Baby Food

Any Jewish grandmother worth her salt will tell you that all you need to do to conceive a healthy baby boy is stand on your head at dawn every day while eating an egg salad sandwich. Or was it a piece of brisket eaten quickly during your evening bath?

Sound a little bit like an “old wives tale?” Well so does this idea, published by my favorite Jewish bubbe, The New York Times.

“How much a mother eats at the time of conception may influence whether she gives birth to a boy or a girl, a new report shows. The report, from researchers at Oxford and the University of Exeter in England, is said to be the first evidence that a child’s sex is associated with a mother’s diet. Although sex is genetically determined by whether sperm from the father supplies an X or Y chromosome, it appears that a mother’s body can favor the successful development of a male or female embryo.”

According to the article, women who eat a high calorie diet and good nutrition around the time of conception, are more likely to have a boy than a girl.” Unfortunately, the Oxford study was based on self-reported data from mothers who provided records of their eating habits during the early stages of pregnancy. In other words, women who were likely to feel slightly embarrassed or overwhelmed by their new “eating for two” food intake regimen – and therefore more likely to fudge the truth about what they were actually consuming.

I’m not exactly a scientist myself – perhaps a woman’s body can be more receptive territory for a boy or a girl, depending on what she eats. But when it comes to having a baby, it seems like the best method is to enjoy the 9 months of completely uninhibited eating and then love the child that comes out, whoever he or she is. Call it a gut feeling.

–Leah Koenig