Written by Editorial Team
Babies need nutrient-dense foods to grow and develop. With the sixth month, as babies start learning new milestones quickly, they also need foods that help them through both physical and psychological milestones and skills. Hence the food you give your baby during this stage is vital and must be planned properly. In this article, we will delve into introducing millets for babies.
Millets are small grains that grow across many parts of India and have been an integral part of the Indian diet for decades. This indigenous food group and filling and provides many of the nutrients that a growing baby needs. So when is the right time to introduce them and how can you introduce these grains to your baby? Here is everything you need to know.
In This Article
Millet is an easy-to-digest food. So, it is considered good weaning food for babies. Babies need only their mother’s milk till 6 months of age. Gradually, after that stage, you can introduce millet to your baby along with your mother’s milk as they will be able to chew semi-solid food.
There are various preparations of millet. But initially, millets should be prepared soft like ragi porridge or Bajra khichdi. Adding millet to your baby’s weaning food will make the dishes healthy. They provide more nutrition to your baby than cereals. But you should give millet in moderation to your baby as too much consumption may cause health problems such as digestion-related issues.
Millets are essential nutrients for babies. As soon as they are eight months old, add millet to their diet as it has the following benefits:
Do not start millet in your baby’s diet abruptly. You should go slow when you start with millet in your baby’s food. Consumption of too much millet may cause bloating, stomachache, and constipation.
Millets play a crucial role in the body of growing babies because they provide a host of nutrients. They are easily digestible and rarely cause allergies.
There are various types of millets and each of them has their nutritional value and benefits. They are discussed below:
According to a research study, “The nutritional use of millet grain for food and feed: a review”, millets are a rich source of energy, proteins, and other nutrients compared to other conventional cereals.
A proximate analysis of pearl millets and finger millets (g/100g) was done. The table is given below:
Here are some simple and easy millet porridge recipes that you can feed your little one.
Jowar/Bajra is full of nutrients. Bajra porridge will be healthy and nutritious for your baby. To make it, you will need 1/4th cup bajra or black millet 1 tsp ghee, and 2 deseeded dates.
Before making the porridge, keep the necessary ingredients ready, because you need to continuously stir the bajra porridge. Otherwise, it gets lumpy. Bajra porridge takes only two minutes to prepare. But you should soak the dates for ten minutes before preparing this dish. Then, mix it in a blender to make a smooth puree.
Heat a pan and roast bajra flour. Add the dates puree to it after the flour is properly roasted and then add water. You need to mix well for a minute so that there is no lump. Thus, bajra porridge is ready to eat. You can add a few pieces of fruit that your little one can consume easily as toppings.
Bajra is rich in iron which will not let your baby’s hemoglobin level go down.
Little millet is also known as Samai which can be fed after a baby is eight months old. You can introduce it after you have already introduced other weaning food.
To make the little millet porridge recipe, you will need a cup of little millet, 1/4 teaspoon of elaichi powder, 2-3 saffron strands and 2 tsp Coconut sugar (optional for babies above one year)
To prepare little millet porridge, soak the millets in water for at least 2-3 hours. Take some water in a pan and bring it to a boil. Then you need to add the millet. Cover the pan with a lid and cook on a low flame. Cook the millet for at least 20 minutes. You can stir the millet from time to time in between. Add elaichi powder and stir. You can add coconut powder if your baby is over one year old. Finally, garnish the porridge with saffron strands and a little millet porridge is ready to eat.
Introduce ragi to your baby only when he or she completes 6 months. To make the ragi porridge, you will need two tbsp of ragi flour and a cup of water
Mix two tablespoons of ragi flour with one cup of water. Mix well to prevent lumps. Put it on a medium flame until it is smooth and thick. You don’t need to add sugar or salt to it as babies do not need them in their food. Cool the porridge and then feed it to your baby. You can add apple puree or steamed apple to it for consistency. For babies above one, you can add 1/2 tsp powdered almonds.
Babies are supposed to be on their mother’s milk for six to eight months. After that, if you introduce millet to their diet, do it gradually. It is better to give any semi-solid food to babies when they can chew it. Begin with softly prepared food like millet khichdi or porridge.
As far as the quantity is concerned, start with a spoonful. Later, you can increase the amount. As your baby grows, you can give other dishes like jowar or ragi rotis, ragi pancakes, millet vegetable stew, etc.
You should remember the following tips when introducing new food to your baby’s nutrition plan:
Generally, millets do not cause allergies, but you should be careful before you give them to your baby.
According to a research study, “Antithyroid and goitrogenic effects of millet: role of C-glycosyl flavones” millet consumption in excess quantity may interfere with the thyroid gland functions.
It may also disturb the digestive system as millets are rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates. Thus feed millet to your baby in moderate amounts.
If your baby has any food allergy it is essential to consult a doctor before you give millets to your baby.
Millets for babies are an excellent source of nutrition. They provide all the essential nutrients for a baby’s growth. Introduce millet to your baby’s diet only after a baby turns six months like other weaning food. There are several preparations for millets. But for babies, it is better to give millet porridge initially. As they grow, you can try new dishes and serve your baby. Though millets are safe for babies, if your baby is allergic to any food, consult with your pediatrician before introducing millets to your baby’s diet.
After your baby is six months old, you can introduce millet to your baby’s diet. But consult with your pediatrician before that.
Millets containing high protein help in muscle development, make bones and teeth strong as they are a good source of calcium, prevent constipation as they are rich in fiber, protect babies from muscle contraction with their rich magnesium content, etc.
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