...from baby food to toddler food to family food!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Very First Food

Babies first use their sense of taste in utero, when the amniotic fluid flows by their tiny tastebuds.  Before birth (at around 27 weeks gestation), fetuses actually have more tastebuds than they will after birth! Their very sensitive perception of taste even picks up on strong, spicy flavors the mother eats, about two hours later. How cool is that??! But in utero, fetuses do not ingest food, instead relying on the nutrients passed to them through their mother's blood. (Bo-ring.)

Breast milk is the perfect first food for babies. Not only does breast milk production adapt to meet the baby's needs (not only in amount, but also in nutritional makeup, such as fat content) and provide amazing protective factors, but it also transmits the flavors of the mother's diet to the baby.

William tasted his first milk (well, colostrum, but we'll skip some details) no more than two minutes after birth.  He was placed naked onto my chest, and we gazed at each other, both of us beginning the dance of hormones and love that is baby/motherhood.  He knew instinctively to seek out food. Newborns are amazing creatures, full of inborn skills and knowledge!

Did he taste the chocolate soymilk that was the last thing I consumed before active labor made me nauseous? Or the spicy chili I had eaten the day before with the hope of speeding things up? I guess I'll never know, but to me these are fascinating questions!

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