• Arpana Lotiya

Indian Herbs & Spices for healthy and tasty baby food

Starting solids to the baby is a big day for any parents. And despite class and culture, we all tend to celebrate this moment. This beautiful thought along with happiness and excitement also creates multiple questions in mind. Questions like when exactly to start solids, what to give first when starting solids, how much quantity to give and whether to add any herbs or spices to the food or just give boiled food.

My daughter is 1 now and when I turn back and think about those days when I had to start solids for her. I had a huge list of questions in mind. I also compare a lot between Modern Science and traditional methods of upbringing. And mostly stick to the traditional method. 

Some common questions that every new parent faces :  

a. when to start solids ?

I started when my daughter was 4 months

b. What to give in solids ? 

I started giving her dal water (traditional gujarati dal prepared for babies). This dal is much diluted then the actual dal consistency. 

c. How much quantity to give ?

I started with ½ tsp and slowly increased to 1 tsp and then 2 to 3 tbsp. 

d. Boiled vs spice mixed food 

Well when I first started giving dal water, it had diluted dal and drop of ghee. 

As I started solids when my baby was 4 months old and until she turned 6 months I used to give her dal water, apple juice, pomegranate juice and moong dal water. Any juice that I gave her, I would warm up the juice first. I used to add a drop of cow ghee and at times I would add ajwain for tadka in dal. Just a few seeds. Ajwain helps in digestion and protects the baby from any kind of stomach ache. I continued to give her one food for at least 3 to 4 days. This is to check how my baby reacts on food. Luckly, I never saw any kind of food reaction. She would poop  2 or 3 times a day which is very normal. Slowly, her body got digested to the type of food I was giving to her. 

I avoided water most of the time as I didn’t find any requirement to give. If I see my daughter is uncomfortable then I would give her warm jeera or ajwain water just a few drops. Read the benefits of giving ajwain & jeera water. 

When my daughter turned 6 months old, I started adding ajwain or jeera on a regular basis. I also used to add turmeric powder and fresh black pepper powder and rock salt into her food. Insead of oil, I used cow’s ghee for her cooking. I continued this until she turned one. And as she is one now and she prefers to eat what we eat. 

I had started giving her khichadi, dalia, ragi soup and upma when she turned 8 months. Following are the list of spices and herbs that I used to add and still prefer to add in any kind of cooking:

  • Ajwain 

  • Jeera

  • Turmeric 

  • Rai 

  • Methi 

  • Black pepper 

  • Coriander seeds

In nuts I had started giving her 

  • Almond - When she was 15 days old

  • Cashews - When she turned 1 year 

  • Walnut - When she turned 1 year

  • Kismis - When she turned 1 year 

It is everyone’s individual choice on what to give to their baby. I preferred this traditional method and it absolutely worked for me. Adding spices and herbs has its own benefits. But again it is everyone’s individual call. 

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