Shaarav’s Annaprashan (First Rice-eating) Ceremony

Happy parents to this adorable infant on his Annaprashan

This was about last year on the same day when we performed the Annaprashan or First rice-eating ceremony for Shaarav at 6 months. Annaprashan holds a special place in the Indian customs and marks the introduction of semi-solid food to the baby. Annaprashan symbolizes the beginning of weaning the baby off breast milk (or formula milk). Some families organize it on a large scale, but we did it just with the close family and friends.

We all know how each first-time is important in a baby’s life. But what marks the biggest milestones of firsts is the tasting of solid food for the very first time. And we as parents had an exciting privilege to witness the event as we celebrated the occasion with family and friends.

Though Shaarav began sitting at around 5 months and began showing interest in our food around the same time, we still waited for him to complete 6 months before introducing him to solid food. Before that, we weren’t even giving him water and he was exclusively breastfed. So to watch his reaction when he first tasted the solid food was just priceless. It marked a big milestone in both Shaarav’s as well as our lives.

Thaali preparation for the Annaprashan

All about Annaprashan Ceremony you need to know

“Annaprashan ceremony” or “Annaprashan Sanskar” is a popular Indian tradition which celebrates a child’s transition from breast milk (or formula milk) to solid food. It marks the beginning of weaning the baby off breast milk by introducing him to semi-solid and solid foods. Once the baby has his Annaprashan, he can slowly and gradually be introduced to a variety of other weaning foods following a three-day rule.

The ceremony can be performed between 5th and 8th months of a child’s life when the child is ready to make the transition from a liquid diet to a semi-solid or solid diet. Most of the families usually organize it after the completion of 6 months around the time when most of the babies are able to sit with support and have begun to show interest in food that we eat.

Shaarav in a traditional attire with Mommy & Daddy

For performing the Annaprashan ceremony, an auspicious day and time “Annaprashan Muhoorat” was decided upon. I emphasized that day to be on a Sunday so that all the guests could grace the occasion without much hassle. We celebrated the function at home so that Shaarav could be comfortable and take his timely nap without a fuss.

Maama applying Teeka on little Shaarav seated on his lap

On the day of the ceremony, Shaarav was bathed and made to wear new clothes. On occasions like these, we prefer to make him wear ethnic clothes to add up to the occasion. Before the rituals began I decorated the table with a flower flanked by ‘Swastik’ on either side in ‘Roli’ where I kept the prepared ‘Thaali’ (bronze plate). The Thaali was prepared by making a Swastik on it in Roli. The Thaali contained flowers, Roli, ‘Akshat’ (rice grains), ‘Kheer’ in a silver bowl with a silver spoon, a bronze glass with a silver spoon, a bronze ‘Lota’ with mango leaves in it, ‘Poori’ and sweets. Kheer is a sweet dish prepared with rice in milk which is offered to the baby as the first food. Kheer is chosen for the baby’s first food since it is prepared with milk and is considered holy, pure and apt for any auspicious occasion.

Maama offering Kheer to Shaarav in a silver spoon

At the auspicious time, the ceremony started with Shaarav being made to sit on his Maama’s lap (Shaarav’s maternal uncle). Maama is the one who is supposed to feed the baby with the first solid food. Thankfully Shaarav is very fond of his Maama and he sat on his lap very comfortably. His Maama then applied some Roli Teeka and Akshat on his forehead and purified him by sprinkling some holy water on him from the Lota with the help of mango leaves.

Naanu and Daadu taking turns to feed Shaarav and his expression in this pic is just priceless!

Then Shaarav was offered Kheer from a silver bowl with a silver spoon and Poori. Silverware is particularly used for the ritual since the metal is regarded as the most positive of the body. Following this, his Naanu (maternal grandfather) and Daadu (paternal grandfather) took turns to give him Kheer and he ate it making funny faces (giggles!). Later Shaarav was gifted with some gold jewellery, silverware, clothes, toys and lots of blessings as other family members took turns offering him food one after the other.

Naanu playing with Shaarav to keep him calm and entertained

My tips for a safe and smooth Annnaprashan

Our ceremony went very smooth and we sailed through it without any hurdle. But it did need a bit of caution, planning ahead and preparation. Here are some tips which can help you sail through it safely and smoothly just like we did:

1) Prefer the location of the ceremony to be your home so that the baby is acquainted with the place.

2) Limit your guest list to just close family and friends to prevent the baby from getting overwhelmed.

3) Dress the baby in comfortable clothes with soft fabric and no or little embellishments.

4) The baby should be well-fed and rested before the beginning of the ceremony.

5) Baby should be surrounded by known faces during the ceremony so that he does not become cranky and remains calm and comforted.

6) Keep toys or pacifiers ready and handy for distracting the baby.

7) The food offered to the baby should be freshly prepared in hygienic conditions and should be fed after washing the hands thoroughly.

8) The utensils in which the food is offered should also be washed properly and sterilized.

9) Keep a small towel or handkerchief handy for wiping baby’s mouth or to clean up any spilled food.

10) See to it that the baby doesn’t eat more than a few spoonfuls of food to avoid an upset tummy or indigestion.

Shaarav getting gifts on the auspicious occasion

The Significance of Annaprashan Ceremony

Annaprashan ceremony holds a sacred and important place in a child’s life as it signifies a marked change in his life’s journey. Annaprashan ceremony celebrates the significance of food as it provides nourishment to our body and plays a significant part in our lives. And yet again Shaarav’s Annaprashan ceremony proved to be just another excuse to meet relatives and friends and enjoy a fun-filled day. To read about Shaarav’s Mundan ceremony click here.

Love,

Mrs. Sunshine

The smiling faces tell the story of the fun and happy Annaprashan we had

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My Mess-monster is Learning and Getting Smarter the Messy Way – Stop fretting about the mess!

My little Picasso aka My mess-monster!

I am a neat freak, I have always been so. I just cannot stand a mess. You must believe me when I say I become a maniac when I am on one of my weekly cleaning sprees, and by that I mean literally. According to Mr. Husband, I become this crazed woman and boss him around when he forgets to make the bed in the morning or wipe the floor after taking a shower.

The Lost Cause

But after the birth of our little 14-month old mess-monster Shaarav, I’m forced to, though reluctantly, let go of this habit of mine as now I am beginning to understand that trying to keep the house neat when you have a baby around is more or less like a lost cause. Well, that’s the thing; you can’t boss a baby (wink wink). Babies are meant to be messy, delving into their surroundings with gusto as they explore and discover the world the only way they know how.

Being a mother of a toddler can be a tough job, and more so when you have a handful one as my kiddo Shaarav. My little one surely knows the trick to create maximum mayhem in minimum time; he has got this exceptional talent which sometimes makes me wonder if he’s purposely trying to drive me crazy.

When Shaarav first began having semi-solids after completing his 6 months, I would jump up to clean each time he would spill or drop his food. But now I’m about ready to let go of this habit of mine and there’s a rather beautiful and one-of-a-kind story behind it.

The Story

Of whatever little time I get off of him, I use it to pursue my hobby of painting, crafts, DIYs, etc. Painting my heart out really acts as a stress buster. One fine morning when I had washed him up and he had finally dozed off after a thorough massage, I began painting. Shaarav at the time was about 7 and half months old and had still not begun to crawl. So we had safely assumed that he’s among those who would skip crawling and move directly to standing and walking.

Suddenly halfway between and still keeping things at a safe distance I had to go away to attend to a visitor at the door. I was away for about half an hour and when I returned what I saw not only did amuse me it changed me for good.

The Learning

Shaarav had crawled and reached for my colours and had created a colourful mess staining his clothing and toys. He had paint all over himself. Now coming to the interesting part, despite giving him various stimuli he would still not crawl, but the colours gave him the exact motivation he needed for making him crawl. Shaarav never fails to amaze us and though I had a long day cleaning the mess he had created, one thing I learned from the incident is that by not letting him get messy I was depriving him of a wonderful learning and sensory experience. So from that day onward, we let him hands-on allowing him to drop, roll, splatter the food and explore the different textures, colors, and flavours.

So people stop fretting about the mess and embrace the mess, you never know your kid just might be getting smarter in the process.

Love,

Mrs. Sunshine

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