Pap commonly known as Akamu or Ogi, is a fermented cereal puddling from Africa (Nigeria) is made from maize, millet, or sorghum and is usually given to babies with or without milk.
Due to its affordability, pap is often introduced to babies when a mother wants to wean from breast milk.
Nonetheless, brown pap (also referred to as baby’s pap) is a better option for baby food compared to the white variant.
In this article, we will be discussing the question of when can baby start taking pap, its health benefits, how to prepare it, and other frequently related questions. Read On…
When Can Baby Start Taking Pap
It is recommended for nursing moms to exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months before introducing solids.
So as soon as your baby is six months old, you can begin to introduce pap into your baby’s diet slowly.
Brown pap (also referred to as baby’s pap) is a far healthier choice for babies compared to the white variant since it can be made from 3 different grains (corn, millet, and guinea corn).
Health Benefits Of Pap Food
1. Boost Immune System
Pap provides the baby with all the essential nutrients required in the body for proper growth and development.
It is rich in B-vitamins (B1, B2, B3, and B5), iron, protein, zinc, carbohydrate, fats, and other healthy minerals required by the body for the proper functioning of the body immune system.
2. Prevents Diarrhea
Pap is a good source of probiotic food for babies, infants, and adults. Probiotics are foods that help keep the gut healthy.
They help relieve stomach upset, diarrhea, and dysentery in babies and older children.
3. Good Energy Source
Pap is a wonderful breakfast recipe for babies. It is very easy to prepare and provides the body with enough calories that will help keep the body energized all through the day.
4. Helps in Lactation
Generally, lactating moms need foods or drinks that are rich in water and other healthy nutrients.
Interestingly, pap is a rich source of water and is enriched with all healthy nutrients just in one serving.
5. Good for the Bones and Teeth
Pap is made with pearl millet, sorghum, and soybeans which are rich in calcium.
Calcium is an essential mineral for the formation of bone and teeth for a growing baby. Its deficiency can lead to osteomalacia in adults and lead to rickets in infants.
6. Protects the Heart
Pap is a good source of potassium when prepared with fermented sorghum and soybeans.
It contains zero amount of sodium which makes it the perfect food for hypertensive patients and people with metabolic disorders.
7. Prevents Anemia
Generally, children, adults, and most especially pregnant women need iron to be able to synthesize red blood cells and prevent anemia.
Interestingly, pap made with fermented sorghum, pearl millet and soybeans provide the body with the daily requirements of iron per serving.
8. Prevents Obesity
Pap is one food you should include in your list of foods if you’re trying to stay fit and healthy.
Since it contains about 50% of water per serving, it helps keep the body hydrated while giving you the feeling of fullness and preventing you from overheating.
9. Helps with Digestion
Pap prevents constipation and other digestive issues because it is easily digested.
It is widely recommended for the elderly and convalescents.
10. Enhances Male Fertility
Since pap contains zinc it can help with male fertility. Zinc is an essential healthy mineral that is required to enhance sperm quality and motility in men.
It provides the body with maximum energy and reduces recovery time.
How To Prepare Pap: Steps
- 3 cup dry yellow or white corn
- 4 cups guinea corn (white or red)
- 2 cups millet
- Ginger, Cloves, Cinnamon Stick, Flavor (Optional)
- Muslin/ Chiffon cloth or large scarf
- Thick cotton bag or salt bag (Make sure it has zero salts).
- Paint bucket or Big bowl
- Firstly, begin by washing the grains (corn, millet, and guinea corn) separately and thoroughly to remove stones, sand, bad grains, and chaff.
- After you are done washing and separating all the bad grains and sand, transfer all the grains into a clean bowl, and pour enough water to soak the grain completely.
- Now cover the bowl and let the grains ferment for 2-3days. While you do this, remember to rinse and change the water every day.
- Drain the water out from your grains from the second or third day.
- Then blend the grains either with ginger, cloves, cinnamon, or any other flavoring you choose. You can use the services of a local grinding mill to blend if you do not have a powerful blender at home.
- The end product after blending should be a smooth paste.
- Get your muslin/chiffon cloth or scarf.
- Now tie the scarf or chiffon cloth tightly around your big bowl and then place the bowl on a flat, solid surface.
- Pour a small quantity of the corn paste on the scarf. Then use your hand and a little amount of water, to sieve the paste through the scarf or chiffon cloth into the bowl. While you do this, you’ll be left with is a murky colloidal solution in your bowl and the chaff resides left behind on the cloth.
Sadly, this is the stage that needs enough hard work because you have to keep sieving until all that is left is completely dry chaff. The pap paste is sieved with a large scarf or chiffon cloth tied over a bowl.
- After you’re done sieving, remove your scarf from the bowl and cover the bowl.
- Now let it sit for 2-3 hours to allow the mixture to settle. Once the mixtures are settled, you’d notice a thick pap at the bottom with clear water on top.
- Pour out the water at the top and gently stir your pap.
- After you’re done stirring the pap well, pour it into the clean cotton (salt) bag and wring the top of the bag, ensure you squeeze it tightly to help remove any excess water.
- If water remains, tie the bag tightly with a rope and place it on a flat surface or in a sink. Place a heavy object on it and let it sit overnight to completely drain all the water.
- Now that all the water has completely drained untie the bag and there you have it, your pap is ready! You can cut it into pieces and preserve it in the freezer in transparent bags.
Read Also: How To Thicken Breast Milk With Oatmeal
How To Make Your Pap Meal
First, bring out your pap, then dissolve some paste in a bowl with lukewarm water. Dissolve it in such a way that is not too thick and not too watery.
After doing this, pour boiling water into the mixture that you’ve created and stir simultaneously until it thickens.
If the mixture is not thick enough, add a bit more dissolved paste and heat it in a pot for 60 seconds on low heat.
You can nourish your pap by adding breast milk, ground soya beans, groundnuts (almond, tiger-nut, cashew, peanuts) fruit or vegetable purees, and even groundfish and crayfish, to make the meal more nutritious for your baby.
How To Make Powdered Pap
If you wish to preserve your pap in a powdered form, here are a few steps to follow
- Sieve the paste thoroughly, as mentioned in Step 5 above.
- After it drains completely, spread it out in the sun to dry for 2-3 days.
- Once it is completely dry, blend it using an electric blender, or you can take it to the mill to grind to make it very smooth.
- After you’re done doing this, store the powdered pap for later use.
When is the best time to wean a baby?
Health experts recommend starting solid food at 6 months. Before you begin introducing solid foods to your baby, your baby should be able to control his neck, sit upright with support, push food from the front of their mouth to the back of their mouth using their tongue, and open their mouth as mealtime approaches.
So once your child hits 6 months old, you can begin introducing pap to him. You can even more nourishing by combining it with groundnuts (almond, tiger-nut, cashew, and peanuts) and or soya bean.
Can you mix Nan 1 with pap?
Yes, you can add baby formulae such as NAN, SMA gold, and soya beans with pap. Giving your child only a pap can make your baby vulnerable to malnutrition.
This is because offering only pap to your baby is not adequately fortified to provide all the necessary nutrients a baby needs for proper growth and development.
Is it ok if I add palm oil to my baby’s pap?
Yes, you can. As a mother, you can fortify your baby’s pap by adding other nutrients, including palm oil. This helps to reduce the risk of micronutrient deficiency.
As you may know, palm oil is a rich source of vitamin A, and every child needs it for proper growth and development.
Does pap make baby gain weight?
Yes, Corn pap is a great weight-gain food for babies. As mentioned earlier, millet, maize, and corn are all used to prepare a pap. Some mothers believe it is one of the fastest baby weight gain foods you can offer to a baby.
We hope this article has given an in-depth knowledge to answer the question of when can baby start taking pap, its health benefits, and how to prepare a good pap meal for your baby. If you’ve tried this out let us know by leaving a message with us.