Undermining the belief that children will "grow into" enjoying things like brussels sprouts and pickled beets, research shows that what pregnant mothers eat while expecting can actually influence the baby's palate once it's born. So start pounding those organic, free-range vegetables, moms-to-be!
Dr. Jule Menella, whose study appeared in the journal Pediatrics, told NPR that flavors like vanilla, carrot, garlic, anise and mint have been shown to be transmitted to amniotic fluid, or mother's milk, which babies in utero swallow by the ounce. Menella says that since "memories of these flavors are formed even before birth," the result is food preferences that can last a lifetime once the baby is born. Her research involved giving pregnant women garlic or sugar capsules and asking a panel to smell and identify samples of the women's amniotic fluid. "And it was easy," she explains. "They could pick out the samples easily from the women who ate garlic."
Other research, however, has shown that babies are born with a predilection toward sweet tastes, so don't get too caught up in that fantasy of a spinach-loving tot. In any event, we can't wait for the inevitable trend story on Upper West Side moms hiring personal pre-natal chefs to help refine their baby's palates.