You Are What You First Ate | Seventh Generation
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You Are What You First Ate

Author: the Inkslinger

Feeding Baby GreenMy wife and I entered parenthood as rank amateurs. But one thing we did right early on was decide we weren't going to dumb things down for our daughter. Whenever possible, we would encourage her to move beyond common expectation by engaging her in honest conversations about real things, reading her challenging books, and feeding her the same real food we ate. The last thing was one of the smartest moves we ever made.

Not only did we forever simplify mealtimes and skip the whole eat-your-vegetables-or-else thing, today our 12-year-old has a remarkably sophisticated palate. Now parents no longer have to stumble down this path: Dr. Alan Greene's new book that tells us exactly how to train our children's taste buds and set them up for a lifetime of instinctually healthy eating habits. Devour our review of Feeding Baby Green right here and cook up a healthier future for your own brood.


tabitha186 picture
I read Parents magazine and Fit Pregnancy magazine and What to Expect and also another pregnancy book while I was pregnant, can't remember the name..... I know I read in several of the sources that your baby can taste different flavors while in the womb. The amniotic fluid tastes different depending on what you've eaten, and after the baby's taste buds have developed enough, they can taste different tastes. Also, breast milk tastes different depending on your diet, and from what I've read breast fed babies are more open to new foods than formula fed babies because they have experienced so much variety.
vkindt picture
I agree with Janweingardt! I know this may be a sore spot for some people, but I think that most parents do not adequately consider the serious commitment - financial, time, and sheer effort - that is needed to raise a child. Then they fuss about how breastfeeding mothers make them feel guilty because they want to take the easiest path and not feel bad about it. I was unable to breastfeed my daughter effectively, even after numerous lactation consultants tried to help me. But I still made the decision and time commitment to provide my baby with breastmilk. I did this via electric pump. Yes, it was hard. But yes, I feel it was worth it. My daughter is now one year old, and has been sick with a cold only other problems, not even diaper rash. I am still feeding her breastmilk and plan to continue pumping until flu season is over, then I will switch to frozen breastmilk. By the way, a mother who has excess breastmilk can donate it (as I did) to a milkbank after preliminary blood tests. The donations are pasteurized and then provided to premature babies in hospitals.
janweingardt picture
It's one thing if you are physically unable to breastfeed... it's another if you simply choose not to. And I'm tired of formula feeding parents saying that they are being made to feel guilty. Maybe it's your own conscious that is guilty. Yes, it can be uncomfortable... sometimes it is downright painful. Is the health of a child not worth at least that?? When did mothers start expecting that having a baby should be easy and painless??? Breast is, and always will be, BEST!!!
wanamoka picture
I ate rice and beans with salsa, pico de gallo, and lots of cilantro ate least 3 days a week with my third child. Her favorite meal, she is 10 now, is rice and beans, with hot sauce. The other two have a great varied diet of unusual and fresh veggies, and fruits, one is now a vegetarian. The third, has eating habits like her father, no taste buds for anything, but he grew up poor and their diet was limited to chicken, corn, and green beans. Nearly every night. My family had gardens and grew about just about everything and we also tried anything that was put in front of us. So I am glad I raised the first two with plenty of foodie diversity. The last one will hopefully grow into it.
laylabot picture
I have to say that I think all of you are right when it comes to this subject. When I look at my family, my two siblings have different eating habits from me, even though we all came from the same mother (who, by the way, is a vegetarian). And both my sons have different habits from eachother. One is picky, like me, and the other eats anything I put in front of him! I think it, like everything else, is a combination of genetics and experience.
yvonneLH picture
"we ... are permanently programmed to favor those [flavors and foods] we experience while in the womb" I'd suggest the author not feel too smug about this claim. I know *I did* while feeding the little guy the huge variety of food & spices while in utero, just to give birth to the most maddeningly picky eater on the planet! I *so* wish this author was correct! Alas, it did not apply to us. There is absolutely no limit (ok, no insects) to the variety of food in our household, and at 19 months, DS still breastfeeds 3x/day, so yes, he still gets to taste a variety of food via mom milk, however, he'd rather *starve* himself than let vegetables or meat pass his lips. Everything is eyed with suspicious despite us making a great show of enthusiasm while eating in front of him. 24 hours of no eating could pass before I'd finally break down to give him his staples of bread, yogurt, grapes, apple slices, or carrot sticks. Who'd know such a new little personality could be such a stubborn one?? I used to tell myself I *hated* picky this is karma getting back at me!
chzrj04 picture
*my health problems were not of physical but developmental - one of my breasts did not form properly and the other required surgery. Neither was able to produce enough milk to feed my children.
chzrj04 picture
I'm sorry to hi-jack this post, but I have to second what roxandi posted. Thank you, barbgwb, for making those of us who were not *able* to breastfeed (or chose not to) feel like we are condemning our children to poor health. I could not due to health problems. I was not breastfed as an infant and am healthy. I beg to differ that "the problems that begin when the baby's first food is not its mother's milk" can not be later corrected. My children are very healthy eaters, preferring fruits and vegetables over starches and sweets. In fact, I would assert that the eating habits of the parents are a better indicator of future health than whether or not a child is breast fed. Also, an overall healthy lifestyle of healthy diet and exercise can go a long, long way. Many of the people - including children - who are obese and suffer from Type 2 diabetes do not live this way, regardless of whether or not they were breastfed. (and I know this is not an indicator of anything, but my non-breastfed babies are healthier than many breastfed children I know!) I believe that someway, somehow, children get used to what their parents eat in the womb. I like the example of the child who was adopted. Somehow it must be woven into the child's genes.
roxandi picture
I understand that breast milk is preferable to formula, but I am tired of this tendency to make mothers, such as myself,who make the decision to use formula, feel guilty. I am myself an ex formula-fed baby and I know very few people healthier than I am, and I can say the same of my siblings and many friends. So I suggest that barbgwb reformulates her last statement, from "No amount of organic superfood later can correct the problems that begin when baby's first food is not its mother's milk." to "No amount of organic superfood later MAY correct the problems that MAY begin when baby's first food is not its mother's milk." There are other potential causes for obesity and diabetes, and the use of formula is only a possible trigger, in combination an unhealthy lifestyle and perhaps some genetic issues.
cparisi110973 picture
11/11/09 Flavorful compounds from a mother’s diet cross the placenta into amniotic fluid, which babies in the third trimester swallow at the rate of a quart a day. “Babies develop preferences for these foods long before they actually eat them,” says Julie Mennella, a biopsychologist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. Similarly, during lactation, flavors pass from the mother’s bloodstream into breast milk.
kiara_j picture
I cannot give scientific evidence. However, our adopted daughter has a love of certain foods her birthmother ate that we would not usually have in our home. We discovered this by accident, but it has been consistent. I don't know how she knows, but she knows and she prefers it.
barbgwb picture
Babies also get the flavor of foods from breastmilk - I'm not sure how, but I understand that they do. I have not yet read Dr. Greene's new book, but I hope he emphasizes the importance of breastfeeding in normal, healthy development. (In his book "Babies!" he does not.) Babies who are not breastfed are at increased risk of diabetes, obesity, and atopic conditions (e.g., asthma and eczema) in the long term, as well as gastroenteritis, ear infections, and other illnesses in the short term. No amount of organic superfood later can correct the problems that begin when baby's first food is not its mother's milk.
mrsdaphne picture
I don't have a reference for that claim, but I remember reading something similar in one of my pregnancy books. Here's a does a fetus know what something taste like? For one, they don't exactly chew up food and use their taste buds. And for two...after my food has been chewed up and gone through my digestive, I'm guessing it all taste the same. Now, I'm no expert on the human body, but I wonder if anyone can provide scientific support for that as well???
tbrink picture
Can anyone provide a reference in support of this claim made in the book review: "we ... are permanently programmed to favor those [flavors and foods] we experience while in the womb" Thanks!