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Baby's first food in India


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I'm the mother of an almost-six-month-old, and I'm thinking a lot about how to raise a daughter with a good palette. Rice cereal (the traditional first food in America) doesn't seem like a good start-- I certainly wouldn't eat it very happily.

So I'm wondering about other countries and other traditions-- What's the traditional first food for babies in India?

(I'm also going to post this in the following forums: Italy, Spain, Japan, France, China, Middle East, and Mexico. Apologies to those who run across this question in other places!)

Edited by malika (log)
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I'm the mother of an almost-six-month-old, and I'm thinking a lot about how to raise a daughter with a good palette. Rice cereal (the traditional first food in America) doesn't seem like a good start-- I certainly wouldn't eat it very happily.

So I'm wondering about other countries and other traditions-- What's the traditional first food for babies in India?

(I'm also going to post this in the following forums: Italy, Spain, Japan, France, China, Middle East, and Mexico. Apologies to those who run across this question in other places!)

In most parts of India some form of a rice and lentil mixture aka kihichiri is a starter. It starts out very simple soft and mushy and more things are added to it as the baby gets older.

Strange as it may seem babies to like plain simple starches when they are just starting out. This is good solid food practice before they graduate to more complex things.

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Ragi/finger millet is very nutritious and easily dgested. In Kerala, south Inida, we start feeding babies a porridge made of ragi from the 28th day onwards. Powdered ragi is mixed with milk and and a pinch of sugar and cooked into a porridge. Ragi powder is now readily available at Indian grocery stores all over the US.

Ammini Ramachandran


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In addition to what has been said above, desi moms (I guess all moms)

introduce the foods in very small quantities, gradually increasing.

You want to start with a 1/4 or 1/2 tsp and observe whether there

are any allergic reactions or any other difficulties. Adjust accordingly.

A little later, (i.e. maybe around the 12 month stage onward)

when more dal type foods: e.g. khichdi as mentioned, or

another south indian favorite: toor dal cooked and pureed,

with maybe 1 small piece of carrot or green bean or similar vegetable,

then a lot of desi moms add a few drops of ajwain water or

saunf water to the dal.

This helps prevent / relieve gas that these new solid foods

can create in the beginning.

My mom had a "baby masala" that she learnt from a Punjabi friend

and taught all of us: roast and powder:

jeera, saunf and ajwain together.

Add a tiny pinch to baby's food, or boil a little in water and

make add some drops of the water to the food.


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  • 3 months later...

I have a 14 month old that eats very well and he started on Oatmeal cereal although I did add a pinch of cinnamon to his oatmeal then later to his bananas and other fruits.

Of all my Indian friends, most start their babies with bland food, I don't think what you start with is going to make a difference. My son has been eating foods from Albania to Zimbabwe since he was 5 months old.

I don't think American parents have issue with children's palettes due to starting their babies on bland cereals, but mostly because Gerber has drilled it into parent's heads that they are the only way a person's baby will lead a healthy life, which I find ridiculous. And, due to that, parents are afraid of feeding their babies the food they (themselves) eat.

Edited by Modern Day Hermit (log)


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A childs palate being varied is largely dependent on the mothers attitudes towards food. If food is fun and an adventure and something to look forward to, then they will naturally WANT to try everything.

BUT if a mother herself has food issues or says "eeeww" to things or automatically cuts off the crusts, then the child will be picky.

My son is autistic. Autistics are notoriously picky. My son eats all kinds of Japanese, Korean and Mexican things. He eats all his sandwiches with whole wheat with crusts. He loves sushi bar seaweed salad with his fishsticks. He will ask for peanut butter and coffee jelly (Amish thang) sandwiches. LOVES raw onions PLAIN. Eats sweet and hot (Hot in Philly isnt hot) peppers on his hoagies. The only thing he has issues with strangely is raw tomatoes and spicy hot stuff, but I think thats a sensation autistic thing (maybe it hurts?)

and I think all this is due to me and the fact that I have a varied palate and food isnt a big deal and I make him TASTE EVERYTHING!

BUT this wasnt always the case. He had food allergies young which caused me to restrict his diet to pretty much nothing for the first few years of his life. Now he outgrew that all and eats everything.

Leave cookbooks lying around that he/she can read.

Dont make food a big deal.

Be enthusiastic about trying new things.

Offer tastes of everything.

Wawa Sizzli FTW!

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