Although the majority of human infants are breast-fed for the first few months of life, there is a paucity of information regarding the sensory qualities of human milk and how these qualities are affected by maternal diet. The present study investigated the effects of garlic ingestion by the mother on the odor of her breast milk and the suckling behavior of her infant. Evaluation of the milk samples by a sensory panel revealed garlic ingestion significantly and consistently increased the perceived intensity of the milk odor; this increase in odor intensity was not apparent 1 hour after ingestion, peaked in strength 2 hours after ingestion, and decreased thereafter. That the nursling detected these changes in mother's milk is suggested by the finding that infants were attached to the breast for longer periods of time and sucked more when the milk smelled like garlic. There was a tendency for infants to ingest more milk as well; the lack of a significant effect may be due to the inherent limitations on the total amount of milk available to the infant.
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Articles| October 01 1991
Maternal Diet Alters the Sensory Qualities of Human Milk and the Nursling's Behavior
Julie A. Mennella;
Julie A. Mennella, Gary K. Beauchamp; Maternal Diet Alters the Sensory Qualities of Human Milk and the Nursling's Behavior. Pediatrics October 1991; 88 (4): 737–744. 10.1542/peds.88.4.737
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