While children are learning about different tastes, along with what is and isn’t good for them, parents often struggle to get their kids to eat a variety of meals once they’ve discovered what they do and don’t like.
In a bid to prevent this fussy eating behaviour, experts have now said that women should make sure they eat spicy food while they’re still breastfeeding their children.
Many mothers have chosen to avoid eating these hot dishes because of the age-old myth that the strong flavours will cause excessive gas and fussiness in infants, but doctors have confirmed that there is no real evidence to suggest this.
Instead doctors believe that if infants start eating various different flavours, including spicy foods from a young age, it actually benefits them by enhancing their taste buds.
Dr Jennifer Wider, a medical advisor for the Society for Women’s Health Research told the Mail Online that she agrees with this idea because there is no ‘good’ scientific evidence to back up the views that spicy foods will cause harm to the breastfed kids.
She went on to say that mothers can feel at ease eating strong flavoured food right before breastfeeding because any gas she may experience is a localised reaction in her stomach or intestines, so will not affect the child.
‘It’s important to remember that breast milk is not formulated directly from the digestive tract, it is formulated from the mother’s blood’, she said.
‘That’s not to say that infants aren’t sensitive to certain foods, every baby is different.’
Dr Paula Meier, professor of paediatrics and nursing at Rush University Medical Center told Parents magazine that if mothers were eating spicy food before they began breastfeeding, there is a high chance that her baby will already be used to the peppery flavours.
‘Certain cultures consume an abundance of spicy foods or foods with strong herbs, and spices and women have successfully breastfed for generations’, confirms Dr Wider. So there’s really no need to worry about the risks of gas or nappy rashes.
Could a curry help your child become less fussy in the future?
Lucy Cooke, a senior research associate at University College London who specialises in children’s nutrition told the New York Times: ‘Breastfed babies are generally easier to feed later because they’ve had this kid of variety experience of different flavours from their very first stages of life, whereas a formula-fed baby has a uniform experience.
‘The absolute key thing is repeated exposure to a variety of different flavours as soon as you can possibly manage; that is a great thing for food acceptance.’