The introductory first foods for a baby should be pureed and mashed as the digestive system of the baby is not used to solids. Mashed fruits and cereals are ideal first foods for babies who have completed six months of age. According to Indian Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations, “appropriately thick homogenous complementary foods made from locally available foods should be introduced at six completed months to all babies while continuing breastfeeding”.
- White rice – 4 cups
- Water – as required
- Powdered milk or formula milk
- Soak the rice in water for about 6 hours then wash and rinse it, leave it to dry on a clean dry piece of cloth leave it for about half an hour.
- Dry roast the rice on a medium flame for 5 minutes and then on a low flame.
- After a while, rice begins to pop and splutter. The grains turn out very light so the cereal is gentle on the tummy. Switch flame off and let it cool.
- Put these roasted grain in a mixer grinder and make a fine powder. Store it in an airtight jar.
- To prepare baby food, always use a heavy bottom steel pot. Do not use aluminium or non-stick pans.
- To prepare the cereal, mix 1 tablespoon flour with ½ cup water and cook on a low flame, constantly stirring to prevent burning.
- Adding little amount of sugar is optional as most paediatricians advice against the use of sugar or salt in first foods.
- When the cereal cools down, add formula milk or breast milk to enhance the nutrition.
- Increase the quantity gradually depending on how the baby responds to a particular recipe.
- In case the baby does not like the taste of a particular food, you can try it again after a gap of a day or two.
- If it becomes too thick, add some warm water to adjust the consistency.
- Use locally available variety of ingredients.
- Foods cooked on a low flame yield the best texture and taste.
- 1:6 ratio of flour: water works well to bring it to the right consistency. Sometimes you may need to add more water since that depends on the kind of rice you are using.
- Alternatively, water in which green gram (moong dal) has been boiled, can be used. In case you use lentil water instead of milk, you can serve the porridge with a trickle of ghee.
1 cup of uncooked short-grain white rice contains 716 kCal of energy. Rice is a good source of carbohydrate and potassium.