Ayurveda considers breast milk ideal for babies. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended until six months of age. In the absence of breast milk, the baby can be fed with organic and fresh goat or cow’s milk diluted with 1/3 of water. Added candy sugar makes it easy for digestion. Milk can also be fortified with herbs.
Ayurveda categorizes babies and small children into three categories based on the type of diet:
- Ksheerapa—children up to one year with a main diet of milk.
- Ksheerannada—children up to two years, eating both milk and semisolid foods.
- Annada—children who take solids as the main food.
After six months, the following is recommended:
- Phalaprashana or introducing fruit pulps and juices. Mashed and cooked bananas or plantain sprinkled with ghee is highly nutritious and easily digestible.
- Boiled mung bean soup or daal spiced with pink salt and cumin powder.
- Dry raw banana flour is considered a superfood for babies. Cook it into porridge with milk ghee and candy sugar. It is easily digestible and nutritious.
- Ragi or finger millet flour porridge is nutritious and promotes bone and muscle growth.
- Red rice porridge—red rice powder cooked with milk, ghee, and brown sugar is highly nutritious.
- Once the baby is well acquainted with mono-diet, you can introduce cereal, lentil and vegetable combinations.
- Cook porridge of one part rice and ¼ part of mung beans, season with cumin powder and a pinch of salt. Vegetables can also be added to this porridge.
- As babies commonly suffer from gas and bloating, water boiled with cumin or carom seeds can be given regularly.
Aparna K. BAMS, MD, PhD
Aparna is one of the few specialists in the world with a PhD in Ayurveda. Born into an Ayurvedic family which operates a traditional Ayurvedic Panchakarma hospital in Kerala, India, she grew up observing her father, the renowned Dr. Padmanabhan
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