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.
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.
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.
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.