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Want to Raise a Fruit-and-Veggie Lover? Be Persistent
Date:12/3/2007

habits during pregnancy and afterward. Twenty of the 45 new mothers were breast-feeding.

During the initial exposure, the babies ate more calories from peaches than green beans -- about 200 calories compared to just 74. And as they ate, most squinted, furrowed their brow or curled their upper lip.

"When we looked at the first time these babies ate green beans and peaches, the breast-fed babies ate more of the peaches [than the formula-fed infants] and made less negative faces when they ate them," Mennella said.

Then the researchers looked at the diet records of the mothers. "These lactating mothers ate more fruits in general," Mennella said. "The most likely reason why the breast-fed babies ate more peaches is, they were already familiar with the flavor."

No differences in green bean preferences were found between infants who were breast-fed or bottle-fed. When Mennella looked at the diet report, she found both formula-feeding and breast-feeding mothers ate fewer green beans than recommended.

After the eight days of initial testing, all the babies ate more green beans. The green bean consumption rose from about 2 ounces per serving to more than 3 ounces.

Why didn't peach consumption rise? "They ate the peaches after the green beans," she said. "So they were full."

So breast-feeding does boost the chance a baby will like a first taste of food, but only if mother ate similar-tasting foods, Mennella said.

Mennella's advice: "Eat the fruits and vegetables you enjoy while you are pregnant and lactating, because your baby is going to be learning about those foods. Whether you are breast-feeding or formula-feeding, once you start introducing a food, make sure you offer your baby opportunities to eat fruits and vegetables. They need to taste them to learn to like them."

Two dietitians said the study results make sense, and add to other research that has arrived at the same conclusion
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