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From Junk Food to Healthy Food

Can you believe your money is making your kids unhealthy?

money gives us access to cleaner spaces, comfortable lifestyles and much more, but we get trapped in a vicious circle of choosing quick fixes and what can commonly be called consumerism and conspicuous consumption; as a result we consume food that is highly processed, sugar loaded, high in calorie and low in nutrition.

Processed food and fast food available in the restaurants contains lots of salt, sugar and saturated unhealthy fats. Regular consumption of such food can make us prone to many diseases.

Several studies in India have shown that the percentage of unhealthy and obese kids in middle and upper income group is way higher than in lower socio-economic group- the reason is quite obvious!

You don’t have to look at older kids (6-13yrs); I have seen parents offering *imported*( read expensive) packaged munchies to their 11-12 months old babies. We happily give fancy, packaged things that are marketed to us as healthy, tasty baby food, what we don’t realise is that it is the beginning of introducing your baby to the world of JUNK. Soon your baby will start fancying anything and everything that comes packed in plastic.

An article “hold your nuggets”  by Guardian talks about children and nutrition in the UK, but it holds equally true for India too.

Over the last 20 years, kids in India are seeing what kids in the UK went through 50 years back – consuming food that is designed for children like fries, chips, pizza, burgers and what not. Other food that does big damage is the packaged food that we start offering as early as few months is biscuits, cerelac, instant porridge mixes. Why would we let our kids/babies have things that even our mature body system fails to digest?

The best way is to start well.

To start your weaning journey on a positive note.

How to help your child establish a positive relationship with healthy food?

1. The key is to eat healthy as a family- Often the family itself thrives on JUNK and packaged food (we did too), we are now trying to make conscious changes after the birth of our child. When adults eat unhealthy it passes on to the kids as well.

2. Move to family meals for your baby as soon as you can- After ascertaining that your baby can sit on her own and has lost tongue thrust and is fine with the solid food that you have given in first 1 or 2 months of starting solids, you can move to less spicy family meals (mostly at around 8- 9 months of age) Moving to family meals will save you a lot of hassle of cooking separately and then coaxing your child to eat the baby food that he/she despises. Grass on the other side is always greener, children prefer things that adults in the family eat.

3. Eat together- Eating together will help them move to self feeding sooner. When they see everyone around them eating on their own, they would want to do that too.

4. Offer finger foods- finger foods help them improve the pincer grip, fine motor skills, hand and eye coordination and finally while playing with the food they learn about different textures. Kids who self feed end up eating well and just as much as their body needs because they are aware of how much they are eating. Finger foods may include- strips of chapati/paranthas, cut fruits (watermelon, thin slices of steamed Apple, grapes and strawberries, papaya etc) sliced idli, makhana, vegetable tikkis, sautèd paneer, flash cooked vegetables.

Make sure that you are around and alert while your baby eats.

5. Never force your baby to eat. There could be days when they are just not hungry, let them be, skipping a meal or two is fine. Forcing food down your baby’s mouth will have them develop aversion to it.

6. Substituting meals with JUNK food just so they eat and stuff their tummy is going to have long term impact. I feel guilty of doing that and I am sure many of you do that too. Starving them is better than giving them food that is unhealthy and root cause for many deceases.

You could check my detailed post on Starting Solids for babies.

Do share your views and tips on raising happy and healthy eaters!

Happy parenting.


This Post was originally written for Janini, a closed Mothers community on Facebook; Janini is a platform conceptualised to share & exchange ideas, seeking solutions & resolving issues through interaction in the areas of Personal Growth, Healthcare & Childcare. Rolly of  Rolly’s Yoga Art is the founder of Janini, helping expecting and new moms in prenatal, postnatal and childcare.

babyfood, babyled weaning, doctors, first foods, funny, health, paediatricians, parenting

Bugs And The Bunny- Brushing Time Story

I love how motherhood gets the best out of us.  It brings out so many talents that we never knew existed within us.

With the birth of my little one, I have become a clown, a writer, a better and more innovative cook, a not so great photographer and yes, a storyteller.

I have suddenly developed this talent of weaving quick yet interesting stories, I love the magic spell they cast on my toddler and how he looks at me with his mouth agape.

Trying to get your toddler to brushing his teeth? Tired of all the coaxing, running and failing yet again?

Well, I may not have a jaadu ki chhadi  (magic wand), but I do have this little story that gets my tiny monster to brush his teeth, though not always.

Here it goes..

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babyfood, babyled weaning, babytalk, first words, milestone, parenting, words

Speech at 18 months

 

Image source google


Every milestone of this little boy leaves me dumbstruck; but out of all these milestones, speech has been the most interesting one. New words each day, funny, cute pronunciation; often makes me feel like “ohh isko ye bhi pata hai” (ohh, he knows this as well)

This post is mainly a record for me and my family to look back, read and smile. May be when A grows up, he’ll read this and laugh too.
Babies babble through the beginning of their lives and we all wait for them to speak up their first words. My baby’s first sound was that of ba, so he started with bubububu, which was meaningless babbling. But for us bubu is for grandfather, so, his gibberish meant a lot to his doting bubuji. At around 8 months he uttered his first meaningful word and guess what that was – A.C.!!! Yes, the A.C. for air conditioner. He would point to the A.C. and repeatedly go on saying A.c. a.c. a.c……
I don’t even remember when he started saying mumma.
Till 14-15 months he had a vocabulary of around 10 -15 words.
Suddenly post that 15 months mark there was an explosion of words and he seemed to know words for almost everything that surrounded him.
Here is the record of the words that he uses daily. I have written what I could recall, there is much more that could be added to the list.
Now, between 18- 19 months, he has started combining 2 words like – bubu pooja, cut scissors, etc.  He uses almost all these words appropriately except the word “office”. He says it clearly, but obviously doesn’t know what it means. So, when someone is missing from home, he assumes that they are in office.
AC
By bye
Bubuji (bubui/bubuji)
Chashma (chchaa)
Dance
Girgaya (gigyaa)
Dark (gaak)
Light (dight)
Laptop (mataap)
Umbrella (ambaaja)
Chhata
Mama/mummy ( also calls me mama-ii)
Mouse (maushh)
Bugs
Birds
Papa
Bua
Prisha/trisha
Mishti
Ishaan
Aama ( in Kumaoni for daadi/grandmother)
Book
Chuha
Khakha
Mumum
Bottle (battii)
Water (wataa)
Bowbow
Potty (paati)
Dirty (dati)
No
Okay
Tata
Fan
Aajaa
Hi
Bindi (bibbi)
Bugs
Spoon (spoo)
Chamach (chama)
Banana ( bana/mana)
Grapes (gapes)
Apple (aappu)
Pahan (pahaa for wearing)
Shoes (shus)
Car
Lizard  (jijard)
Gaadi (gaai)
Auto (auko)
Aunti (aati)
Naani
Happy
Give me .. gimee
Office
Thankyou (kaaku)
Nainai (bathing)
Finish (fishish)
Fish (feesh)
Dudu
Milk (mip)
Roti (doti)
Rice
Uncle (akal)
Tai
Open (opo)
Khol (kho)
Key
Chabi
Goodnight (gootat)
Yes (yeaas)
Bhaiyya (baayaa)
Didi
Names of all the dogs in our building (selfie, elbus n zombie)
Kapda (kapaa)
Diaper ( diapu)
Ship
Cow
Cat
Socks
Jhoola (juaaa)
Touch
Home
Ghummi
Bathroom (bathum)
Phone (pho)
Moon
Sit
Basaa
Wash
Clean
Pooja
Ganpati (gappi)
Machis (maachees)
Cheese
Makhana (maapaa)
Eyes (aaeees)
Nose
Mouth
Head
Teeth
Lips (bips)
Hurt
Hit
Pitti
Penis (peeus)
Hand
Haath
Toe
Paper (pepu)
Photo
Fly
Train (trin)
Plain (pin)
Cookies (coochies)
Biscuit  (bisis)
Crackers (catchers)
Pen
Woww (waaaaoo)
Music (moonis)
Song (sau)
Cut
Scissors(seesas)
Sometimes I wish i could record every moment of my life with him, the giggles, the smirk, the naughty eyes and the pranks he has already started playing are all worth looking back at a zillion times.
Here on the blog is a checklist on speech milestones and a few ideas to help you help your child get there with words.
babyfood, babyled weaning, ceralac, first foods, processed food, ragi porridge, traditional weaning, weaning

Starting solids for babies


We did annaprashan when my baby was 5months and a week old, that is because we had to do the ceremony choosing an auspicious day (as per Hindu calendar);  It was just a drop of kheer given to him.  I started solids only after A completed 6 months. My doctor gave me a list of first foods and how weekly to try and introduce different stuff. Initial foods were mushy ones like banana, steamed apple and porridges of all sorts. I had dates and bit of jaggery to substitute sugar; and for flavours I would add garlic and other mild spices like coriander powder and turmeric.
When a baby is born, there is a sudden flood of advice and information. Everybody suddenly becomes a teacher, treating you like the stupidest student. The myths and facts that a new mom is confronted with can get overwhelming. However learned and abreast with the trends we are, we do tend to fall for many of the myths and false guidance. It is important that we as parents take a stand  and make our choices, especially when it comes to food, based on research rather than having a random stranger or relatives and friends for that matter, throw their idea or opinion on us. What goes in my baby’s mouth is first approved by me; as a parent I have to decide what he eats and what he doesn’t.
I have jotted down here few things that one could keep in mind while they start weaning off their baby.

Annaprashan
The first-food ceremony

Things to keep in mind while starting solids

1.    The baby should be able to sit and hold the head steady. My baby started sitting unsupported in his 8th month, however I would always make him sit upright on my lap or in his high chair during meal times. This basically is to avoid choking instances.
2.      The baby should have lost the tongue thrust (swallowing purees and liquids while pushing out solids)
3.      Should have ideally doubled the birth-weight
4.      Breastmilk remains the primary source of nutrition for the baby till he/she reaches 1 year mark; so, don’t stress if what you offer is often rejected (which generally happens).
5.       Don’t drop breastfeeds; as said earlier, breastmilk still remains the main source of nutrition.
6.      Ensure that baby is sitting upright while eating; appropriate sitting posture reduces the chances of choking. Never feed solids while baby is lying down.
7.      Try to avoid sugar completely and add salt as little as you can, better to avoid if you can; as babies’ system is not mature to digest these. Also for babies, the sodium requirements are very nominal and are met by other sources such as fruits/vegetables etc.
8.      Honey may lead to  infant botulism (a fatal condition), so it isn’t recommended for babies under 1year.
9.      Any milk (other than breast/formula) should be avoided uptil 1 year. Dairy products and dishes from milk, like homemade paneer, curd, kheer etc can be offered 
10.  Avoid introducing any distraction while feeding. Tablets/ TV will only make your job difficult in long run.
      11.  Do not worry about the mess that is created during meal times. Let the baby feel various  textures and enjoy the meal timings
12.   A high chair or booster could prove to be a good investment.
13.  Avoid packaged food products like instant foods, biscuits, noodles, bournvita, etc. These are highly processed and contain many preservatives and chemicals which aren’t good for babies.
14. Try making the baby eat with all the family members; that way they eat well and of course it helps in family bonding too.


In order to make an informed choice, I have been talking to other mothers, doctors, support groups and reading enough online. To support these points, below are the links, most of which are internationally recognized associations/bodies.
1.   Baby’s readiness
3.   Do not drop breastfeeds, as said

annaprashan, baby, babyfood, babyled weaning, breastmilk, cerelac, first foods, infant, new mothers, weaning

“Annaprashan ” The first Food ceremony

Image source: FreeFoodPhotos.com

6 months passed by and it looked like a thing of yesterday when we were all excited yet nervous about the delivery, anxiously waiting each day if it will happen today; and after the birth, as the 6 months mark approached it hit me that my baby was about to move a little further from me, beginning the solid food journey. The selfish mother in me was a little sad, seeing time fly out of my hands, it was just 6 months and I could already imagine him 6, 16 and 26 years old an independent young boy!!



I consider myself blessed as my breastfeeding journey has been smooth ever since the first moment we were born (baby A and the mommy me) and baby was put on my breast. I have read and heard horrid breastfeeding stories and struggles of new moms. My heart goes out to all the mommies who have or are struggling with breast-feeding; and the only advice I have is to tell them to hang in there; you have come this far, it too shall pass. Just don’t give up and give in to the various suggestions of all the well-intentioned aunties, those who ask you to start solids sooner than 6 months and those who tell you that your supply isn’t enough (well-intentioned, well they sure are)

The first-food ceremony in many parts of India is called Annaprashan (feeding ceremony where “anna” meaning grains or food). We had a pooja at home that was followed by feeding the baby and then a ritual wherein we keep different articles like book, pen, currency notes, a bit of soil, knife etc on a tray. The baby is expected to touch one of these, and the first thing that the baby puts his hand on is symbolic of what his future will be. It’s a funny ritual that only adds amusement to the ceremony. A initially held the entire tray; today’s babies you see, they want it all. Later he picked up a book and a pen.

A day before A’s annaprashan, I prepared date syrup to be used in the kheer that we planned to feed him as his first food; I wanted to avoid sugar completely hence date syrup. The memory of annaprashan is not a pleasant one for me as it left A with an upset stomach for almost 3 weeks, and it totally sapped me off emotionally and physically. Apparently, A was fed a bit of sweet from the market and that’s what I suspect did trouble to his tiny immature system. Well it could also be because of those few drops of kheer or little water that was offered.

Kheer
The first food of our baby

Soon after he completed 6 months and got back to his normal healthy self, I started off with solids for him. Steamed and mashed apple being the first thing, followed by banana, moong dal khichdi, avocado and naachni/ragi porridge. 

In the first month of feeding (7th month) we followed 1 meal a day and increased one meal each month; by the time we were 10 months old we had 4-5 meals schedule which included 3 major meals and 2 snacks/fruits. 
Other dishes that were offered during first few months:-
1. Nachni/ragi pancakes (egg/ eggless both)
2. Oats idli
3. Moongdal cheela
4. Beetroot parantha
5. Homemade potato fries (for snacks)
6. Homemade sweet potato fries (for snacks)
7. Makhana/lotus seeds fried in ghee (for snacks)
8. Ragi porridge
9. Khichdi
10. Porridge from homemade cereal powder mix.
11. Oats porridge
12. Oats pancake
13. Steamed broccoli florets
14. Steamed beetroot
15. Sautéed paneer (cottage cheese)

As you go about feeding solids to the baby, remember to not reduce or stop the breastmilk or formula. Formula/breastmilk should ideally remain the primary source of nutrition till the baby is 1 year. Go slow and do not worry about how little the baby is consuming, keep a check on pee and poo and that the baby is active and happy; that’s all that matters.

Happy feeding and happy weaning

Click here to see things to keep in mind while starting solids

Also do let me know in comments, how the first-food ceremonies are held in your culture?