Ragi porridge for babies, how to make ragi for babies, toddlers – ragi porridge or ragi malt or ragi kanji is nutritious and provides a good dose of nutrients when consumed regularly. It strengthens the bones, tooth and improves the overall health. To know more about this wonder grain, You can check this detailed post on ragi or finger millet. Known as kanji, java, sari, malt, ragi porridge is made slightly different in different regions.
This post is all about feeding ragi to babies. Each baby is different, so firstly you need a lot of patience to try and find out what works for your baby.
The first 6 months a baby needs to be breastfed exclusively to gain best weight, health and immunity. But based on the baby’s needs, pediatricians even suggest ragi after 3 months.
Here are the tips on how to introduce ragi to babies.
1. Firstly consult your doctor if you can introduce your baby to ragi. Most doctors in South India suggest ragi as a first food since it is gluten free and is a least allergenic grain like oats. But care must be taken not to contaminate the ragi flour with flours having gluten in them like wheat or barley. Such contamination may lead to allergy, rashes, colic, diarrhea or upset tummy in babies. To reduce such risks, homemade flour is best. If sprouted ragi flour cannot be made, soaking the grains overnight and then drying, roasting and powdering them is also fine.
2. Follow the 3 day wait or test rule. When you introduce ragi, do not introduce any other new food for the next 3 to 4 days. This helps to analyse well whether it is suitable to your baby or not. If you find any rashes, indigestion, consistent hiccups, restlessness, colic or diarrhea stop the porridge immediately and seek doctor’s help. I do not mean to intimidate new mums, most babies are fine with ragi if proper care is taken while preparing flour and making porridge.
3. For babies under 6 months, porridge must be made either from extracted ragi milk or must be made from homemade flour that is sieved through a muslin cloth. Otherwise the baby may not be able to swallow the porridge.
4. Doctors usually recommend cooking ragi with milk or cooking with water and then adding formula milk to bring it down to the consistency. But I was told by my doctor that it is best to serve ragi alone without milk or curd. Since milk hinders the absorption of iron in ragi. Further to increase the absorption of iron, fruits rich in vitamin C like apple or pear can also be added to ragi (but without milk). This was one of the wonderful idea that was shared with me by a doctor. Since many years, I make apple ragi for myself and my 4 year old. Recipe soon to be shared.
The porridge you see in the first 2 pictures in this post is made without milk. I also sometimes make ragi porridge with milk if my kid has missed his milk on the previous day.
If interested you can check this detailed post on homemade sprouted ragi flour.
How to make ragi porridge for babies under 6 months
(Please consult doctor before you try this)
1. Wash and soak ragi for at least 8 to 10 hours. While soaking they can be refrigerated or water needs to be changed a couple of times to prevent odor.
2. Drain off and blend them in a blender jar with little water. Add water as needed.
3. Place a cloth over a colander and keep a container under it to collect milk.
4. Pour the blended mixture to the cloth and then squeeze off to extract milk. You can repeat blending and then filter once more.
5. Cook this milk on a low flame till the mixture thickens as needed. If using milk, cool it completely. Add formula powder to a cup and little water make the milk and add it to the ragi. Stir well.
6. Always serve warm. Warm foods are lighter on the tummy and digest well.
Method 2 – babies under 5 months can barely swallow anything coarse. So it is a good idea to sieve the flour through a muslin cloth and then store in a jar. Use it as needed. These pictures are only to show you how to make the porridge, do not gauge the quantity seen in the pictures. i have mentioned the quantity of ingredients in the recipe box below.
1. Add 1 tsp of flour to a pot or pan. I used 3 tbsp flour with 1 cup of water, to make porridge enough for a 4 year old.
2. Pour ½ to ¾ cup of water. Break the lumps. If using jaggery, add it to the warm water, melt it. Filter to the pan.
3. Cook till it reaches a semi thick consistency.
4. Cool and then mix formula milk as needed.
porridge should be smooth without lumps and of a porridge consistency. As the baby grows you can make it to thick like halwa.
Ragi for babies above 10 months.
You can soak 2 to 3 almonds in water (room temperature) for 4 to 6 hours. Peel the skin and then blend them in a jar with little water and add to the porridge towards the end and cook for a while. Most readers ask me if they can use almond or walnut powder in ragi. But it is easy to digest for babies when the nuts are soaked and used. Also soaking enhances the nutrition of almonds. Some babies digest almonds very well, for such babies as they grow you can just increase the quantity.
Can ragi be served when babies have cold?
Most doctors say “yes”. But my personal experience it increases phlegm and congestion. Reason: Ragi is not an easily digestible food for babies. During cold one needs to eat light, ragi tends to be heavy to digest. Any undigested food turns to phlegm and increases congestion. Plain rice porridge or apple rice porridge is best for babies during cold and congestion.
Reasons why ragi porridge may cause loose stools or diarrhea?
During the 3 day or wait test rule, if your baby ends up having loose stools or diarrhea, the reasons could be one of these:
1. Using store bought flour which may have been contaminated by gluten from flours like wheat flour or barley or any other gluten containing grain. You need to investigate further to find out if your baby has an intolerance to gluten.
2. Under cooking ragi porridge could be another reason. Uncooked fibers may be the culprit.
3. Poor hygiene maintained while preparing and feeding the baby.
Does ragi constipate babies?
Not all babies get constipated eating ragi porridge. But yes, it may constipate some babies. Reason is very simple, fiber foods need more water to get digested well. Most often we don’t serve water to babies especially to younger than 6 to 8 months old, this leads to constipation.
Tips to prevent constipation
1. For babies under 6 months, prepare ragi porridge only from extracted milk or flour sieved through a thin muslin cloth. If your baby has the tendency to constipate often even without ragi, then until 8 to 10 months, use flour that is sieved through a cloth.
2. Include fruits like ripe banana, papaya in the diet which are extremely helpful to prevent and beat constipation.
3. To follow only after consulting doctor for babies under 6 months: Feeding a few tsp. Of luke warm drinking water (same temperature as we use for making the formula milk) after 30 minutes of serving porridge works good in preventing constipation for babies.
porridge for toddlers
You can cook the flour in cow’s milk or almond milk or add nut powder.
Most readers ask the quantity that can be served for their babies. It is very hard to mention what is the right quantity since all babies don’t and can’t eat the same quantity. Iam giving the quantities that i used for my kids. They are just to provide you some idea as to how much you can attempt to feed.
Find complete recipe of ragi porridge for babies below
- 1 tsp ragi flour for babies under 6 months
- 1 tbsp flour for babies in the 6 month
- 1½ tbsp. flour for 8 months plus
- 2 tbsp. for 10 months plus
- 3 to 4 tbsp. for 1 year plus
- milk or formula milk as needed
- organic jaggery or palm sugar as needed
- If you intend to use jaggery, add it to water. Stir until it melts off. Filter it to the pan.
- Stir in the flour. Break up the lumps.
- Cook on a medium to low flame until it thickens.
- Cool it completely.
- Add milk as needed to bring it to the consistency.
- Serve immediately.