Dig into that spicy curry, new moms. Unless you want to deal with a picky eater later.
Despite some myths, it is perfectly OK for nursing mothers to eat spicy foods — and it might even help their infants become better eaters in the future.
Doctors say that nursing mothers eating a variety of foods, even spicy food, will enhance their baby’s taste buds and make them easier to feed later in life. This goes against the scientifically unsupported theory that spicy meals will harm a breastfeeding infant by making them gassy and fussy, although the mother may certainly experience these effects.
“It’s important to remember that breast milk is not formulated directly from the digestive tract, it is formulated from the mother’s blood,” Jennifer Wider, medical advisor for the Society for Women’s Health Research, told the Daily Mail.
Food that nursing mothers consume breaks down protein, fats, carbohydrates, mineral and water into small particles that are absorbed into the bloodstream and flowed into the blood vessels in the mammary glands and into breast milk. It takes four to six hours for food to make it into the milk, depending on the mother’s metabolism. The food can affect the flavor and scent of the breast milk.
A 1991 study published in Pediatrics found that breast milk with stronger flavors might actually be more appealing to nursing infants. In the study, infants attached for longer and sucked more from mothers who had eaten garlic than mothers who had not.
“Breast-fed babies are generally easier to feed later because they’ve had this kind of variety experience of different flavors from their very first stages of life, whereas a formula-fed baby has a uniform experience,” Lucy Cooke, a psychologist specializing in children’s nutrition and a senior research associate at University College London told [The New York Times]. “The absolute key thing is repeated exposure to a variety of different flavors as soon as you can possibly manage; that is a great thing for food acceptance.”
So dig into that spicy curry, new moms. Unless you want to deal with a picky eater later.