Tender cord – A Baby’s First Lifeline!
National Nutrition Week: Article Number 1
The first thing that comes to my mind when I write about nutrition is “The Umbilical Cord”, the primal connection of a mother to the baby and his first source of nourishment.
This cord is the connection to provide nutrition and development of the baby even when the baby is not born. The cord builds the foundation for the new soul to sustain and survive in the outer world by providing necessary sustenance from the food and thoughts. If mothers are properly nourished, the baby would be equally healthy and fit, this is the simple equation. Hence, it just becomes natural to kickstart the National Nutrition Week’s article series with this foremost important topic.
Nutrition here, is not merely physical growth of the baby or a random supply of Vitamins. It is a much broader concept. Overnutrition and undernutrition are both different forms of malnutrition (mal – improper / faulty). It’s very unfortunate that, on one hand, some people keep on feeding the mother hour by hour without any consideration of her appetite, requirements etc. and on the contrary, some do not even feed her with the necessary nutrition. These kinds of practices are very common in the society and are results of lack of proper knowledge and ignorance to this important aspect.
In the nine months of conception, all the cells of the baby are developed, and a complex process of development of different body organs and systems is initiated. A proper specialized nutrition to the mother every month ensures baby’s optimum development. A focused program of nourishment of mothers every month as per her needs is explained in Ayurveda. This program is based on the concepts of development of different body systems and subtle functions of the baby every month. Let’s have a look at these concepts in brief:
The month when the conception is anticipated, mother should consume cold (normal temperature) cow’s milk daily.
Cow’s milk boiled with herbs like Shatavari, Yashtimadhu, Black raisins and dried figs should be consumed every day.
Cow’s milk mixed with natural unprocessed honey and cow’s Ghee (in unequal quantities) should be consumed every day.
Homemade butter from Cow’s milk should be consumed regularly for the proper development of baby’s heart. Also, consume proper amount of cow’s milk and Ghee in the diet.
This is the time of development of subtle consciousness (the Manas; mind) of baby. Hence, a good amount of cow’s Ghee should be a part of the mother’s diet.
Cow’s milk boiled with herbs mentioned above should be consumed every day.
Due to increased pressure on the stomach, the mother may complain about frequent heartburns, hence, Cow’s milk boiled with sweet and cooling herbs like Shatavari, Yashtimadhu, etc. and mixed with Ghee should be consumed every day.
In this month, a variety of soups made from lentils and sprouts topped with Cow’s ghee should be consumed daily.
The diet this month should be just like earlier months.
There is a prime importance of Cow’s milk, Ghee and butter throughout the course of nine months which is highlighted in the above tips. Along with these foods, a focus should be to have a balanced and nourishing foods throughout this period. The program is also known as “Masanumasik” (monthly) diet for the pregnant mothers.
Apart from the specialized diet mentioned above the foods that SHOULD BE consumed regularly in the diet are:
Dried fruits, fresh seasonal fruits
Kheer made from Rice or Wheat
Shira/ Halwa (A traditional sweet) made from wheat flour
Green Gram Soup
Pumpkin, White Gourd, Amaranth seeds and leafy vegetables
Soft rice, Kokum soup, Jaggery sweets
Non-Veg clear homemade soups for non-vegetarian mothers
It’s always advisable to consult a qualified Ayurvedic Physician for detailed diet guidance.
Foods that SHOULD NOT BE consumed in the diet are:
Food which is stale, packaged foods
Foods with artificial flavours, colours and preservatives
Ready to eat and junk foods, soda , areated drinks etc
Unhygienic street food, chips and other foods with excessive salts and refined sugars
Alcohol and nicotine in any form
Recently, I came across somebody telling me a weird belief that if a mother consumes Ice Cream regularly during pregnancy, the baby born ll be fair. It’s a fact or myth is a different issue altogether. But even if we realize and focus on the fact that the ice creams we eat today does not even contain milk, that’s more than enough. So just stay away from such Ice Creams and such funny concepts. Indeed, you can consume it sometimes from a trustworthy source if you crave it for.
Make sure not to eat till you feel heavy and full. Have frequent, light to digest food only when you feel hungry. Avoid late night awakening, as proper sleep is highly important for a healthy development of baby.
A regular consultation with your doctor and following the instructions and medicines prescribed are also of utmost importance.
Following these small tips can also make a stronger foundation for the healthy pregnancy and a fit baby. Now, I will wind up the article just to keep it simple and short.
Tomorrow, will have a look at the concept of “Breast milk” – A baby’s first food and nutrition.
Author: Dr. Rupali Panse
Aadyam Ayurved Clinic, Baner Pashan Link Road, Pune
(Translation in english by Dr.Omkar Kulkarni, Vedaratna Ayurveda ,Pune)
(Kindly forward or share the blog without editing the author and other information )