A newborn has to be fed fresh and pure butter (‘naruvenna’) before the first breastfeeding, suggests Ayurveda. The amount of ‘naruvenna’, which is made by churning fresh milk from a cow, should be a fistful of the newborn.
Afterwards, the infant has to be given only breast milk for the next six months. The baby will develop digestive juices only by then. This is the significance of conducting the ‘choroonu’ (first feeding of rice) after six months.
If the mother's breast milk is insufficient, the infant can be given diluted cow’s milk which has been boiled with ‘kalkandam’ (rock sugar) and cooled to room temperature.
After six months, various food items can be fed in a semisolid state (kurukku). This preparation can be made from powdered rice, cow pea, green gram, black gram, ragi, cashew nut and ‘nendran’ banana - both raw and ripe.
The method of preparing rice ‘kurukku’ is as follows:
Take three spoons of rice powder (fried). Boil it in water; add 75 ml milk, three-fourths spoon of cow’s ghee and half spoon rock sugar powder or jaggery powder. Heat the mixture again to a semisolid mass, which can be fed to the infant at room temperature.
Any of the other items mentioned above can substitute rice. If banana is used, ensure that its black seeds are removed. Fruits like apple have to be cut, cooked and mashed. When the preparation is with ragi, envelop it with a cloth. The cooked ragi has to be squeezed without taking it out of the cloth. The chaff of ragi will remain in the cloth.
Several types of ‘kurukku’ can be given to the infant five or six times a day. While feeding, make the baby lie on its back with the head slightly propped up. Only one spoon has to be given at a time. After ‘kurukku’, Cooled boiled water with rock sugar or jaggery should be fed to the baby. This is to ensure that the semisolid food does not get blocked on its way from the mouth to the stomach.
Apart from the above preparations, an infant has to be given a little ghee or butter mixed with rock sugar, jaggery or honey. Jaggery from palm is ideal. If the infant shows signs of constipation, choose jaggery. In case there is excess motion, add honey. As far as possible, do not administer any other medicine to induce motion in an infant.