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Dev Psychobiol. 1999 Nov;35(3):197-203.

Experience with a flavor in mother's milk modifies the infant's acceptance of flavored cereal.

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Monell Chemical Senses Center, 3500 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3308, USA.


The present series of studies aimed to investigate whether experience with a flavor in mothers' milk modifies the infants' acceptance of similarly flavored foods at weaning. First, we established, using methods developed in our laboratory, that the ingestion of carrot juice by lactating women produced a sensory change in their milk approximately 2 to 3 hr after the ingestion of the beverage. Second, we randomly formed two groups of breast-fed infants who had been fed cereal for a few weeks but had only experienced cereal prepared with water. Their mothers were asked to consume one of two types of beverages (i.e., carrot juice, water) during the exposure period. Each mother was observed feeding her infant cereal during four test sessions. The first two sessions occurred during the 2 days before the exposure period; in counterbalanced order, infants were fed cereal prepared with water on 1 testing day and cereal prepared with carrot juice on the other. These two test sessions were then repeated following the exposure period. The results demonstrated that the infants who had exposure to the flavor of carrots in their mothers' milk during the exposure period consumed less of the carrot-flavored cereal and spent less time feeding when compared to the control infants whose mothers consumed the water. This may be a form of sensory-specific satiety such that the infants become less responsive to a flavor that they have been extensively exposed to in the very recent past.

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