Starting Baby With Rice Cereal

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Most doctors will tell you to give your baby rice cereal for their first solid food. It’s not really solid, but it does present a different type of food and will be a bit harder to digest than the breast milk or formula your baby has been having exclusively up until this point. As long as you wait for the right age, and give the cereal in the correct way, you should not have too many problems when you start. Things have changed, and doctors have different recommendations with cereals that you should follow when starting.

Rice cereal is still the first cereal or food that is recommended by doctors. This is because it is very easy to digest and causes very little digestive upset. However, if you feed it to your baby too soon, they could have excess gas and other stomach upset because their bodies are not yet able to fully digest the cereal. Do not start before your doctor tells you to. Eating cereal is an addition to most formula or breast feedings at first, and will not make your baby sleep through the night. Do not start rice cereal too early for that reason alone.

You can start, for the most part, giving rice cereal when your baby is between four and six months of age. They should have great head and neck control, and should be able to sit up while supported, and later sit up on their own. If they can not sit up, they are not going to be able to swallow the rice cereal in the right way and they could choke. Baby should be interested in your eating habits, and they will have to learn to use their tongue in a different way. Be patient when you start and don’t give them too much.

Do not feed rice cereal to your baby through a bottle. They should start right away eating from a spoon. The only time bottle feeding cereal is done is for reflux reasons, but you should never do it otherwise. They need to learn to eat from a spoon and this is the time to do it. Start out with very watery consistency (mixing the cereal with breast milk or formula) and only give a few bits. After they seem to get the hang of it, you can allow the cereal to be a bit thicker and they can have more of it. They may have it twice a day once they get the hang of it.

Rice cereal does not agree with all babies. Some parents skip it and go to oatmeal because they feel the oatmeal is a better choice. Most babies can do this without problems. Oatmeal single grain cereal can be started and fed to baby in the very same way that rice cereal is given. If you feel your baby is having problems with cereal, talk to your doctor about what is going on and what they think you should do. Some babies start cereal late and that is okay, as their bodies simply are not ready for it.

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