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.
- Received August 7, 1990.
- Accepted December 17, 1990.
- Copyright © 1991 by the American Academy of Pediatrics