What is Organic Baby Food?
Organic baby foods are basically those food products that have been grown (plants) or reared (animal and
dairy products) without using any artificial fertilizers. These foods are therefore fully natural and give
us only high-quality nutrients without the harmful synthetic ingredients used in fertilizers.
Why organic baby food for your little one?
- Healthful, natural ingredients only
- Higher nutritive value than that of non-organic and processed foods
- More vitamins and minerals than non-organic foods
- Faster and better physical and mental growth
- Lower risk of health issues in later life
- Better immunity against diseases
Given these important health benefits, it is natural that most of us are shifting toward organic foods.
What is a wholesome baby food?
To qualify as a wholesome baby food, the food needs to meet certain important criteria. Whenever you think of a food for your kid, ask yourself:
- Is it fresh and made of seasonal ingredients?
- Can my baby swallow and digest it easily?
- Is it home cooked in a hygienic environment?
- Is it packed with all the nutrients my child needs?
If your answer to these questions is a resounding yes, you’ve made it to the mommy hall-of-fame!
Food is a major contributor to your child’s health and feeding him/her only organic baby food will do wonders for his/her metabolism, growth, and overall health. A balanced mix of whole grains, cereals, pulses, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables builds their palate and strengthens their little bodies.
How to build immunity in babies?
Few things scare parents as much as their little angel falling ill. Here’s everything you need to know to keep your child fit and strengthen his/her immunity against infections, weather changes, and new foods:
- Follow a set routine for waking up, bathing, meals, naps, and sleep
- Get them vaccinated regularly as per the doctor’s orders
- Feed them fresh, organic foods that are free of any preservatives and additives
- Eliminate sugar from their diet atleast till they are an year old
- Breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months
- Make immunity-boosters like garlic, ginger, and yogurt a part of their meals
- Practice and teach personal and general hygiene to your kid
- Make physical activity a part of their daily routine
The best gift you can give your kid is healthy habits that will serve him well forever!
Why should whole grains be a part of your baby's diet?
Grains are a powerhouse of energy and important nutrients that help your baby’s growth and development. In their most natural and unrefined form, their nutritive value is even higher. Whole grains have more vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fiber than their refined and processed counterparts.
Changes you will see in your baby’s health once you start feeding him/her whole grains:
- Smoother digestion
- A more active and happy baby
- Healthy metabolism
- Greater immunity
- More efficient nervous system
- Good hemoglobin level
- Stronger bones
- Optimal weight gain and maintenance
- Lower risk of diseases like asthma
Clearly, nature knows best! Ragi, Millets, Steel-cut Oats, Amaranth, Quinoa, Barley are just to name some of the most nutritious whole grains. So, get your child started on the whole grain path and see him/her blossom.
When can we introduce solids to babies?
6 months is the ideal age for introduction of solids to your babies as breast milk alone is not enough to meet your baby’s additional requirements. It is also the right time as your baby’s digestive system is now producing the necessary enzymes needed for digesting solid foods. If you introduce solid foods later, then your baby is at risk of under-nutrition and may lose weight. If solid foods are introduced earlier, then baby’s digestive system is not mature and there is a risk of allergies, infection and diarrhea also leading to weight loss. Bottom line is 6 months is the right time to introduce solids to babies although this age may vary slightly with the weight and growth of the child. So please do consult your pediatrician to check on your baby’s right time to start on complementary feeding.
What should be the first food for babies?
First Foods are those foods that are easily digestible, not allergenic and provide the all round nutrition along with the breastmilk. Grains or staples such as rice, ragi, oats and tapioca are usually ground to a flour and cooked into a porridge. As per the WHO guidelines, its best to naturally sweeten the porridges with jaggery or mashed fruits and vegetables. These not only help enhance the taste palate but also provide all the necessary vitamins and anti-oxidants. Vegetables like potato, sweet potato, carrot, beetroot and pumpkin are some of the first foods that can be added to the baby’s meals. Amongst fruits, mashed banana, chikoo or sapota, apple, pear and papaya are recommended. Often dal like moong dal is added too to the khichdi or porridge or cereal mix. Be creative and think out of the box to create your baby’s well-nourished nutritious meals!
What is the best way of introducing solid foods for babies?
Check with your health-care provider or pediatrician and start introducing solid foods at 6 months of age to provide for the baby’s additional nutritional requirements that breast milk alone can no longer provide. Start with a teaspoon of one new food. Have a ‘three day wait and watch period’ where you look for signs of any allergy or rash. If none you can safely give the newly introduced food to the baby and then proceed to something else. Initially, start with one teaspoon and gradually increase the quantity to about one 250ml cup by the child’s first birthday. Initially puree the foods and gradually the texture and consistency will change to semi solid, lumpy and finally solid food. Try to introduce the baby to as many foods as possible and eliminate salt and sugar from the baby’s meals as much as possible. If you are going for packaged food, pick your baby food wisely – organic baby food with no preservatives, additives, salt and sugar is your best choice!
Which is the best baby food for 6 months of age?
It is difficult to pick and choose any one food as best for a baby at 6 months of age. But here are some pointers to help you give the best nutrition to your baby from a range of foods. Whole grain cereals like ragi, brown rice, oats, and barley, vegetables like carrots, sweet potato and pumpkin and fruits like banana, apple, pear and sapota are some of the foods you should be looking at. Avoid anything that is processed and excessively refined which strips food of important vitamins and minerals. Foods with excessive salt, sugar and preservatives are also a no-no as they only provide anti-nutrients to the growing body and nothing else! So organic baby food with natural and wholesome foods are best at 6 months of age.
Can baby foods cause constipation?
Baby food needs to be planned such that it contains a balance of macro and micro nutrients like protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Missing fiber from the meals can lead to constipation. A food item may cause constipation in one baby may not do so for another. It’s as easy as ABC to remember the most common constipating foods. A is for apple especially if cooked and given can cause constipation in babies. B is for banana; the unripe one that can also cause constipation. Ripe bananas which are also easy to mash are better. C is for cow’s milk that should be kept away from the baby till atleast 1 year of age. In addition, if the baby is sensitive to gluten then wheat; processed grains like white rice, white bread, biscuits can also cause constipation.
So include as many fruits and vegetables in your baby’s diet and high fiber foods like oats and barley. Include fruits like Pears, prunes, peas, whole grains, some juice and water in the baby’s diet to relieve constipation.
When is the right time to introduce Ragi?
Physiologically it takes approximately 6 months from birth for the baby’s intestine to become sufficiently mature. The enzymes necessary for digesting foods other than breast milk are also produced around 6 months of age. Hence 6 months is the right time to introduce ragi to your baby. Earlier introduction of ragi may cause allergies (due to allergens passing through the immature gut of baby), infection and diarrhea leading to colic and weight loss. But be assured that ragi is one of the easiest to digest and least allergic foods- provided it is introduced not earlier than 6 months of age. Start with one to two teaspoons and then gradually increase the quantity.
Why is Ragi good for babies?
The varied health and nutritious benefits of ragi porridge merit it being a millet of choice for babies. Here’s why ragi is good for babies:
- It has six times more calcium than milk which is necessary for healthy bones and teeth.
- It is one of the least allergenic and easy to digest foods.
- It is high in fiber which prevents constipation, but do include fruits and vegetables as well in the meals.
- Unlike wheat, rye and barley, ragi is gluten free and is safe for babies who have gluten sensitivity.
- Ragi reduces the severity of asthma because of high magnesium content.
- It possesses antimicrobial properties and prevents infection.
Sprouted and malted ragi is even better as it becomes easily digestible due to the presence of enzyme amylase. So what’s better than the organic baby food containing sprouted ragi with no preservatives and additives!
Why are steel-cut oats better?
While oats were not so common in India especially as baby food, Oats contain the highest amount of beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber and a high amount of protein. Thus, oats in baby food go a long way in keeping the bowel movements healthy in the little bodies.
Oats are available in the market in different forms depending upon the amount of processing involved e.g. oat groats (whole), steel-cut oats (pieces of oats), oatmeal (whole flour), rolled oats (flattened), baby oats and instant oats (highly processed). While processing decreases the cooking time, it also strips the oats of vital nutrients. In such a scenario its best to choose steel cut oats since they have the dual advantage of the ease of cooking as well as intact nutrition.