Have you ever tried eating your baby’s food for like a week? It is bland right? Is this the right way (just because it is the tradition we grew up with) or can we glean something new from other parents?
I asked this question and searched for answers. I want my baby to expand his taste buds and that could include getting the best of herbs and spices for baby! And where did I get the answer?
From the Indians! Yes as one Indian mom blogger Preity, India is the land of spices … and why would their babies not be able to taste the splendid world of this gastronomic journey! Well you can start after you baby is 7 months old and add little by little the spices to their foods.
When we prepare our menu for the family and there is a baby in the household – we do their food separately. Boiling, purees and mashed ones are the usual food for the babies. We have to understand as parents that parenting rules are not cast in stone. Overtime it changes and we should rethink the way we bring our babies.
The rest of the worlds babies are enjoying the complex and varied tastes and nutrients from assorted herbs and spices. And we have to believe that from 8 months to one year old our babies can try out several different foods and we should make it interesting.
Research shows that adding flavor through herbs and spices for baby would be best for their health. They will eat more for sure since it is not bland unlike the usual food we prepare. And we should be revolutionizing this concept so that our children are not be picky eaters. This will train them by the time they go to school, they will be able to recognize and enjoy “real food” that is tasty and full of flavor – not those fast food hamburgers and fish crackers.
The idea of breaking from this cultural norm of bland baby food is not shocking. For breastfeeding mothers, surely what you eat will be fed to your baby through the breastmilk. So if you like spices and herbs, surely your baby at that time have been tasting it through the milk.
And surely an Indian mother like Preity have understood this. And as Preity narrated, one of her nieces who got used to those boiled veggies and cheese did not like the spices later on. So it is best to start while they are young to explore.
Start by adding spices (no not chilli yet! Wait until your baby is around 1 1/2 year old) and other herbs. These spices and herbs for baby are also a good cure for cough, colds and other maladies.
Here are some of the herbs and spices for baby that you can add next time when you prepare their purees.
HERBS for Baby
BASIL. This is sued for curing indigestion and also best for babies suffering from reflux.
CAMOMILE. Used to calm those nerves and even upset stomach. Also good to make babies relax and have a good night sleep.
MINT. It can be used for stew or for to put a tangy feel into the puree. It aids digestion and to clam the stomach. It also cures common cold by mixing it with honey and citrus.
OREGANO. Nature’s antioxidant and best preventive plant against cancer-producing cells. Good for colds, sore eyes and winter nasties.
PARSLEY. A good source of calcium, Vitamin C and boosts the immune system. Tip: If your baby dislikes citrus you can put parsley as an alternative source of Vit. C.
ROSEMARY. It has nutrients best for baby’s immune system. It is also used to fight common colds and a tenderizer for meat. It is also good for enhancing memory. Use this more for kids who are learning their first alphabet.
THYME. This is best for curing chest and respiratory illness.
SPICES for Baby
CINNAMON. This is used for stomach-ache and diarrhea. This can be added to fruit purees to add favor and smell.
CUMIN. This adds flavor to any vegetable meal and best in helping out in digestion. It is considered as one of the cancer-preventive spices.
GARLIC. Aaah we always have it in our food because it adds flavor and for its anti-viral properties. It is used to lower blood pressure and is also used for colds.
GINGER. Another nature’s wonder that aids in colds, stomach pains and nausea. It cna be added to carrot or apple puree to give that tangy spicy taste after.
NUTMEG. A natural remedy for stomach-ache. Also good for colds.
TURMERIC. It is considered as a “superfood” as it cleans out free radicals, with carcinogenic-preventive properties.
You can explore further especially when they become toddlers. For now, do not be afraid to toss some herbs into your vegetable or fruits puree. Put some basil or rosemary on the squash puree or a dash of parsley on your mashed banana or potato.
Then watch for your baby’s reaction. Allergies from spices? There are no studies. As Dr. Green said, spices and herbs is a cultural thing. And babies are still a cultural sponge in terms of food. Yes no chillies or more hot stuff while the baby is on the high chair but there’s no harm in putting milder ones.
Be prepared for questioning or look of surprise or shock from your in-laws or even from your own mother. And when they ask, tell them you and your little ninja is on a cultural culinary trip. It is time to expand your little one’s taste buds.
Hope you and your baby have a good start. Happy eating !