Understanding Baby Food

Granite State Whale Watch

Food for the baby is decided based on the agni the digestive fire which is the most important factor that determines the growth and nutrition of child

Agni indicates the capacity of digestion. It is necessary for the assimilation of nutrients. If the function of Agni is not proper then that will lead to number of health problems for eg colic pain, diarrhoea, skin rashes, food allergies, etc. Food allergies occurs mainly because of poor digestion, accumulation of undigested food and also because of the wrong combination of food. Often skin problems such as eczema and rashes are related to the above reason.

Breast milk -The best food

breastfeeding info graphic posterThe best food for baby is the breast milk.and the baby should be breastfed alone until  6 months and continue upto 2 years. During the period of breastfeeding the mother should be aware that whatever food she takes is transformed to breastmilk can influence the digestion of the baby. If there is undigested food  that is not evacuated from the mothers body then it may putrefy and become Aama (metabolic toxins)  and the breast milk also carries the Aama. This Aama may pass on to the baby which if again remains undigested in the baby’s food causes many health problems especially skin diseases for eg eczema.

The undigested breast milk can create colic pain, loose stools,constipation,distention, gas formulation in the baby.

As long as the  baby’s food is breast milk the treatment is given to mothers and not the baby

Babies are born with the potential of Agni, but their Agni is not yet functioning at birth.So its very important to understand the digestion of the baby.

Ayurveda suggests many formulations to improve the lactation and quality of the breast milk. It also suggests alternatives if breast milk is not available.

If the mother doesn’t have enough milk the baby can be fed with breast milk of another woman known in Ayurveda as Dhatri. But while choosing Dhatri lot of points are to be considered.

Again if this option is not available goats milk should be next choice. Goats milk is considered to be  best substitute for breast milk. Cows milk can be boiled with equal quantity of water with  herbs such  as bruhati and with sugar. Cows milk can be given to babies with Vata and pitta prakriti and goats milk for kapha prakriti.

Introduction to solids

The baby should be fed on breast milk alone until the teeth erupts..Once teeth erupts gradually solids should be introduced reducing the breast milk. Around 10th month Annaprasana samskar is conducted. The baby is made to taste the cooked rice few time the same  day.

Ayurveda says solids or cereals can be  introduced to baby after 6 to 12 months depending upon the baby’s appetite and  the liking of food. Initially solids should be introduced few teaspoons per day and then gradually increase the quantity. Also replacing with too much solids can cause drying up of breast milk.So its always advisable to start with few teaspoons. Breast milk can also  be used to dilute any of the other foods given.

First Baby food

Brother and sister
The ideal first baby food as suggested by all the text of Ayurveda are the cereals and grains.They are generally given as the main food to children.Cereals builds tissue strength and is easy for  digestion digest esp good for the budding Agni of a baby. Old rice, Brown rice, wheat ,barley or ragi are generally the first  cereals introduced to the baby. Barley water from whole grain is given in Chinese tradition from first week.

Brown rice or Navara rice is dehusked, fried and then cooked into thin gruel. Little bit of ghee and salt can be added to  this.Wheat and barley flour can be cooked and given same way.

Wheat esp the Samba variety are soaked overnight .The husk are removed and grains are ground with water .This ground mixture is strained through a cloth. This extract  is cooked with water and cows milk or breast milk .Sugar candy, ghee and dry-ginger can be added to increases the taste and flavor.

Traditionally malt preparations of ragi ,wheat are also given as first baby food.

These preparations generally can be mixed with breastmilk or goats milk or cows milk .Ghee ,sugar candies or palm candies are added to increase the taste. Also can be flavored with gentle digestive seasonings like dry ginger, elaichi, nutmeg powder.Using bit  of spices such as coriander, cumin, turmeric, hing can add taste to food along with helping the digestion of food.

Once the child is comfortable with the cereals  root vegetables such as carrot, beets or legumes  can be added to food. Beans and peas can also be gas forming unless properly prepared.

Dried raw banana powder is also one of the popular baby foods given 6 month onwards. Cooked fruits and purees of vegetables or fruits that are not acidic can be given. Fruits are helpful to prevent the constipation in child.

Depending on your culture, meat can also be introduced along with food around 12 months of age. Its better to start with with poultry, meat soups, then fish. Red meats are harder to digest for the little ones.

Ayurvedic preparation for babies

The Agni or digestive system of the baby needs time to adapt to each food introduced to digest.So it always advised to to keep one food for sometime until you are sure the child can digest it properly and go forthe next food.Different food mixed at the same meal even if given in pureed form can cause indigestion.

This is because the Agni (or enzymes if you like) needs to sort out the different foods in order to transform them, or digest them.

Ayurveda suggests preparations such as modakas that can be given to babies esp who are on solids to improve the digestion as well their immunity.They are given once teeth eruption begins and baby weaining is started.As the baby is given milk and solids chances for  indigestion is more and these modakas made of puffed rice and sugars with herbs is very useful

There are also numerous immunomodulatory formulations mentioned that are given as lehana  such as ghrita, choorna mixed with honey etc.

These medicines not only improve the digestion but also improves the immunity, strength, vital force of the child.They prepare the child physically and mentally healthy.They can be called as Ayurvedic vaccinations. Suvarnaprashan is the one of the most important formulation mentioned in text. This is prescribed especially for babies who are not breastfed enough and born not through natural birth (or cesarean sections).

Most importantly avoiding refined sugar, bottled juices, canned baby foods. Balanced food with proteins and enough fat keeps the baby’s digestive system proper state.

Following these simple steps can reduce the digestive, metabolic, respiratory problem for the infants and children as well improve their strength, immunity and memory of the children.

Instant Rice Dal Cerlac

This is a Travel friendly homemade baby food, which is really helpful for the new mums.

Ingredients:

Rice – 1 cup
Moong dal – 1/2 cup
Jeera – ¼ teaspoon
Asafoetida – a pinch

Method:

Take rice and moong dal wash it separately.
Dry roast rice in a kadai till it gets puffed up.
Dry roast dal, jeera, asfoetida.
Cool all the items and grind to a powder.
Sieve the ground powder to get a fine powder.

To Prepare instant cerelac

Take required amount of powder in a bowl.
Add hot water and mix well to get a thick consistency without any lumps.
Close the bowl with lid for 5 minutes.
After 5 mins open and mix well. Sprinkle little ghee if required.

The consistency can be adjusted by pouring more or less water.

Instant Homemade Baby food ready to be served to our little one.

Author: Saranya

I’m HomeMaker and a mother of 1 year old baby girl. I have 6 yrs of IT experience with Accenture and IGATE and currently taken break to take care of my little one.

I have an interest towards home made ancient recipes which is very healthy for kids and adults and hence started preparing all those at home and thought of sharing the same with all parents.

Why our ancestors insisted a ritual for introducing solids (Annaprashana) to infants?

She is a Rice girl

In the series of reviving ancient practices with spiritual-scientific meaning, we will decode a specific activity called as Annaprasana. That is, action of introducing semi-solids to solids to baby. Like tonsuring, swarnaprashana, naming and so on, our ancestors have listed Annaprasana as of the sixteen samskaras to be performed by parent to child. This practice was very popular in olden days, it was spanning from india to iranian culture. Hence, you will find this in parsi custom too.

The process of introducing the semi-solids / solids is timed at a particular stage, NOT with respective month. This is extremely wrong. It should be done between the time, when teeth begin to show and mother’s milk starts to diminish. Another reason is, during this time, when teeth show up, it is a clear sign of digestive fire has started to work. So 6th month or 10th month is time the range, but not beyond 10th month. Best judge is the mother. When she know her milk is not sufficient and she sees a teeth, that is the time to introduce solids. It is also a warning sign for mother to slowly reduce her feed. Else, kids will get into suckling and mother unconsciously will lose her own energy.

Best judge is the mother!

Why pray before feeding?

Today, scientifically all agree that, what you think and say have an influence over everything. “Tesla said it. Einstein Agreed. Science proved it. It is a known fact that everything—including our own bodies—is made up of energy vibrating at different frequencies. That being said, can sound frequencies affect us? They sure can. Frequencies affect frequencies; much like mixing ingredients with other ingredients affects the overall flavor of a meal.” – Kasim Khan. Hence, they used to chant mantras or pray to their respective divine. That is why we pray before eating – to invoke the positive energy.

image-asss

Water memory also illustrates how our own intentions can even alter the material world. This has been demonstrated by Dr. Masaru Emoto, who has performed studies showing how simple intentions through sound, emotions and thoughts can dramatically shape the way water crystallizes. This is also one of the reason, they pray before starting anything, particularly when mother feeds, keeping the mind calm and chanting help a lot.

Which day?

If you know the reasons “Why you shouldn’t cut nails during New Moon day (Amavasya)?” You would know, we are unconsciously affected by heavenly bodies all the time. Each nakshatra is a specific vibration that we can use it. That is the reason Swarna Prashana is given on a Pushya day. In similar line, Rohini has a specific effect. It is best for doing Annaprashana. If you can not follow this day, at least avoid birth star day.

640px-AnnaPrashan_(Anna_Prashan)_-_Hindu_First_Rice_Eating_Ceremony

Why this ritual?

In ancient time, this day was also meant to test kids memory. Memory to remember the past life. Today we have parapsychology that does lot of research on past life. For simpler version, trying reading the famous book “Many lives many master” by Prominent Psychiatrist Dr. Brian Weiss

After the first feeding, they used to place different articles, like money, toys, knife, books, flower, food and so on at equal distance to the child. Kids usually crawl towards those items and pick and play. They keep repeating this exercise few more time, sometimes it will be random and other times you will notice a pattern. They do it in ancient japanese tradition too, This reveals his journey for this lifetime.

What to give?

- by Dr. Laskhmy
Start with navara rice, wheat or barley
Modakas are the weaning foods mentioned in Ayurveda in form of semi-solid bolus given for babies on milk and solids. During the weaning phase babies are prone to health problems such as indigestion, diarrhea. Modakas are the weaning foods that can be helpful.
Priyala majja (Seed of Buchanania Lanzan), yashti madhu (glycyrhyzia glabra), honey, puffed rice and sugar-good for improving the nutritional status
Balavilwa (unripe fruit of Aegle marmelos), Elakka, Sugar, Puffed rice-good for digestion
Dhataki, sugar, puffed rice -prevents constipation
Shalyadi modaka- Prepared using any single cereal like rice, wheat, barley, etc. Based on the staple food of family.This can be combined with pulses after the child gets used to it.
Other ghrtas (Ghee based medicines) given for toddlers
Saraswata ghrtam
Mahasaraswata ghrtam
Ashtanga ghrtam
Vachadi ghrtam
Vachadi choornam for speech therapy - Vacha, Yashti Madhu, Rock salt, Haritaki, Shunti, Ajwain, Kushta, Pippalil, Jeerakam, Wight ghee.

Over a period of time, again, the reason was forgotten and people use the month count. If we look deeper, it was a based on common sense. It is amazing how brilliant our ancestors were.

A detailed blog is written by dr. lakshmy on understanding baby food.

Author: Velu Jayaprakash

Velu Jayaprakash is a social entrepreneur, product manager, techy, photographer, meditator, father of two angels, ancient wisdom seeker, holistic adviser and Soul coach. You can reach him at velu.jayaprakash AT gmail DOT com