Food becomes more of an agenda and a task for mothers when their kids jump from breastfeeding to solids. And the question of what is best for a child is like a chisel. Solid, semi solid, liquid. Thick liquid, flowy liquid, what should I make? Why is he eating so much? Is he fine? Oh my God! He is not eating at all today. Is he fine? Our lives become a ping-pong ball between room and kitchen. So, let’s learn some simple home-made recipes for your little one, that can easily achieve nutrition success.
When my son was two days short of 6 months old, I was dancing with joy. I literally made a list of things I would do which I couldn’t earlier as I was feeding. For 6 months, I was tied to him. Pumping didn’t work for us as he abhorred the sight of a bottle. Now I would go for a movie, a lavish buffet dinner, that much needed waxing and facial. I was dreaming. I could breathe freedom. Alas!
Not to my surprise, he hated food. Sweet, salt, bland. Every time we sat with a bowl of dal and had some consensus. They didn’t last long. Minutes later it would be all over me, my hair, my clothes.
Surely a new phase began. I no longer smelled of milk. Now I smelt like a pressure cooker. With turmeric marks on my face and rice in my hair, I wanted him to grow up fast. Or, go back to just feeding milk.
And not to forget the constant reminders as to how great every other kid is, and how other mothers don’t sing and dance to make their monkeys eat. I was practically dancing on all Bollywood numbers, hopping on rhymes just to make him open his mouth.
But all in vain.
I took a breath.
Decided to take it slow.
Month 6 onwards:
Don’t be too happy already. They have no clue as to how to open their mouth when the spoon arrives. Remember, food making it to the mouth is also a big achievement. In case, they make through those kicks and punches and heads going left and right.
Banana Puree: I tried something different. I mashed half a banana, and added 2 ounces of pre-prepared formula milk to it. Turned it into banana shake. Tasted just fine but the best part was the consistency. My baby liked the flowy shake, rather than just the banana.
Apple Stew: Tired of grating and squeezing apples? Try this.
Cut apple into small chunks. Now put it in a pan along with 4 ounces of water . Cook it till gooey and soft. Mash it with the back of a spoon. Now taste it. Bland? Add a little jaggery. This apple stew can be the game changer.
Mashed Potatoes: This is an amazing recipe to introduce salt in your child’s palate. Not just they are easy to make, but super yummy too. All you need is a boiled potato, masher and salted butter. Mash the potato making sure there are no lumps. Now add salted butter to it and mix them well. If the consistency is thick add breast milk or formula milk to it spoon by spoon to set that perfect consistency for the baby to eat it easily.
Semolina Kheer: I was a paranoid mom. And words like “gluten” and “lactose” intolerance bugged me. So I didn’t start giving him usual milk till he was 12 months old. And cooking in it till he turned 11 months of age. So this is my little twisted kheer.
Cook a spoonful of semolina with 1/4th spoon of ghee. Roast it and as the aroma comes, add 5 ounces of water. Cook it like normal suji kheer. Once done, let it cool. Now add 3 heaps full of formula milk powder. Voilà. You’ll be amazed at the way your little one would gorge at it.
Oats Porridge: Another gem in my bag was this. They are healthy and filling. And super easy if the preparation is done in advance. Dry roast ready to eat oats for about a minute in a pan. Now grind them till it becomes powdery in texture. Store these. Whenever you need to cook them, just add one heaped spoon of oats to 5-6 ounces of milk. You can choose between powder milk or formula milk according to your baby’s taste. Stir it thoroughly and check for any lumps. Adjust the consistency if the porridge seems too thick. And yummy healthy oats are ready to serve.
I am positive that a mother’s love-hate relationship with packed baby food and the dilemma of how much is too much goes on forever. Just look for cues. It’s never easy. But still. You don’t have an option.
I became a little lenient when he was around 9 months old. Don’t get me wrong. I was always a vigilant mother when it came to what goes in his mouth.
Masala and spicy food
Till I was in charge, things were different. Now he is the boss, I succumb.
8th Month onwards
My Paediatrician was very clear that by the time the baby is 1 year old and grows up to be a toddler he must eat regular food. But how to initiate was an instant question in my mind. These were my recipes:
Prantha: I am lucky that no extra spices make their way in our food at home. So I started mashing the cooked veggies and started kneading them in a dough. Everything, be it gourd, beans, peas, pumpkin, eggplant, all the pulses. He ate what we ate. The point was just to make his palate familiar with all the tastes. I succeeded. Even though he ate less at times, yet he ate something different each time.
Porridge Khichdi: This recipe resurfaced when my son was around 9 months old. Because when I first tried it, he was just spitting it all out. So initially I gave up. But tried my luck again later.
Dry roast one tablespoon full of porridge. I did not roast it at this stage because anyways pressure cooking the khichdi softens the porridge. But if you are trying this recipe when your child is still new with spoon and mouth coordination, then do grind it. For the khichdi, I add one tablespoon each of split green gram and porridge. Let it soak in water for at least 20 minutes. Now in a pressure cooker, roast half teaspoon of cumin in one teaspoon of ghee. Pour in the dal and porridge soaked mixture, add turmeric powder and later add salt to taste. Let it cook. Pour some ghee on top and feed your little one with this complete meal. You can add different vegetables to it and cook it for longer. Later mash it with a spoon so that it is easy for baby to eat.
Now even baby’s need a treat once a while, my son loved sweet. So I’ll share two of his favorites. The first one has milk, I started preparing this when he was around 11 months old.
Gajar ka Halwa: Not the ghee and mawa laden market one, but we had our own version. Grate a small carrot and cook it with half a spoon of ghee. Don’t overcook. It tends to become too chewy. Just soften it. Now add 5 ounces of normal milk to it. Cook it till all the milk is absorbed. Now add a little jaggery to it. Its yummy and healthy.
Honey Loops + Chocos : A very dear friend suggested this. And worked wonders for me as it was really great to carry while travelling too. But please ensure of any food resistance in your baby while trying it out.
Take two spoonful of honey loops and a spoon full of Chocos. I took Kelloggs. Powder them. Now add 3 ounces of pre-prepared formula milk to it. And yippee! Its ready to eat.
All babies are different and so are their taste buds. The moment I saw someone’s child eating a full banana, or taking a bottle of milk effortlessly, I used to curse myself for not being a good enough mom. I constantly psyched and checked his weight. Both before poop time and after it. If somebody said how healthy he is, I rushed to the kitchen to get chillies. I know my mommy friends would understand. But my advice – Please relax. Anyways we don’t have much of an option.
Also be well-equipped with these products, to ease the process of baby weaning to solid foods. These are life-saviors for sure!
Try these. And if your baby eats his food, don’t forget to share the joy with us.