Baby Food

చిన్నారులకు భోజనం

“hello gayatri garu... I have been watching your videos since your first video.. I am a big fan of yours.. I have a 1 year old daughter..its very difficult to come with new ideas for her food... could you please show some recipes to prepare for 1-2 year old baby food...”

I am tempted to write following article after getting this request from one my viewers. I am narrating my personal experience for the benefit of all young mothers.

Long long ago, as a young mother of an infant, I wanted to feed my child with best of the food and used to get three varieties of “NESTUM” and two varieties of “CERELAC”. It so happened, I needed to go Dr Nilesh Vohra for a check-up. In usual fashion as any other mother would, I complained to the doctor that my child would not like to take food, instead prefers to drink milk. Very coolly he asked me “Do you cook food at home?” Surprised at this question I answered” Yes”. How many recipes do you prepare at home he enquired? Quite a few, I told him. He questioned as to why I needed to prepare so many varieties, why not restrict to one or two or a maximum of five dishes. I said because it’s for a variety and taste. He smiled and said – “You need variety, but your child doesn’t need a variety?” Surprised at this question I told, “Doctor, I am giving him 5 different varieties of baby food and whether it is not sufficient?” The answer was an emphatic “NO”. At this point I raised the same question which I quoted above in this article. Dr Vohra suggested the following

Prepare one Dal (Pulses) and Curry (Vegetable or Green leafy) every-day at home.

Initially cook the cereal separately for the child, which should be a paste. Add more water to get this pasty texture.

When the child is small (say 6 months), add only the top water of the dal and one or two mashed curry pieces to the meal.

Put cereal only into a mixie and grind it into a coarse paste. The coarseness depends upon the age of the child.

Decide the total quantity of the cereal to be given say six spoons. Divide it into three parts. One part with Dal (water), the next is with Dal spiced with two mashed vegetable curry pieces and the third portion is with curd (not sour) / yoghurt / milk (at times curd can be spiced with a little achar/ pickle) etc. It’s a six spoon lunch, having THREE courses!!! Similar to what we have, but quantity and content moderated as per the age of the child.

Prepare the baby food fresh for each feed. It doesn’t matter even if the Dal, vegetable and cereal cooked in the morning are given in the afternoon also. But every mix should be fresh. Once we touch it with hands or spoon the food should be discarded after the feed.

The cereals can be Rice, Wheat Germ (Godhuma Rawwa), Rice Rawwa, Rice Flakes (Atukulu), Raagi Flour (in limited quantities). Cook them into paste as per the child’s requirements.

Often mothers prepare a single course lunch for the children and expect the children to do justice which they refuse.

At times give the child fresh Fruits – mashed and pulped.

If the child gets a variety of what you eat, he too would enjoy his meal. Rather he gets more variety because you are changing the cereals too.

However good brand image, the food stuff may carry, avoid frozen and canned foods because they all contain preservatives i.e. Chemicals.

Do not buy any more baby foods unless you are on an outing or travel.

I believed the Doctor and followed his advice. But I was not satisfied, because my child was no more looking chubby and is looking thin (in Telugu – Dokkuku poinadu – sannaga peelaga). The comparison was more pinching when I saw other children in the same age group who were looking attractive. Out of schedule I visited the doctor to complain “my child has reduced and does not like the food too. Rather both of us feel milk is a better option to depend upon.” I was waiting for my turn in the hall to see the doctor. The doctor could observe us both through the glass partition. As soon as I entered the room he remarked “the child looks healthy and active”. Yet I took the opportunity to tell what I wanted. His next remark was “you want to have a DOLL or CHILD in your hand?” I could get what Doctor wanted to convey.

In the subsequent counseling what I understood is

Reduce the quantity of milk gradually and increase the solid intake with the age of the child

Thereafter, retain the milk intake to a reasonable quantity

Don’t expect your child to have his full quantities, as you imagine, consisting of milk, solids, fruits etc. He would suffer from indigestion. Strike a delicate balance of the quantity of diet, which only a mother can judge.

Whenever you feel he is not eating, look at his stomach size and the size of your feeding glasses and bowls in which you are serving.

Never compare your child with others. He is a gift of God and enjoy his company.

While feeding keep on talking and keep up encouraging conversation instead of sermons and threats.

Last but not the least – Do not stifle him with your affection – leave some space for his enjoyment. A single child suffers more because of parental undivided, focused attention. Only when the next sibling arrives, the former gets respite and his sufferings reduce. As the mother has to manage two kids, she is fully occupied with the chore of the house, and thus they both enjoy their life and company. Thus the concept “WE TWO – OURS TWO”.

What I want to convey to young mothers is, do not take tension to prepare special foods for your babies. Feed them with what you eat. They would enjoy and it is good for both of you. Be choosy while deciding the proportions of the ingredients depending upon the spicyness and hardness.

When my child was 5 months old and was still on breast feed, my mother was preparing snake-gourd curry. She brought a boiled piece (before spicing it), mashed it between her fingers and gave it to him. He merrily enjoyed nibbling. Later he tasted cooked potato, carrot, beetroot, bottle gourd etc. That’s how he was introduced to stewed / boiled vegetables.

Sometimes our affluence / affordability becomes a bane for the children. In the fifth month of my delivery, I joined my husband at Bombay. Soon on reaching there, attracted by the advertisements in the media, I purchased "Nestum" and "Cerelac" to feed the child . Its only after the Doctors counselling I could understand that my MOM and Doctor are talking the same.

Just imagine your mothers who must be of my age group & we did not have the privilege of having any special variety of foods. Yet we grew up healthily and are taking care of you all, isn't? The calf initially feeds on its mother’s milk and later starts eating the blades of grass which its mother munches. Are they not healthy? Do they need to visit the often? Try to be as near to the nature as possible.

Take no tension on baby food. Feed them with what you eat only but with moderation.

Enjoy and Let the Child also enjoy!!!

If you have followed what is described above and find it useful, share with others by clicking here. It would help others also to go natural in the upbringing of children, so as to avoid baby foods . All baby foods contain chemicals which are added for preservation, texture, easy mixing etc.