Introducing Solid Foods to Babies (The Ayurvedic Way)

Baby looking at food
When you introduce solid foods to your baby in a methodical and harmonious way, this will help promote digestive health and prevent food intolerances for that whole child’s future.

Ayurvedic medicine holds profound wisdom for post-natal rejuvenation for a healthy baby and mother.

The baby’s overall health is mainly treated and attended to via the mother’s health: post-natal rejuvenating herbs, nutrition, massages and other Ayurvedic post-natal interventions. 

For the baby, there are other interventions like natural Ayurvedic immunisation herbs, baby abhyanga massage, and other interventions mentioned in our Ayurvedic Post Natal Care Plan.

How long to Breastfeed for

Ayurveda recommends breastfeeding for up to anywhere between 1-3 years.
2-3 years is ideal, but consideration is given to the mother's energy levels.
Note, you should not breastfeed while pregnant, and if pregnancy manifests while breastfeeding, Ayurveda advises to stop breastfeeding so as to not take away nutrition supplied to the fetus.

When to introduce solid foods? (Auspicious Ritual: Anna Prāśana)

The very first time you feed your baby solid food is a very special and auspicious activity that is considered a rite of passage according to Ayurveda.
Introducing solid foods, known as “Anna Prāśana” अन्न प्राशन is one of the 16 Purificatory Rites of Passage (“Ṣoḍaśa Saṃskāra” षोडश संस्कार)
The very first time you should feed your baby IS at an auspicious time: when the baby is 6 months and 6 days or 5 months and 5 days; either suffice when it comes to auspiciousness for this rite of passage.
You can also find a specific muhurta (auspicious time period) for your baby, by contacting a Jyotish Vedic Astrologer.
sitting baby looking and smiling at food

What food do I first feed my baby?

The very first food to feed your baby at an auspicious time is cooked rice with a tiny bit of raw sugar (optional), milk and ghee.

First Food Recipe: Smooth Rice Porridge

  1. Add ½ tsp of ghee in a pot and let it melt and warm.
  2. Add 1tsp of rice or rice ground* (better because more fibrous) and fry/toast in the ghee.
  3. Add 2.5 cups of water and cook well for another 5 minutes or so.
  4. When the rice is cooked well, add ¼ - ½ cup of non-homogenised full-cream cow’s milk and bring to a “milk boil” (not a strong boil like water, milder so that the milk is boiled).
  5. Add a small pinch of quality raw sugar or organic jaggery (ensure it has no salt) and mix in (optional).
  6. When it starts becoming thick it is ready to eat.
sitting baby looking and smiling at food
Which rice to use?
Use rice that is old (at least 6-12 months) and that grows as local to you as possible. White or red rice is ideal for this initial feeding.
*First soak the rice for 30 mins and then lightly dry roast the rice on a fry pain and then grind into a coarse powder to make a coarse rice flour.
Administering Instructions for Rice Porridge
  1. Dip a gold ring or silver spoon (these metals boost immunity) in the porridge and give to baby to suck with your right hand.
  2. Even that one little feed is enough.
  3. This can be a regular food for the baby.
  4. Parents or family can have the rest of the rice porridge.

General Notes About Solid Food Introduction for Babies

No/Very Little Salt and Sugar
Preventing habitation to these tastes will prevent blood sugar, diabetes and blood pressure issues. All vegetables and fruits have all the tastes, so no need for high concentrations of salt and sugar. A very little amount of salt and sometimes sugar in cooking is fine.
Ghee is So Important!
Ghee promotes the intelligence and intellect of the baby. It is also very important for the post-natal rejuvenation of mum. 
One Food at a Time: Take it Slow
Start one food at a time give that for 10-15 days before any other food is introduced. Do not combine many new foods together.
First, Soft Foods – Start with soft foods like porridges, banana and soft fruits, carrots, pumpkin and soft vegetables.

What If I Have to Feed My Baby Before 5 Months and 5 Days or have Insufficient Breast Milk?

If you are not getting enough breast milk, refer to our Ayurvedic Post Natal Care Plan and take the recommended herbs and protocols.
If still milk supply is inadequate, you can gradually introduce warm (but fully boiled) cows and goats milk in an appropriate way as well as formula if necessary to supplement breast milk.

First Two Weeks of Solid Food

  1. Grains and Legumes – Lightly dry fry on a pan and then grind into a powder to be ready to cook. Grinding the rice/legume rather than buying powder maintains the fiber.
  2. Little fruit – One fruit at a time. Soft fruits like banana, cooked apple or cooked pear. Whatever is in season, local and organic.
  3. Spices – Add a very little amount of cumin, ajwain and very very little salt.
  4. Ghee – A lot of ghee is the most important.

Baby Food Mix - Best Stable Food Recipe

Give at 6 - 12 months of age or longer. Provides strong bone and bodily tissue formation.
It's fine to make the initial dry mixture in batches that last for 10-15 days.
Ingredients:
Measure 1/2 cup each of:
  1. Split yellow mung dahl
  2. Toor dahl
  3. Urad dahl
  4. Ragi (red finger millet) (optional, more cooling).
  5. Rice
Preparation method:
  1. Wash these legumes/grains and soak each one separately in water for one hour
  2. Drain well and wash again
  3. Dry roast them in a pan all together till lightly browned, along with a teaspoon of cumin and ajwain seeds.
  4. Grind the mix in a blender into fine granules (may need to use a sieve to remove and re-grind larger pieces).
  5. This mixture can be stored and then cooked as needed for each meal.
Cooking method:
    1. Boil a small amount of water in a pan and add the dahl/grain mixture gradually, stirring well to remove any lumps.
    2. Cook on low heat for a minimum of 10 minutes or more, stirring frequently till the mixture is smooth and well-cooked (add more hot water as needed).
    3. Stir in a little ghee at the end, before serving.

7 Months – Solid Food Introduction

  • Now is the time to start introducing vegetables.
  • Whatever you give the baby at 7 months, he will not dislike now or in the future. This is why you must give them all the healthy vegetables (e.g. greens, bitter gourd/melon, cabbage, etc.) and healthy fruits
  • Continue rice and dahls made into a porridge.
  • Vegetables: zucchini, squash, carrot, snake gourd, bottle gourd, bitter melon.
  • See below for more recipes to introduce at 7 months.

8 Months – Solid Food Introduction

  • You can introduce quinoa and more vegetables.
  • Mash carrots, beetroot and spinach are good.
Vegetables and Fruit slices

Animal Milk - Food Introduction

Cow's Milk (Introduce after 1 year old):
Prepare milk according to this recipe Hot Milk Elixir.
Animal Milks for Baby:
Goat's milk - goat eats every leaf - all medicinal values, boil and spices, once every 2 months (also this often for adults).
Donkey's milk once in a lifetime before 1 year to remove Kapha doshas. Boil milk with an equal quantity of water like all kinds of milk.

If Your Baby is Experiencing a Cold, Flu or Any Immune & Respiratory Symptoms:

  1. Boil ½ cup of non-homogesnised full-cream cow's milk + ½ cup of water
  2. Add a tiny pinch of turmeric powder
  3. Chop 4-5 garlic cloves, keep aside for 15 minutes (allow rasayana and beneficial components to release) and tie into bolous.
  4. Dip the raw garlic poultice into the milk to infuse some garlic in the milk (improves immunity a lot) - only add if baby likes the taste as nausea might come. Baby will probably get used to it.
  5. Crush some ajwain seeds in a poultice and also dip for immunity.
  6. Add one baby-sized pinch of swasakasantak yog, mix well and drink.

Herbs for Baby

These are ancient natural ayurvedic herbal remedies for babies:
1. Pusya drops - To be given every month of pusyami naksatra (constellation).
  • 2 drops once/day. Can give to the baby for 3 days from the day of birth.
  • Then give once a month on Pusya naksatra for 3 days.
  • Dosage for one year and above: 10 drops on pusyami naksatra once a day and then continue for 7 days each month.
2. Swasakasantak yog – helps prevent disease, strengthen immunity and prevent allergies.
  • Can give from 6 months. 1 (baby-sized) pinch in the mouth.
3. Samadhi - if the baby can’t sleep well, night terrors or anxious.
  • From 6 months. A tiny pinch in the baby/child's mouth.
4. Dhatu - to further develop tissues. A tiny pinch in the baby/child's mouth or in warm milk.

More Baby Food Recipes

Semolina Porridge (start around 7 months)

Ingredients:
  1. 1tsp coarse semolina
  2. 1/4 tsp ghee
  3. 2 glasses of hot water
  4. 1/8 tsp cardamom powder
  5. Pinch of quality jaggery
Method:
  1. Heat the ghee in the bottom of the pan
  2. Add the semolina and stir while on medium heat
  3. Roast for a few minutes until it becomes light brown in color then add the 2 glasses of hot water and the cardamom and continue cooking.
  4. When it starts becoming thicker, take it from the heat and it's ready to eat.
*Using more water is very important while cooking porridge for babies.

Stewed Apples (around 7 months or before)

Ingredients
  • 1 finely chopped apple
  • 1 glass of water (enough water to soak the apple)
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon cardamon
  • 1/4tsp of ghee
Method:
  1. Boil the water and add the chopped apple on a medium heat until the apple becomes soft.
  2. Add cinnamon and ghee and continue cooking for another 2 minutes.
  3. Mash the apple until it makes a smooth past and serve.

Baby Kitchari

Ingredients:
  1. 2 Tbsp of Rice (washed then soaked for 2 hours)
  2. 1.5 Tbsp of split yellow mung dhal (soaked for 2 hours)
  3. 1/8-1/2 tsp ghee
  4. 1/8 tsp turmeric
  5. 1/8 tsp cumin powder
  6. 2 cups water
Method:
  1. Heat the ghee on a medium heat and add the pre-soaked lentils and rice and infuse the ghee in the rice and lentils for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add turmeric and cumin powder and then add the water.
  3. Cook until the lentils and rice become tender.

Lentil Soup

Ingredients
  1. 2 Tbsp split yellow mung lentils (washed then soaked for 2 hours)
  2. 1/4 Tbsp Ghee
  3. 1/8 tsp turmeric
  4. 2 glasses of water
Method:
  1. Heat the ghee over a medium heat and cook (stir) the lentils in ghee for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add 2 glasses of water and start boiling.
  3. Add the turmeric.
  4. When the lentils become tender, strain them. Keep the water & this is ready for the baby to have.

Balancing Baby Pancakes

Ingredients:
  1. 2 parts semolina
  2. 1/2 part wheat flour
  3. 1 part rice flour
  4. 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  5. 1/4 tsp coriander powder
  6. 1/4 tsp fennel powder
  7. 2 times of total quantity of water
  8. Little salt according to taste
Method:
  1. Mix all the ingredients together with water and stir until it becomes a good past with no lumps.
  2. Leave to sit for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Heat the pan and add 1tsp of ghee
  4. Spread the pancake mixture in a thin layer on the pan.
  5. On a medium heat, let it cook for a few minutes on one side and turn over adding a little more ghee.
  6. It is ready when the other side becomes light brown.
  7. Serve to the child. This is a delicious, nourishing and easily digestible meal.

Constipation Remedies for Babies

It is very important for the baby to have bowel motions every day. This allows the entire system to build for later on.
If constipation is there, please look at the foods the baby is eating and assess the overall health of mum.
Below are some remedies for constipation if it comes in children:
  • Tamarind stick - Inside a bunch of raw tamarind you will find a soft, flexible stick the size of a finger or bigger. With a tiny bit of tamarind on the end (like a match stick), stick it up the anus (very shortly, less than half an in deep). The baby will immediately have bowel motion.
  • Slowly massage clockwise circulate coconut oil in the navel.
  • Fibrous food for mother and child.
  • If still not working – 1 very small pinch of shodana vati powder in hot water before dinner with or without sweet lime.

Remedies for Babies with Digestive Problems

  • “Ajwain breath” - When crying because of stomach/colic pain, the mother must chew ajwain seeds and blow “ajwain air” into the child's mouth. Gives immediate relief to the stomach.
  • Janamghati (herb) - till 1 year - digestive problems.
  • Bonnissan (herb) - after 1 year, you can give forever. For digestion and to increase appetite.
RELATED ARTICLE: AYURVEDIC POST NATAL CARE PLAN

5 Comments

    1. My mother in law told us to make a paste with asafoetida and put a small amount around babies belly button when we thought bubs was uncomfortable with stomach pains.
      Have you heard this also?

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