Home made cerelac has become very popular these days. I am glad that mothers are now refraining from marketed packed food and opting for home made alternatives, but I have few doubts about this popular home made cerelac.
First, why is it called cerelac (cerelac is just the name of the brand and it has no meaning); why don’t we call it porridge mix, mixed khichdi, or something of that sort?
Second, how is it a substitute of marketed cerelac? Taste is totally different, ingredients are different, cooking method is also different. So when mothers ask ‘what should I go for? Marketed cerelac or home made cerelac?’, I want to say that they are not equivalents. If we do not ask ‘what to opt for? Cerelac or Khichdi?’, then the previous question too is not valid. They are two different things; you can go for both, or none.
Now these were least important concerns. Let’s talk about more important points.
So many ingredients at 6 months?
Marketed Cerelac is supposed to be started at 6 months. Since cerelac and this ‘Home made cerelac’ are treated as substitutes, that means home made cerelac too is to be started as 6 months; and several mothers suggest too to start at 6 months. My question is that when the baby is just starting to wean, is it right to give him a ‘mixture’? At 6 months, individual foods are supposed to be introduced one by one, so that adverse reactions if any can be observed and reasons can be found out. If you start giving mixture and the baby reacts adversely, how would you know that which component caused the allergy?
Next, though the recipes are sometimes a little different, but in most of the recipes I can see ‘urad dal’. Urad dal is heavier and more difficult to digest. When the baby starts taking food, constipation, gas, colic pain etc. commonly happen. This is the reason it is advised that we should start with lightest individual food items and then move towards more complex. The baby needs to adapt to the solids. How can we start with urad dal straight away (at 6 months)?
Dry Fruits at 6 months?
Another very constant component of home made cerelac is Almonds (and many a times cashew/walnut/pistachios too). Is it right to give almonds (and other dry fruits) at 6 months? I just talked about starting with light, so won’t repeat that point. Though I have not calculated the amount of almond and cashew powder that the baby will get in one feed, and I agree that it might be very less, but even a minute amount can trigger the allergy if the baby is allergic to dry fruits. Is it not important to find out first? 6 months is definitely not the right age to introduce almonds and cashews.
Almonds without soaking?
Next, while everyone suggests this home made cerelac to fellow mothers, nobody says that this home made cerelac can be given only in winters. In summers, even when we adults consume almonds, we always soak them. But in this home made cerelac, there is no soaking of almonds (in some recipes, soaking is included as a step, but in many, it is not). Unsoaked almonds in summers for a 6 months old baby? Are we sure it will not be harmful?
Why to cook dryfruits?
Also, in the entire process, almonds (and cashews) too would be cooked. Why should I cook something that can be given uncooked and is in fact healthier in its uncooked form? Cooking the nuts decreases their nutritional value. If we are giving nuts, then why not uncooked? If the reason is making baby eat somehow, then there are other ways too of giving them without cooking.
I am not saying that you should not give all these ingredients to your baby, but I think not at the age of 6 months. All these are very healthy, but they are better given in different ways and at different times.You should customize the recipe according to the age and other factors. Do not go with the same recipe circulating on the internet. There is nothing so called ‘home made cerelac’. And do consider the point of almonds. Give it a thought and then decide what, how and when you have to give to your baby.
(What is your say on this? Please let me know)
P.S.: I know many people suggest age appropriate recipes of home made cerelac; appreciation for them.
One more P.S.: I am no way suggesting you to go for marketed cerelac. It is always good to not to give any marketed, packed and processed food.
I am sorry if I have increased your confusion about what you should give to your half year old baby. I will try to help you out. Soon I will be posting about what all you can give at 6 months. If you are interested, please follow the Facebook Page to be notified of that and more such articles in future.
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Also Read: Do not give these foods to 6 months old baby