Ayurveda is a traditional system of medicine that has been used for centuries because of its proven results and natural approach. As the world moves toward a natural healthcare approach, Ayurveda is again becoming popular. However, the benefits of Ayurveda also extend towards a child’s growth. There are several benefits of Ayurvedic practices for toddlers making it an excellent way to help your baby grow healthy and strong.
Today we will look at some of the Ayurvedic lifestyle and dietary practices for nurturing the growth and development of infants and young children. Here’s everything you need to know about #AyurvedicBabyCare.
Understanding Ayurveda's Approach To Baby/Toddler Growth
Ayurveda, the traditional system of medicine from India, offers a holistic approach to baby and toddler growth. According to Ayurveda, the physical and mental well-being of a child depends on various factors, including their constitution (Prakriti), diet, lifestyle, and the overall balance of the doshas (vata, pitta, and Kapha). Here are some key aspects of Ayurvedic wisdom for fostering holistic growth and development in babies and toddlers
Prakriti:Ayurveda recognizes that each child has a unique constitution, known as Prakriti, which determines their physical and psychological characteristics. Understanding your child's Prakriti can help you tailor their care accordingly. There are three primary Prakriti: vata, pitta, and kapha, or a combination of these doshas.
Balanced Doshas:In Ayurveda, health is considered the state of equilibrium among the doshas. An imbalance in the doshas can lead to various health issues. It's important to maintain a balanced dosha state in babies and toddlers. For example, excessive vata imbalance may result in digestive problems, sleep disturbances, and anxiety, while excess pitta can cause skin rashes and irritability, and excess kapha can lead to congestion and sluggishness.
Breastfeeding:Ayurveda emphasises the significance of breastfeeding for the overall health and growth of a baby. Breast milk is considered the ideal food for babies as it provides the necessary nutrients and builds immunity. Ayurveda encourages mothers to maintain a healthy diet, lifestyle, and emotional well-being during breastfeeding to ensure the quality of breast milk.
Introduction of Solid Foods:According to Ayurveda, the introduction of solid foods should be done gradually and in accordance with the child's digestive capacity. Ayurvedic texts suggest starting with easily digestible foods like rice porridge or mashed fruits and vegetables. The timing and choice of foods may vary based on the child's constitution and developmental stage.
Balanced Diet:Ayurveda emphasises a balanced and wholesome diet for children. It recommends incorporating all six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent) in its meals to ensure a variety of nutrients and flavours. Fresh, organic, and seasonal foods are encouraged, while processed and junk foods should be limited.
Massage and Oil Application:Ayurvedic massages, such as infant or toddler massages with warm oil, are believed to promote healthy growth and nourishment. Massaging with appropriate oils can help strengthen muscles, improve circulation, and provide a calming effect on the child's nervous system.
Herbal Remedies:Ayurveda utilises various herbs and herbal formulations to support the health and growth of babies and toddlers. However, it's crucial to consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner or paediatrician before using any herbs or herbal products for children.
Now let’s take a look at some of the Ayurvedic tips for supporting toddlers’ development using nurturing rituals and massage techniques.
Nurturing Rituals And Massage
Nurturing rituals and massages play an essential role in Ayurveda's approach to baby and toddler care. These practices promote physical, emotional, and psychological well-being, bonding between the caregiver and the child, and overall growth and development. Here are some nurturing rituals and massage techniques commonly used in Ayurveda:
Abhyanga (Oil Massage):Abhyanga is the practice of gently massaging the baby's or toddler's body with warm oil. Sesame oil or specialised Ayurvedic oils infused with herbs may be used. The massage is typically done before bathing and can help promote healthy circulation, strengthen the muscles, nourish the skin, and calm the nervous system. It is believed to provide a sense of security and comfort to the child.
Head and Scalp Massage:Massaging the baby's or toddler's scalp with gentle circular motions using Ayurvedic oils, such as coconut or almond oil, can promote relaxation, stimulate blood flow, and nourish the scalp and hair follicles. It can be particularly beneficial for promoting healthy hair growth and improving sleep patterns.
If you are looking for an ayurvedic hair oil you can take a look at Coco Soul Baby Massage Oil which is powered with extra virgin coconut oil and Ayurvedic herbs
Foot Massage:Massaging the feet with warm oil, focusing on the soles and pressure points, is a common Ayurvedic practice. This massage can help soothe and relax the child, improve circulation, and strengthen the feet and legs.
Gentle Stomach Massage:A gentle clockwise massage on the baby's or toddler's abdomen using light pressure can help improve digestion, relieve gas and colic, and promote a sense of well-being. It is essential to perform this massage with care and sensitivity.
Baby Bathing Ritual:Bathing is considered a nurturing ritual in Ayurveda. Using warm water and mild, natural cleansers, caregivers can create a calming and soothing environment during bath time. This ritual not only cleanses the body but also offers an opportunity for sensory stimulation and relaxation.
As a general rule, you can use coconut oil for all types of massages as they are nutritious and can moisturise, hydrate and nourish your baby’s skin and body. Coconut is one of the most hydrating fruits which will also help to keep your toddler’s skin fresh and soft. You can try a wide range of products from Coco Soul, a brand from the makers of Parachute Advansed, that solely uses coconut oil as the core ingredients for its range of natural products.
Ayurvedic Diet And Nutrition
Ayurvedic diet and nutrition focus on promoting balance and harmony within the body, supporting digestion, and providing nourishment. Here are key principles of Ayurvedic diet and nutrition in a nutshell for a holistic approach to baby/toddler growth.:
- Ayurvedic diet is individualised based on one's constitution (Prakriti) and imbalances.
- The six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent) should be incorporated into each meal.
- Fresh, whole, and seasonal foods are preferred, while processed foods should be minimised.
- Maintaining a balanced digestive fire (Agni) is important for proper digestion and nutrient absorption.
- Mindful food combination and mindful eating support optimal digestion.
- A sattvic diet consisting of pure, light, and easily digestible foods is encouraged.
- Ayurvedic herbs and spices can be used to enhance the therapeutic benefits of food.
- Hydration should be maintained with warm water and herbal teas.
- Moderation in portion sizes and avoiding overindulgence is essential.
- Individual guidance from an Ayurvedic practitioner or nutritionist is recommended for personalised dietary recommendations.
Also look at the below lifestyle and daily routines in accordance with Ayurveda that you can try for your toddler.
Lifestyle And Daily Routines
Ayurveda places great emphasis on lifestyle and daily routines (known as dinacharya) to promote overall well-being. These routines are designed to align with the body's natural rhythms and support balance in mind, body, and spirit. Here are key points about the Ayurvedic lifestyle and daily routines:
- Wake up early and establish a consistent waking time for your toddler.
- Tongue cleaning is not necessary for toddlers, but encourages good oral hygiene practices.
- Hydrate your toddler with warm water or herbal infusions in the morning.
- Encourage regular bowel movements by providing a fibre-rich diet and ensuring a comfortable and regular toilet routine.
- Gentle daily massage with warm oil can be beneficial for your toddler's well-being and relaxation.
- Give your toddler a warm bath using mild, natural cleansers.
- Engage your toddler in age-appropriate physical activities and play.
- Create a calm and nurturing environment for your toddler's meals, offering a balanced diet of fresh, whole foods suitable for their age and constitution.
- Establish a consistent bedtime routine to signal relaxation and prepare your toddler for sleep.
- Ensure your toddler gets adequate sleep based on age requirements.
- Spend time with your toddler in nature, engaging in outdoor activities and exploration.
These tips will help create a fruitful and healthy lifestyle for your child and improve their overall physical, mental and emotional growth.
These are some of the Ayurvedic techniques for healthy baby development. Following these ways for supporting baby and toddler growth through Ayurvedic rituals, massages, and herbal remedies.
Are there specific Ayurvedic herbs that promote baby/toddler growth?Ayurveda recognizes certain herbs that may support healthy growth and development in babies and toddlers. Some commonly used herbs include Ashwagandha, Shatavari, Brahmi, and Guduchi. However, it's important to note that the use of herbs in infants and toddlers should be done under the guidance of an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner or paediatrician to ensure safety and appropriate dosage.
Are there any Ayurvedic remedies for common issues like colic or teething in babies?Ayurveda offers various remedies for common issues like colic and teething discomfort in babies. For colic, gentle abdominal massage with warm oil, applying heat to the baby's tummy, and using herbal preparations like fennel or dill water may help alleviate symptoms. During teething, rubbing the gums with a clean finger dipped in honey or using herbal powders like liquorice or clove can provide relief.
Can Ayurveda help improve cognitive development in toddlers?Ayurveda recognizes the importance of holistic development, including cognitive development, in toddlers. While specific practices can vary based on the child's unique needs and constitution, Ayurveda emphasises the importance of a nourishing diet, proper sleep, sensory stimulation, and a calm and stimulating environment. Additionally, certain herbs and Ayurvedic formulations like Brahmi and Shankhpushpi may be used under the guidance of an Ayurvedic practitioner to support cognitive development.