What are the characteristics of the Baby-Food?

The baby food should be the real food just like the adults’ food, after all they too are mini human-beings. It must be gentle on the little tummy and easily absorbable.

Baby food should be more nutritious than adults food as their nutritional needs are much higher compared to those of an adult during the rapid growth years. 

Most importantly, baby food should be free of the following..

    1. Pesticides
    2. Chemicals
    3. Milk powder
    4. Sugar
    5. Salt
    6. Artificial colors & flavors
What is age-appropriate food?

Age-appropriate means introducing different variety of food as per the capability of baby’s digestive system.

For example:

  1. At 6 months of age – non-allergic single grains like Ragi, BrownRice, Oats, Banana, Papaya, Carrot, Sweet Potato etc
  2. Around 7 months – Simple combinations of 2, 3 ingredients (which are already introduced as single ingredients)
  3. At 8 month – Multi-Grains, Wheat, various types of fruits and vegetables etc, mostly non-citric, non-stomach-irritating foods.

Never give multi-ingredient products at 6 months.

There are plenty of brands out there in the market, how to select the right food product for my baby?

Can I go by the online ratings & reviews?

In this modern era, reviews are the backbone of any online business. Do you know most of the ratings and reviews in the ecommerce websites are not genuine? They are paid reviews. There are many companies to create these fake reviews. It’s all the magic of marketing.

Who gives the fake reviews? Mostly college students and people who are looking for some part-time income. They have absolutely no idea about the product.

Many companies have big marketing budget for these fake reviews in eCommerce websites. This includes 5-star ratings and positive reviews for their own products and 1-star ratings and bad reviews for their competitors products. So, online reviews are the mighty weapon for many companies to fool and make people buy their products.

The Fact is..

Many companies don’t actually prepare the food on their own. They are just living on marketing.

Don’t believe me? kindly check “Manufactured by” and “Marketed by” on the food package, they both will be different companies. So who will take the complete accountability of the quality of products? These marketing companies purchase the products from some food manufacturing companies (contract manufacturers) in bulk to get best rate and keep selling the same for many months until the expiry date of the products. But don’t you think that every baby needs fresh food. 

So, how to decide?

I wish I could buy the same product (for example, Sathu Maavu) from different brands and compare the quality, nutritional levels of each of the products on my own. I know that this is not practically possible. 

Do not take a hasty decision in buying any product. Spend time, do a little research. Look at the ingredients, check the nutritional values, check for certifications. Better to go with the certified products as the companies have to follow strict rules and regulations to meet the standards set by the certifying bodies.



Can I give Cow’s milk/milk based products for children under 1 year?

No. External milk (cow’s milk) must be avoided for infants below 1 year. Cow’s milk has heavy fat & proteins that are intended for cow’s baby. These are difficult to get digested in human babies. Babies will put on excess fat instead of muscle. Milk also triggers allergies & chronic inflammatory diseases in later life. Moreover, if the cow gets exposed to chemicals/toxins, the traces of same will reflect in its milk too.

Can I give Honey to the baby under 1 year?

Absolutely not!

Honey is known to cause a serious condition called Infant-Botulism in babies under 1 year.

Honey contains the spores of Clostridium botulinum. These spores turn into bacteria in the bowels and produce harmful neurotoxins in the body. Baby’s immature digestive system will not be fully capable of removing this bacteria before they create any harm.


My baby is not accepting bland food. Can I add Sugar to the food?

Well, it is tempting to make the baby food really sweet and yummy so that baby eats it fast. But let me warn you, by adding sugar you are inviting a long time eating battle and poor dietary habits.

Sugar, the sweet poison is the leading cause of numerous preventable diseases. Research shows that

  • Sugar suppresses the immunity. This immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and lasts for many hours
  • In children, sugar is very addictive just like drugs. It promotes cravings, behavioral issues, decreased learning ability and hyperactivity 
  • Exposure to sugar early in the life is the main reason for development of cavities, asthma, obesity, diabetes & heart diseases
  • Sugar and other refined carbohydrates cause inflammation in the body

Why only sweet or sugary food, when our tongue can recognize 6 different tastes? Nature has given its own unique taste for each food. If one is addicted to sugar, he/she won’t be able to appreciate the real taste of food.

World Health Organization, American Academy of Pediatrics and most pediatricians all over the world recommend to avoid sugar completely until the child is at least 2 years. In fact, baby-food does NOT contain sugar in most of the developed nations. 

Did you know that Sugar, salt are acquired tastes? Baby does not know the taste of sugar or salt until we introduce them. So we should not promote a love for these tastes in the child’s taste buds. When the children are young, their taste buds, flavor perception and their relationship with food are just beginning to develop. We can mould their eating habits very easily at this age.

Please be a little extra patient and try to feed the Plain or No-Sweet Version to help your little one develop taste for a variety of foods and vegetables.  

Kindly do not put sugar in your baby’s little body. Bless your little one with a healthy start & lifetime health!

How about Salt?

Natural salt is present in breast-milk, grains, fruits and vegetables. No need to add any additional salt. Any extra salt will put burden on the child’s immature kidneys.

How about fortified foods?

Now-a-days the packaged food is loaded with chemicals in the name of fortification and for better shelf-life.

In India BIS has set certain requirements on the nutritional levels of baby food until the age of 2 years.

In fact, it is very easy to obtain the required amount of macro-nutrients like Protein, Fat, Carbo-Hydrates from Real-food. For example, there is no need to put chemical filled milk powder in baby-food to get 15g of protein.

The issue is with Vitamins & Minerals. For example, it is very difficult to get the BIS levels of Vitamin-C, Vitamin-A, Added Vitamin-D etc from Real-Food. So a very little amount of fortification (in milligrams generally) is required to meet the BIS standards. 

But, the general trend now is put around 35% of milk powder and to over fortify the baby food with synthetic vitamins and minerals so that all the nutrient levels are met and well-over and above the BIS levels without fail.

Does a child need balanced nutrition from Real-Food or medicine in every meal for healthy growth?

Nutrients from food are very much required but high levels of synthetic vitamins & minerals are difficult to get digested and absorbed by the body. Kidneys have tough time cleaning these unabsorbed chemicals.

It would be much appreciated, if the baby food companies put some real effort to get most of the required nutrients from real-food and can go for a very little fortification to meet BIS nutrient levels. 

Can I use the ready-to-eat(Instant Food) Products that are not certified by BIS?

Absolutely not! 

I came across a few Instant food products prepared by just roasting the ingredients. They are not cooked but just roasted.

The preparation instructions say “Pour hot water in the powder, leave for 5 minutes and then feed it to the baby”. Soaking in hot water is not equal to cooking for sure. They contain a lot of anti-nutrients which inhibit the absorption of vitamins and minerals into the baby’s body which leads to micronutrients deficiency. Moreover, if there is any bacteria by any chance, proper heat-treatment (cooking) completely kills it. Cooking 100ml to 200ml amount of baby food hardly take an extra 5 minutes. Don’t you think, your precious little one deserves extra 5 minutes of your time?

In case the product is BIS certified, it ensures that the there are no microbiomes in the food. And the proper packaging, correct moisture level which rule out bacterial growth inside the food. So, it is considered safe to consume.

Can I heat food in plastic pouches?

No. Plastic releases harmful chemicals when heated.

Finally, a word of advice..

Your little one develops food preferences (eating habits) during the early years. At this age, the child should be exposed to a variety of tastes. Kindly do NOT sweeten every food you feed your little one. Sweetening masks the original flavor of the food. It inculcates poor dietary habits that are carried into adulthood. As the child grows up, he/she will demand only junk food with excess sugar or salt. Feeding vegetables and home-made food will become a herculean task for sure!

Develop the habit of reading the Nutritional labels/ingredients on packaged food. 

Remember, your little one is totally dependent on you for a healthy start to his/her life on this planet!!


Happy parenting,

TummyFriendly Foods