Baby Spice: You Can Pass Along a Love of Spicy Foods to Your Baby
Know a mom-to-be who hasn't been able to stomach anything more exotic than bananas or oatmeal in weeks (a total turnaround for someone who was always the diva of all things hot and spicy and who used to live for the morning coffee that she now finds totally repulsive)?
Blame it on early pregnancy hormones – the very same hormones that are famous (or infamous) for triggering morning sickness in newly pregnant women.
In most cases, these none-too-pleasant pregnancy side effects start to ease off by the start of the second trimester, but, as with anything else pregnancy-related, there are no guarantees as to the exact timing. Every pregnancy is unique.
You'll want to treat your friend to dinner at her favorite Thai restaurant as soon as her stomach is up to it. Not only will she be in the mood to celebrate her expanding culinary repertoire: what she dines on during pregnancy helps to educate her baby's palate. (The scent and taste of the foods she consumes during pregnancy make their way into the amniotic fluid.)
Being exposed to the taste and smell of a variety of different foods prenatally (or via breast milk during the early weeks and months after the birth) helps to ease a baby's subsequent transition to solid foods. He won't be put off by breast milk with a few spicy overtones (the exact flavor of breast milk on tap being determined in part by the breastfeeding mom's recent dietary choices) or by table foods with a bit of kick to them because the tastes and scents of the spices in the foods eaten by his family will already be familiar to him.
Of course, some babies are extra sensitive to any change in environment or routine, regardless of how much prenatal taste-testing they may have done. If you were blessed with an extra-sensitive baby, realize that you may not want to go too wild and crazy when it comes to offering the breast milk flavor du jour. Nothing tastes better to these super-sensitive little ones than the sweet taste of familiarity, after all.
Do you have any adventures in baby feeding to pass along? Maybe your baby loves or hates certain tastes or textures of foods. What words of wisdom can you offer to other parents, based on what you've learned from your baby? (One of the moms that I interviewed for my book Mealtime Solution for Your Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler swears that her baby was bored to tears with his blander-than-bland baby food fare, so he decided to take matters into his own hands, literally. He grabbed a fist full of spicy food off her plate and savored every bite. She took that as a hint that he wanted her to spice up his diet, effective immediately.)