When your baby has a cold, he may well be off his food -- in fact, an adequate intake of fluids is far more important in this situation, to prevent dehydration. On the other hand, extra minerals and vitamins will help boost his immune system, setting him on the road to recovery far sooner. But how can you get these nutrients into your baby when he is refusing to eat?

As your Grandmother will probably tell you, the answer is with a warming, comforting chicken broth.

Yes, this is actually an old wives' tale which is now being borne out by medical fact -- chicken broth has some wonderful, curative effects. The many minerals contained in a good chicken broth (or stock) are in a form that is very easily absorbed by your baby's body.

Broth also contains gelatin, which is a nutritious and easily digested mixture of proteins. It comes from the collagen that is found in the bones, skin, connective tissue and cartilage of animals and can actually aid digestion by attracting digestive fluids to foods in the gut. In the 1950's, it was noted that babies had less problems in digesting their milk when gelatin was added to it!

To make a delicious chicken broth for your baby, you need to place pieces of chicken (bones, skin and all), or a chicken carcass, into a large pot. Cover with water and then add a variety of peeled and very roughly chopped vegetables -- ideally carrots, leeks, onions, celery, turnips and a couple of garlic cloves.

Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer. You will see "scum" and fat rise to the surface during the cooking process -- periodically skim this off with a spoon.The broth can be considered "done" when the chicken is falling off the bones - but the longer you simmer the mixture, the better for your baby it will be.

* To get the most from your broth, you should cook if for at least 8 hours -- this will extract all the gelatin from the bones. About 20 mins before the end of the cooking time, add a good handful of fresh parsley.

* For an extra, nutritive boost, add a tablespoon of vinegar to the pot at the beginning of the cooking time - this helps with the extraction of calcium.

Once the broth is ready, strain it thoroughly and discard the vegetables -- they have no particular nutritive value now and should not be used to prepare a further meal for your baby.

You can give this broth to your baby on a teaspoon, or -- as long as it was adequately strained - he can even drink it from his cup or bottle if he is feeling particularly unwell.

Author's Bio: 

Christine Albury is the owner/editor of Homemade Baby Food Recipes - your guide to dealing with the many aspects of introducing solid foods to your baby.