Are Millets Good for Babies??

Why Millets for Babies?

Millets for babies
Millets for Babies
Millets are considered superfoods. Millets are rich in many functional compounds like dietary fibre, slowly digestible carbohydrates, high protein content, B-complex vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, copper and phytochemicals.
Millets are having non-acid forming properties, easy to digest and non-allergic.
You can make a lot of recipes like millet porridge, millet khichdi, millet upma and many more.

In this blog will focus on the nutrient contents of millets and how it is helpful for the babies and how and when we can start feeding our babies with millets. I remember, when our daughter, Dona turned six months old was searching which best food that we can give to our baby. After doing a deep search on the internet could figure out that Millets could be the right food and started making recipes out of millets. She started taking this food and still continuing as she loves and enjoys millet food. Today when I ask her, what made you strong? The spontaneous answers, the "Millets".

The Nutritional Value of Millets:

Millets for babies
Millets Nutritional Value Chart

Health Benefits of Millets for Babies:

Millets for babies
Strong Baby holding the stool

1. Rich in Calcium: Calcium helps in developing strong bones in baby. As we know that Ragi contains 344 mg per 100 gm dry grain. Sprouting ragi improves the bioavailability of nutrients and make easier to digest.

2. Rich in Fiber: Millets are rich in fiber content and it helps in easy digestion in babies.
(* Barnyard Millet is rich in fiber)

3. Rich in Protein: Protein is an important building block of muscles, cartilage, skin, blood, and bones. It also helps to build and repair tissues.
(*Foxtail and Proso Millet are rich in protein)

4. Rich in Iron: Iron helps in the proper function of hemoglobin. The deficiency of iron in the body leads to anemia. Millets are rich in iron and thus prevent your babies from becoming anemic.
(*Pearl Millet-Bajra and Barnyard Millet, rich in iron)

5. Rich in Phosphorous: Phosphorous helps in breaking down and metabolizing fats. It helps in the growth, maintenance, and repair of cells and tissues in the babies.

6. Rich in Complex Carbohydrates: Millets contains about 65% carbohydrates, a high proportion of which is in the form of non-starchy polysaccharides and dietary fiber. This keeps your baby full for longer for the body to break these carbs and thus helps in weight management.


When and how to start feeding Millets to babies:

When your baby turns six months old, he/she can take a millet diet. According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad six month baby can digest thick, soft food. Thick food gives your baby more energy and nourishes him/her more than thin food.
Millets can be introduced to babies with milk and slowly can make recipes with millet rice and dal in 2:1 proportion with ghee/oil. Gradually can add vegetables with millets.



Author: Tapas Chandra Roy, Assistant Agriculture Officer, Department of Agriculture and Farmers' Empowerment, (Govt. of Odisha)



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