Worried that your precious new baby is going to grow up to be a veggie-hating toddler? The concern is fair.
There’s some fascinating research out there about how to lower that risk, and I am so excited to tell you about it!
Studies have suggested that exclusively breastfeeding for as long as possible can double the likelihood that children will eat more veggies when they get older.
I breastfed my daughter Ever exclusively for the first five and a half months until she was literally grabbing at food. In other words, I breastfed her exclusively for “as long as possible.” From there she moved on to young coconuts and bananas on top of my breast milk—and over the months and years began eating a variety or fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains.
Now (as you’ll see on Healthy, Sexy, Vegan Mumma Instagram, she loves vegetables! She often requests baked potatoes, sliced cucumbers, carrots and green smoothies (though not at the same time).
What’s the link between breastfeeding and children developing a taste for veggies?
It seems that when Healthy, Sexy, Vegan Mummas (who eat a variety of healthy, flavourful foods) breastfeed their children, those babies are exposed to a much greater variety of flavours than babies who are fed formula (from which that variety is absent).
We’re not sure, but it’s possible that at a subconscious level young children “remember” those flavours from their infancy and positively respond to them when those foods are introduced into their diets later on.
Pretty cool, hey?
And the consequences of these findings are huge, because it’s also been suggested that the longer we breastfeed our babies, the lower their risk will be of various chronic diseases later in life. Compare that to the higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, asthma, celiac and many other health problems in people who were fed formula as babies…
This could be a result of many factors—imbalances in the formula leading to imbalances in gut flora, hormones or immune systems, with all the issues that can cause. Whatever the reasons, the Surgeon General and World Health Organization agree with this latest scientific research: it is ideal that women breastfeed exclusively for the first six months.
There’s no substitute for nature’s baby formula.
Originally published at donnawild.com
Report of the expert consultation of the optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding. World Health Organization. 2001.
The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2011.
Smith JP, Harvey PJ. Chronic disease and infant nutrition: is it significant to public health? Public Health Nutr. 2011 Feb;14(2):279-89.
Optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding. Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group. 2009.
Horne PJ, Greenhalgh J, Erjavec M, Lowe CF, Viktor S, Whitaker CJ. Increasing pre-school children’s consumption of fruit and vegetables. A modelling and rewards intervention. Appetite. 2011 Apr;56(2):375-85.