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Escargots and Breastfeeding…A Story of My Gourmet Child


My now 10 year old daughter begged me to buy her snails yesterday for lunch…”Please mom, look, 12 big “escargots” all ready to be cooked!”  I could hardly hide my distaste for these snails (despite the fact they are covered in tons of butter, parsley and garlic) and yet was very proud that my daughter has such an open palate for unique french “pleasures.”  So, I bought the snails…cooked them…and she enjoyed eating them -by herself!

You may think..so, what does all this have to do with breastfeeding?

Actually, studies have shown that breastfed infants have more acceptance of new foods during solid food introduction (around 4-6 months) than formula fed infants. (1)  Acceptance of new foods at this early stage can help translate into acceptance of new foods during childhood.

I breastfed my 4 kids and introduced solid foods at 6 months while continuing to breastfeed.  All of my babies, luckily, were great eaters and accepted this solid food stage very well. Each of them now still enjoy a wide circle of tastes, worldly cuisine and spices…but of course…who knows if it was the breastfeeding?..I can only hope that all those efforts did lead to my children’s currently quite open minds on discovering and accepting a wide gamut of tastes.

Yes, I am a big pusher for breastfeeding…however, saying that, I completely respect and support formula feedings too.  Being a new parent is difficult itself, never mind if we start to feel guilty on choosing not to breastfeed.  With the new infant formulas available, a baby can thrive and also grow very well on bottle feedings.  However, for those women/couples who are on the fence, who are unsure of what method to choose to feed their babies, (breast or formula), here is the one main reason to choose breastfeeding…

IT IS THE PERFECT FOOD because it  HAS THE PERFECT NUTRITIONAL NEEDS FOR YOUR BABY!

Maybe breastfeeding is not the reason my 10 year old loves snails (and raw oysters too I must add) but I tell everyone it certainly helped!  Any of you parents have unique food stories to share about your kids? Leave me a comment…I’m sure you all have some other stories of YOUR gourmet eaters.

In the meantime, if you are contemplating breastfeeding or have questions on the subject, post them in the comment section below or email me.  There is also a great book that I read cover to cover on the subject.  See the link here.

The Breastfeeding Book: Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Your Child from Birth Through Weaning

(1) (Sullivan S. A., Birch L. L. Infantdietary experience and acceptance of solid foods. Pediatrics 1994; 9:884-885).

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6 Responses to Escargots and Breastfeeding…A Story of My Gourmet Child

  1. mbrighton February 3, 2010 at 17:16 #

    Hi Monsieur Anglais !
    What a great idea! But given the fact that formula is already expensive, offering one with different flavors could be cost prohibitive. Saying that, garlic for some babies helps them to eat more ( or less depending on the baby)…so, why not a trial of garlic flavored formula!?haha! Best option if you know you are going to bottle feed-varied, balanced diet when pregnant, and varied , balanced diet when offering solid foods at 6 months…and of course, fingers crossed that they won’t be one of those picky eaters despite all your efforts.

  2. L'Anglais February 3, 2010 at 11:47 #

    Mary,
    Supposing that the childs taste is developed by having different tastes in milk, what do you think about flavoured formula milk? A different flavour every day would develop the childs taste. You could even have snail flavoured formula milk, although the market might be quite small!

  3. mbrighton January 31, 2010 at 16:08 #

    Jim,
    Interesting your case…just goes to show you that even breastfed kids can have “difficult” palates! How funny about the rabbit jerky though!!! Makes me laugh. Let me know if your youngest ever suddenly develops that “wonderful” taste for snails!

  4. Jim Brighton January 30, 2010 at 18:48 #

    As you know…having two boys – both were breastfed – their palate’s are quite different. Our oldest (11) will eat whatever is on his plate (and often what is left on everyone else’s plate).

    However, our youngest (7) is quite the opposite. He will each chicken, steak, and p.b. &j….that’s about it. Every night is a fight to eat. We just ask that he tries what is on his plate. Argh!

    Oddly, when we recently went to the Farm Show in Harrisburg our youngest actually ate rabbit jerky. That’s right…RABBIT! And he went back for seconds, too.

    My oldest refused to sample the jerky.

    I don’t blame him.

    I wonder if he would have tried the jerky if he was not breastfed?

    Guess we’ll never know.

  5. mbrighton January 27, 2010 at 18:14 #

    Hi Denise,
    How lucky your kids are that you take a strong effort into feeding them healthy! (and having breastfed them too).
    It is difficult , the snack peer pressure! It happens at my kid’s school too. My oldest wanted these 3 layer chocolate covered cakes that her friend eats when school is over (at 5 pm!)…I normally come to school with either fruit, nuts, cereal bars, fruit filled biscuits (like fig newtons)…plus my kids eat dinner at 7 pm anyway…how will they be hungry if they eat a chocolate covered cake at 5? But, yes, they do feel “deprived” sometimes-and say to me “it is a pain sometimes to have a mom who is a dietitian!”
    So to help solve this snack peer pressure, for my oldest we went to the grocery store and she picked out those same chocolate covered cakes and had them for snack the next day..and you know what? She thought they were too rich and not even tasty.
    My advice…give them one good healthy snack (piece of fruit) and other not so healthy option for a snack a couple of times a week. If at home you all eat very well (and I am sure you do..) then eating those cookies and cakes for snack sometimes do fit into a healthy eating plan…and they won’t feel like they are missing out. Sometimes being too restrictive can backfire when they are teenagers and have the freedom to have more food choices outside the home (and end up gorging on those snacks they feel they never had enough of). Do you have time to make cookies or quickbreads at home-those are healthy snacks..
    As far as how much sugar and not so good food do I allow?…it depends on the day or what they are doing that day. For example, if they are skiing, i am more likely to put in some cookies or quick bread for snacks rather than during the week when they are at school…
    However, I will say, for parties -they are allowed to eat and drink whatever they want as long as it isn’t coca cola or mountain dew after 3 pm (because it has caffeine in it and stops them from sleeping at night)!
    And, finally, I always explain to my kids that , yes, maybe it is a pain to have a mom who is a dietitian (or in your case parents that watch carefully what they eat) , but they will be thanking you in 20 years when they have a healthy lean body!!
    Keep pushing the healthy options, but allow those treats -overall, they will end up very healthy kids!

  6. Denise Hare January 27, 2010 at 16:03 #

    Hi Mary,

    Thank you so much for this discussion. I too am glad I was able to breastfeed my three kids, and they too have an “open palate.” At my nine year old’s birthday party we served sushi instead of the typical pizza, and I might add on our trip to France that was three years ago, he enjoyed his own plate of snails!

    So this is my success story. What I struggle with are school snacks. My two younger kids are required to bring TWO snacks to school. I struggle because although we live in an area that most parents pack more nutritious snacks it still is not as good as it could be. There are still the “lucky” kids that get to bring cookies and “fruit” roll-ups.

    So my question is, how do you handle the “peer” pressure? And what is a nutritious snack? And how much sugar and not so good food do you allow??!!

    I hope we get to see you the next time you are in NJ!

    All the best,
    Denise Hare from Princeton, NJ

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