As a mother, when you start researching on weaning first foods, methods of starting, how gradual it should be, whether traditional weaning or baby led weaning, whether a high chair or sitting on lap, whether 6 months as a benchmark or the first tooth there is a lot of confusion on the internet. So as I absorb a lot of information, it stresses a lot on “digestion”. So the first basic step to any food is it needs to be digested.
While reading several blogs, articles on this topic and joining quite a few weaning groups, plus having experience of weaning my first baby (learnings of dos and don’ts, with first we make a lot of mistakes and learn from it), I am posting below baby weaning step wise as per a good Ayurvedic doctor
GOLDEN RULES FOR WEANING FIRST TIME:
- Introduce food stepwise and gradually. Observe for any gases, indigestion, constipation on the introduction of any new food. Discontinue that particular food, then restart after a gap when baby’s activity increases (like starts crawling, walking etc)
- Start new food in the morning only as it will be easy for day-long digestion and never in the evening or night.
- Feed only fresh homemade food, which means no cerelac etc as the powders are normally full of sugar and salt. These foods would’ve been kept in the box for long which might have lost a lot of nutrients then later artificially fortified with vitamins which may affect the digestion of the baby.
- Feed water slowly starting with 1 small spoon and increase as per their thirst and need.
- When the first time you introduce water, ensure you boil it with “Balant shop” or Dill seeds, Vavding (a herb that prevents and heals gases) and kadi sakkar/kal sakre (white variety and pure one, no refined or chemical sugar). This is a homemade gripe water that is effective in reducing colic.
- Wait for 8-10 days before introducing”any” new food to the baby. This means start with one food, give for 8-10 days observe the baby’s digestion and then start with new food after this.
- As and when the baby grows and the activity increases change the consistency of the food from watery to thick soupy, then mashed and then solid boiled vegetable consistency.
STEPWISE BABY WEANING:
- Exclusive MOTHER’S MILK for the first 18 to 24 months.
- COW’S MILK – The cow must be desi local variety fed on healthy grass, left for free grazing and exposed to sunshine. If not possible to find such cow, skip giving this as the packet milk you get nowadays have dangerous adulteration and is far from healthy. These packet milk is the leading cause of lactose intolerance in children. Avoid this step of healthy desi cow is not available near you.
- RICE WATER – Start with traditional white rice water (no brown rice please, check the link to know about traditional rice at our green hands community project). Boil few spoons of rice with more water and add very little amount of pink rock salt/ Himalayan rock salt. (No white salt as it has a lot of sodium content) Check this video to understand why white salt is dangerous.
- Organic Native MOONG DAL WATER – After digestion of rice water, start with moong dal water. Try and ensure the moong dal is naturally grown without pesticides.
- VEGETABLE WATER AND FRUIT JUICE – After the introduction of moong dal, start slowly with boiled veggie water with a pinch of pink rock salt or a spoon of fresh (non sour) fruit juice.
- One can add Ayurvedic ghee or homemade desi cow ghee (a drop) to rice water or dal water as well.
WHICH VEGETABLES TO BE GIVEN IN THE FIRST YEAR:
- Sweet Pumpkin.
- Bottle gourd.
- Spinach or Palak.
- Fenugreek leaves or Methi leaves.
WHICH FRUITS TO BE GIVEN IN THE FIRST YEAR:
- Seasonal fruits are the best except some fruits that needs to be avoided in the first year (This will be covered in the foods to be avoided)
- Papaya – Cook it, mash and give once you increase the consistency to mashed foods
- Pomegranate – Make juice, filter the seeds and give 1-2 spoons
- Sweet Lime/Musambi – Make juice
- Grapes – Make juice
- Apple – Since apple is a bit hard to digest, please introduce only after baby starts walking. Ensure the apple is naturally grown and cooked and mashed while introducing for the first time.
FOODS TO BE STRICTLY AVOIDED IN THE FIRST YEAR AS PER AYURVEDA:
- BANANA- Due to it’s kapha property that induces cold and cough in young children.
- GUAVA – Due to it’s kapha property that induces cold and cough in young children.
- STRAWBERRY – Due to it’s kapha property that induces cold and cough in young children.
- SITAPHAL OR CUSTARD APPLE- Due to it’s kapha property that induces cold and cough in young children.
- WHEAT – Yes please avoid giving wheat based foods like chapatis, suji etc in the first year as gluten is hard to digest for the young gut.
- MAIDA – No maids products for one year.
- MANGO – Both raw and ripe to be avoided for the first year
- PEAS – Due to vata nature of the food.
- BEANS – Due to vata nature of the food.
- FERMENTED FOODS – Due to vata nature of the food.
- CHOCOLATES, CHIPS, BISCUITS, CERELAC, FORMULA MILK, SNACKS FROM SHOPS, MINTS ETC.
Baby is open to new tastes from 6 months to 1.5 years, so try to introduce different TASTES within this period so they don’t reject a particular taste later.