onions!

  4. by Carrie

    On January 11, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    What started out as cravings for peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches became a recommendation from my doctor after being diagnosed with gestational diabetes. From 24 weeks on, I had a piece of bread with peanut butter and a glass of milk every night before bed to stabalize my glucose levels.
    Unfortunately, when my son was 1.5 years old, we found out he had a very serious peanut allergy. Coincidence or related? I will never know.

  5. by Amanda

    On January 11, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    I usually love ice cream, but during my pregnancy I couldn’t stand it. I’ve tried sharing it with my now nine and a half month old and he wants nothing to do with it.

  6. by Norzie

    On January 11, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Throughout my first pregnancy, i was doomed with 24 hours ‘morning sickness.’ i could only hold in and enjoy white rice and fried fish. I couldn’t stand everything else. so white rice and fried fish are my daughter’s only favourite meal now. And she hates eating.
    With my youngest child, i was happy and ate just about everything. He now enjoys experimenting with different types of food, and thankfuly, enjoys eating too! And so my answer is, yes, what you eat definitely influences your child’s eating habits and favourite foods! At least for me.

  7. by Rebecca

    On January 12, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    When I was pregnant with my now 15 month old daughter I could not tolerate meat. Any type fish,chicken,beef, or pork. Beef was the worst. Now my daughter will not eat meat at all. I have to put meat in a food processer and mix into other things in order for her to eat it.

  8. by Colleen

    On January 14, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    I had a problem eating fruit later in my pregnancy because I suffered from gestational diabetes. Early on in my pregancy, however, I started my day out with bananas and peanut butter. Later in my pregnancy, I absolutely NEEDED spicy hot sauce…Bottle of Frank’s in my house at all times. My son’s favorite thing to eat? Grilled chicken with Franks, or eggs with hot sauce…He’s three. My 13 month old daughter will eat buffalo chicken dip if I make it. Go figure…

  9. by Corrina Florent

    On January 15, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Well with my first pregnancy all i wanted was fruits and vegetables..and i craved all fruits. and now my 15 year old daughter is a vegetarian for the past 2 years…just cannot stand meat. My second pregnancy i craved milk..and i am not a milk fan….she drinks soo much milk i have to buy 9 bags of milk a week for my family. Soo i believe there is somthing to it.

  10. by Trish

    On September 9, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    When I was pregnant with my daughter I ate ridiculous amounts of carrots and dry pasta. I’d sit with a bag of dry pasta and eat it like chips, and I had so many carrots that my skin began to turn orange. She’s 17 now and to this day she likes to munch on dry pasta and will snack on raw carrots to the tune of 1kg a week sometimes.