Feeding baby oatmeal cereal

How to Get Started – The Baby's Brew

I will always remember feeding each of my babies their first foods. After months of only breastfeeding and bottles, my husband and I couldn’t wait to introduce the next milestone to each of our babies. But with the first baby at least, there was also apprehension. Our pediatrician had recommended we start with a single-grain baby cereal such as rice cereal, but I didn’t know which one to get and I wanted to make sure I fed my baby the right way!

So to get you started off on the right food with baby feeding 101, I’ve put together this guide to giving your baby cereal for the first time. And it will only get more exciting as you introduce other foods to your little one. 

Choosing a First Baby Cereal

Before you actually feed your baby, you have to choose what you want to give them from the array of cereals and other options available.

Most parents reach for the rice cereal to give their baby as their first food. I know I did as a new mom! It’s an easy choice and one that doctors suggest due to its benefits. It's easy to such as its digest, won’t trigger an allergic reaction and is tolerated well by babies who’ve only been fed breastmilk or formula. It’s also iron-fortified, which babies need as their iron stores start to deplete around 6 months of age. 

Though rice cereal has traditionally been suggested as the best first food for your baby, even many doctors may still give this recommendation, it has gotten a bit of a bad rap in recent years due to the arsenic that’s found in rice - causing parents to look at other options. (This article from Healthy Children explains how you can ensure rice cereal can be used in a healthy diet for your baby.)

If you do choose rice cereal, you’ll want to start introducing other solids to your baby shortly so that’s not all that they are getting, as recommended by the FDA.  

Other Cereal Options Besides Rice

Fortunately, if you want to skip the rice cereal completely, you can! There is no need to feel like this is the only first food for your baby. Many experts share that any iron-fortified single-grain baby cereal is a great choice, such as baby oatmeal or barley. You can even start with other pureed foods which we discuss later on in this article.

When to Start Feeding Your Baby Cereal

Several years ago the recommendation was that parents could feed their babies at four months if they showed readiness signs. But medical advice evolves and this is a guideline that medical experts have changed to give babies the healthiest start possible. 

It’s now suggested that it’s best to wait til closer to your baby’s ½ birthday to introduce solids, especially if he is breastfed. There’s really no reason to rush it!

But it’s not just age you want to pay attention to as we know that all babies develop at different rates.

Here are signs to look for that will let you know your baby is ready for solid foods:

  • able to sit up supported in a high chair
  • has proper head control
  • no more tongue thrust
  • eager to take a spoon
  • are interested in the food that you are eating

If your baby isn’t yet showing these signs, you’ll want to wait a bit longer before starting baby cereal or other solid foods. No need to worry - all babies are ready in their own time! Your baby will continue to get the nutrition they need from their breastmilk or formula so you don’t need to be concerned that they are missing out on important nutrients. If you do have concerns, it’s always best to talk to your pediatrician.

Can you give your baby cereal in a bottle?

Even though your well-meaning grandma may suggest that you mix cereal into your baby’s bottle to help fill them up so they can sleep better, this practice is actually not safe according to the CDC. In fact, they share that it won’t help your baby sleep better anyway. This practice puts your baby at risk for choking or overfeeding and also may encourage parents to start solid foods long before they are ready. 

Instead, follow the guideline to not feed your baby solid foods until he or she is at least 5-6 months in age and watch for the other readiness signs mentioned above. At this point you can feed your baby with a spoon and introduce finger foods as they are ready. 

RELATED: Starting Solid Foods With Your Baby

How to Introduce Cereal to Your Baby

Breastmilk and formula will continue to be your baby’s primary source of nutrition until the age of one, but cereal is a great way to get them started with supplemental nutrition and transition them to solid foods. So how do you go about it?

Here are the steps to follow to give your baby her first single-grain cereal:

  1. Make sure they meet the recommended readiness signs. This will not only make for a safe feeding experience for your little guy or gal, but it will also be a lot more enjoyable for you.
  2. Plan to feed your little one after they’ve had a full feeding of breastmilk or formula. This way their tummy will mostly be full which means they’ll likely be happy to try a little cereal. (If you try to introduce solids to a hungry baby they will most likely be uncooperative!) Initially you’ll only feed your baby once per day, and it’s up to you when you want that time to be. We recommend choosing a time that your baby is usually in good spirits!
  3. Follow the directions on the label of your chosen baby cereal. You don’t need much to start! 1 tablespoon of cereal mixed with breastmilk or formula until it’s a runny consistency will be plenty for those first couple of feedings. If your baby is used to drinking warm milk or formula, you’ll want to use that same temperature of milk to mix with your baby’s food. (This is why we love the Baby’s Brew portable bottle warmer...you can choose your baby’s milk temperature with the push of a button!)
  4. Be sure your baby is sitting upright. Ideally this would be in a highchair, but they could also be sitting on your lap. You’ll want them to be wearing a bib as a lot your little one’s food won’t make it into their mouth initially.
  5. Use an infant spoon to feed your baby. Do your best to get the spoon into their open mouth, but just know it’s going to be a bit messy at first as they get the hang of what’s going on. It won’t be long before they are opening wide at mealtime!
  6. Watch for cues from your baby that show that they are full (or are just are no longer interested). If your baby turns their head, is fussy or won’t open their mouth to eat, it’s time to be “all done!”

And that’s it! You can do another feeding the next day (or you can just do every other day) with the same type of cereal. Be sure to wait three - five days before introducing another food so you can keep an eye out for any allergic reactions. This is the recommendation given by the CDC. 

After a couple weeks to a month of successfully feeding your baby once per day you can move to twice per day.

Does cereal have to be your baby’s first food?

Some parents choose to start with a different food or may take baby cereal out of their little one’s diet altogether. Starting with other pureed foods instead is totally fine and may even work better for some babies. WebMD shares that both pureed vegetables or fruits are good starter foods and that there’s no rule saying that baby cereals must be first. 

Some great first foods, if you want to skip the cereal route, include:

  • Avocados 
  • Bananas
  • Blended Red Meat (great source of iron)
  • Squash
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Pears

Just remember that these all need to be pureed and made into a runny consistency that’s easy for your baby to eat. Mixing with your baby’s warmed breastmilk or formula will help to bring this to a consistency that your baby can manage. You’ll also want to avoid giving your baby any of the top allergen foods such as the ones listed here unless you’ve been given different advice from your doctor. These are best introduced when your baby gets a little older. 

Still not sure which food to start with? It can be a bit overwhelming! This is a great conversation to have with your doctor before your baby turns 6 months and they can help guide you on what would be the best option. Whatever you choose, it is sure to be an exciting time for your family as your little guy or gal begins his journey of eating "real" food!

Feeding Your Baby the First 12 Months - Pediatric Nutrition - Golisano Children's Hospital

Golisano Children's Hospital / / Feeding During the First 12 Months


Foods/Age 0-4 Months 4-6 Months 6-8 Months 8-10 Months 10-12 Months
Breast milk or iron-fortified formula 5-10 feedings per day; 16-32 ounces 4-7 feedings per day; 24-40 ounces 3-5 feedings per day; 24-31 ounces 3-4 feedings per day; 16-32 ounces start cup skills 3-4 feedings per day with meals, use cup; 16-24 ounces
Grains, breads and cereals NONE Iron-fortified infant cereal (rice, oatmeal, barley). Mix 2-3 teaspoons with formula or breast milk. Feed with spoon. Single grain iron fortified infant cereals. 3-9 Tablespoons per day divided into 2 meals per day. Iron fortified infant cereals. Toast, bagel, crackers, teething biscuits. Infant or cooked cereals. Unsweetened cereals. Bread. Rice, mashed potatoes, macaroni.
Fruit juices NONE Infant juice. NO OJ or tomato. ONLY 2-4 ounces/day. Infant juice. Try cup. Only 4-6 oz daily All 100% juice, Vitamin C enriched. OJ, tomato are OK. Limit to 6 oz daily. All 100% juices. Vitamin C enriched. 4-8 oz per day.
Vegetables NONE NONE Strained/mashed, cooked vegetables. If giving corn use strained. 1/2-1 jar. 1/4-1/2 cup per day. Cooked mashed vegetables. Junior vegetables. Cooked vegetables. Raw veg like cucumbers or tomatoes.
Fruits NONE NONE Strained/mashed fruits (fresh/cooked: mashed up banana or homemade applesauce). 1 jar to 1/2 cup per day. Peeled soft fruit wedges, bananas, peaches, pears, oranges, apples. Unsweetened can fruit packed in water/juice. NO grapes. Any fresh fruit, peeled/seeded. Unsweetened can fruit packed in water/juice. Cut grapes.
Protein Foods NONE NONE NONE Strained meats/ground lean meat, fish, poultry. Egg yolk, cooked dried beans. Small, tender pieces of lean meat, poultry, fish. Whole eggs, cooked dried beans.


from how many months to introduce oatmeal to a child

Published: 09.12.2019

Reading time: 4 min.

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Oatmeal is the most popular breakfast among residents of many countries. The excellent taste of this dish and the energy boost of slow-digesting carbohydrates make for a good start to the day for all family members. The word "oats" comes from the Latin avere, which means "to be healthy". Oatmeal is also known under the name "oatmeal" - after the name of the ancient Greek mythological hero, endowed with great physical strength and endurance. Oatmeal is included in the mandatory diet of not only Olympic champions, this product appears one of the first on the baby's menu in the first year of life. Let's look at why oatmeal occupies an honorable place in the pyramid of healthy eating and when to introduce this healthy product into the child's diet.

Content: Hide

  1. Oat carbohydrates
  2. Oat proteins and fats
  3. Biologically active substances of oats
  4. Timing of the introduction of cereal complementary foods
  5. Oatmeal Safety
  6. Choice of porridge
  7. Oatmeal Bebi Premium

Oat carbohydrates

All cereals are a source of carbohydrates, primarily starch, which determines a burst of energy and a long-lasting feeling of fullness after eating porridge. This is due to the slow digestion and gradual assimilation of the product. Oatmeal is rich in starch, but compared to other cereals, its proportion is less. However, starch grains are very small, which determines its almost complete assimilation. The rest of the slowly digestible carbohydrates are dietary fiber, and oatmeal surpasses many cereals in the content of this component. Vegetable fiber is very important for the normal process of digestion and also serves as a natural food for the gut microbiome. Maintaining the numerical composition and diversity of one's own intestinal microflora is an indisputable factor in human health. Oatmeal contains unique soluble dietary fiber, which has an enveloping effect, protecting the mucous membrane of the stomach and intestines. In addition, oat fiber helps to eliminate toxins and has a positive effect on cholesterol levels. Products based on oatmeal are used not only in the diet of a healthy person, but also in therapeutic nutrition schemes.

Proteins and fats of oats

Oat groats in terms of vegetable protein content can only compete with buckwheat and are significantly superior to other cultivated grains in this characteristic. In addition to the quantitative content, the qualitative composition of the protein is very important: oatmeal contains almost all essential amino acids in a balanced ratio. These substances are not synthesized in the human body, but are absolutely necessary for life, especially during periods of intensive growth. Among them, the content of lysine, methionine and tryptophan is especially important. These amino acids are very important for the development of the immune and nervous systems. Oat protein is easily digestible, therefore products based on this cereal are widely recommended in dietary and baby food. Oatmeal contains a fairly large amount of vegetable fats, which also determines the high nutritional value of the product. They are easy to digest, almost completely absorbed and stable to oxidation. The qualitative composition of oat oils is also important, which is characterized by the content of essential fatty acids (oleic, linoleic and linolenic) in the most favorable ratio.

Biologically active substances of oats

Useful properties of oat groats are connected not only with the content of essential nutrients. The restorative effect and a positive effect on the work of almost all organs and systems of the body are also determined by the micronutrients included in the composition. The high content of B vitamins (especially B 1 and biotin) has a beneficial effect on metabolism and ensures high performance. In combination with a sufficient intake of magnesium, and oats are also rich in this mineral, a person’s mental activity improves, sleep and mood normalize. Oatmeal is rich in vitamin E, which is necessary for the functioning of the immune and reproductive systems, has a positive effect on the condition of the skin and hair. The high content of silicon and phosphorus has a beneficial effect on physical development, musculoskeletal system and linear growth. In terms of the content of trace elements such as copper and manganese, oats absolutely surpass other cereals. Copper is part of numerous enzymes that provide cellular respiration, as well as liver cells that neutralize toxins. Manganese is very important for hematopoiesis and energy metabolism. Oat grains are a natural source of flavonoids that protect cells from destruction and premature aging.

Timing of the introduction of cereals

At what age can this healthy and nutritious product be introduced into the baby's diet? For the first four months of life, the baby's body can only absorb mother's milk or an adapted mixture, since the gastrointestinal tract and kidneys are still functionally immature. The process of maturation is individual, but for most infants, by the 4-6th month of life, it is already possible to introduce complementary foods. Moreover, by this age, the nutritional value of breast milk or formula is no longer enough to ensure intensive growth and development of the baby. There is a need to expand the diet. Cereal products are the most preferred choice of first complementary foods. They are distinguished by high nutritional and energy value, the content of almost all essential nutrients, as well as good compatibility with breast milk. As the first complementary food product, a baby can be offered dairy-free porridge or cooked on the basis of mother's milk. The familiar taste will allow the child to quickly adapt to changes in nutrition, which will facilitate the introduction of complementary foods in the future.

Oatmeal safety

At what age can I start complementary foods with oatmeal? The introduction of cereals in the first 6 months of life has limitations associated with the possible toxic effect on intestinal cells of vegetable gluten protein. Early mucosal contact with this protein can cause serious disease. Therefore, the list of cereals that can be used for the first feeding includes rice, corn and buckwheat. The question of the toxicity of oats for the immature mucosa of the baby still remains completely unresolved. According to most experts, oatmeal is a safe protein, but oatmeal can be contaminated with impurities from other cereals. Therefore, this product is introduced into the child's diet after 5 months of life.

Choice of porridge

How to prepare oatmeal for baby food? This is a simple but at the same time very important practical question. Despite the apparent simplicity of home-made cereals, specialized baby food products are the preferred choice. The modern level of industrial production determines the high quality standard of finished products so that every child can get the best for healthy growth and development. Bebi Premium baby food cereals are a well-thought-out recipe that meets the needs of a child in every age period, and guaranteed quality of raw materials, at all stages of production in accordance with international safety standards.

Bebi Premium oatmeal

All Bebi Premium oatmeal porridges are made on the basis of cereals, not flakes, which allows you to preserve the beneficial properties of the grain shell as much as possible. In their production, a special technology of grain processing and subsequent drying is used, which makes it possible to produce cereals based on cereals, but no heat treatment is required during cooking. At the same time, a delicate taste and the necessary degree of grinding of the finished product are preserved. A great choice to start your oatmeal introduction to babies over 5 months old is Bebi Premium Oatmeal Without Dairy. In addition to the beneficial properties of oatmeal, the composition of the product is enriched with the natural prebiotic inulin, as well as a unique vitamin and mineral complex. Then the baby can be offered another tasty and nutritious product of the Bebi Premium line - “Oatmeal porridge with milk”. All Bebi Premium milk porridges contain special baby milk, which is allowed from 4 months of age. To further enrich the diet with pectins, sugars and organic acids, the menu can be expanded with cereals with fruit and vegetable components. "Oatmeal porridge with peach and milk" Bebi Premium contains 100% natural peach puree, which gives the product natural sweetness, expands the range of taste sensations and gradually prepares the baby for the introduction of fruit and berry complementary foods. In children of the second half of life, multi-cereal products can be safely included in the menu. Oatmeal is a part of multi-component dairy and dairy-free cereals of the Bebi Premium line, which allows you to use the benefits of different cereals to improve your baby's health.

#First food #Nutrition for children up to a year #Complementary food

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When to introduce oatmeal into complementary foods for babies

— Ekaterina Borisovna, is it possible to give oatmeal for the first complementary foods and how useful is it for a child?

- Oatmeal is a gluten cereal, so it is not suitable for the first feeding . But in the second half of life - depending on when you started cereal complementary foods - the baby can try this wonderful product in all respects.

Benefits of oatmeal for children

  • Rich in protein, vegetable fats, is an excellent source of slow carbohydrates, energizes the baby for a long time, creates a feeling of satiety.
  • The amino acids that make up this porridge are involved in protein synthesis, building muscle fibers and the formation of protective antibodies.
  • Useful fiber has a protective effect on the mucous membrane of the gastrointestinal tract, and also stimulates the bowels.

Oatmeal naturally combines a variety of B, E, PP vitamins, as well as potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper, iodine, zinc and other micronutrients.

  • B vitamins are involved in metabolic processes, including those in nerve cells.
  • Calcium and phosphorus help strengthen bones and teeth.
  • Iodine is essential for normal thyroid function.
  • Potassium normalizes the functioning of the cardiovascular system.

— Pediatricians do not recommend ordinary oatmeal for complementary foods. What is the reason for this?

- Adult oatmeal is made from whole oatmeal that has undergone minimal mechanical processing. Such grain contains more useful substances, but absolutely is not suitable for baby food . The emerging enzyme system of the baby is not yet ready to break down the coarse structure of oatmeal. And the use of porridge from it, most likely, will cause disturbances in the work of the immature gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, oatmeal from an adult diet is not suitable for feeding children under one year old.

Oatmeal in complementary foods: what and how much to give

- What should be oatmeal for a child under one year old?

— For baby food, fragrant oatmeal is used, obtained by grinding oat kernels, which have undergone a special heat treatment. It retains the maximum amount of useful substances, and its delicate structure has a protective effect on the mucous membrane of the digestive tract.

Types of baby oatmeal

— Dairy-free mono porridge is suitable for the first feeding with oatmeal and feeding babies with allergies. Toddlers who are not allergic to cow's milk proteins can try milk oatmeal with goat's or cow's milk. Do not forget that goat's milk is closer in structure to breast milk and is easier to digest, because when it is curdled in the stomach, a tender loose clot is formed, which is well broken down by enzymes. It is also less allergenic, so goat's milk cereals are suitable for children at risk of developing an allergy to cow's milk protein .

Fruits, vitamin-mineral complexes, probiotics can be added to porridge to improve taste, as well as to enrich it with fiber and useful micronutrients. This normalizes digestion and helps the baby better adapt to a new type of product. In addition, nutritional supplements provide a complete diet.

— When to introduce oatmeal into baby food?

- Oatmeal - complementary foods for a child over 6 months of age, it is introduced only after acquaintance with gluten-free cereals - rice, corn, buckwheat. If complementary foods are not started before six months, this does not mean that you can give oatmeal for the first complementary foods. First of all, you still need gluten-free cereals, you can’t use gluten-containing oatmeal. Let me remind you that gluten is a protein that is difficult to digest, and its introduction too early can provoke disturbances in the gastrointestinal tract.

See also
  • about gluten-free cereals for the first meal

— How much oatmeal should a child be given?

- Oatmeal is given in accordance with age norms. The first complementary food is a few teaspoons, gradually the amount of porridge is brought to the desired volume.

Medium serving size of oatmeal:

  • 6-7 months 100-150g;
  • 7-8 months - 180 g;
  • 9-12 months - 200 g;

All figures are arbitrary: the baby can eat a little less, a little more, it's not critical. But we must remember that oatmeal contains a lot of phytic acid, which is able to form insoluble compounds with calcium and remove it from the body. Therefore, you can offer oatmeal to your baby no more than two or three times a week and only once a day.

Allergy to porridge

— Ekaterina Borisovna, why do some children refuse oatmeal?

- Toddlers usually enjoy eating oatmeal. But there are exceptions to all rules. If there is a refusal of oatmeal, first of all it is worth evaluating the reaction of the child to this type of complementary foods. Perhaps he is worried about digestive problems after eating it, which means that the body is not yet ready to break down gluten.

If everything is in order with the tummy, the child may simply not like the taste of porridge . What you can try to do, provided that oatmeal is well tolerated:

  • change porridge from dairy-free to dairy;
  • replace cow's milk porridge with more tender and tasty goat's milk porridge;
  • offer porridge with fruit and berry additives.

From such a variety, the baby will surely be able to choose a dish that will suit his taste. If this does not help, never force-feed a child . You should postpone the introduction of oatmeal for a couple of weeks or a month. After a while, the baby will be able to re-evaluate the taste of this wonderful food.

— Food allergies are not uncommon. Can a child be allergic to oatmeal?

- Allergy to oats is extremely rare. Skin rashes and stool disorders with the introduction of oatmeal are most likely associated with gluten intolerance. In this case, the following are possible:

  • a transient state - it is caused by age-related immaturity of the enzyme system;
  • true allergy is a congenital condition called celiac disease.

If signs of allergy appear, you should pause for two to three weeks and again offer oatmeal complementary foods to the baby. If the symptoms return and occur when eating other foods containing gluten (wheat, barley porridge), it is important to contact a pediatrician to clarify the diagnosis.

But not always when eating oatmeal, the child reacts to gluten. The cause of the allergy may be the milk in its composition. This happens in pediatric practice. Let's say the baby has never tried porridge or mixtures based on cow's milk before, and the mother followed a dairy-free diet. In this case, he already has a certain probability of developing an allergy to milk protein. And as soon as the baby's diet is supplemented with a highly allergenic cow's milk protein, he begins to react with skin rashes and stool changes.

Buy oatmeal for complementary foods or make your own

- It has already been noted that regular oatmeal is undesirable for an infant . But some parents turn a blind eye to this. Continuing the conversation, we will once again touch on home-made cereals and cereals of industrial production. What's better?

— For children of the first year of life, it is preferable to use ready-made baby cereals of industrial production. There are several reasons for this.

— How to cook oatmeal for complementary foods: what should parents remember?

— For homemade porridge, high quality flakes are used, previously ground in a blender to the state of flour. Consumption - 5 g (approximately 1 tsp) per 100 ml of water. Oatmeal is poured into boiling water and boiled, stirring constantly, for 7-10 minutes.

To improve the palatability of porridge , you can add a little breast milk or the usual milk formula, butter. Fruit or fruit and berry puree, fresh fruits and berries can be tasted after a year. Honey, due to its highly allergenic properties, should not be given to babies.

— Consider instant cereal for kids. Which oatmeal should you choose?

- First of all, you should pay attention to the manufacturer. Choose large manufacturers that have proven themselves in the baby food market.

Next, we study the packaging. It should look neat, be free of dents and damage. High-quality applied paint will not wear off at the slightest friction.

Information about the composition of porridge must be clearly written in an understandable language. In addition to oatmeal, in the list of components you can find cow or goat milk, fruit and vegetable or fruit and berry supplements, vitamins with minerals, probiotic flora.

Baby food porridge may not contain:

  • salt;
  • modified starch;
  • artificial colors;
  • genetically modified foods;
  • fragrances;
  • flavor enhancers.

— How does MAMAKO ® baby cereal help digestion?

— The manufacturer's line includes children's oatmeal with goat's milk in two varieties — milk oatmeal and milky oatmeal with prunes, which perfectly diversify the diet with new taste sensations.

Both cereals contain 32% healthy goat's milk, which is perfectly digestible and has a positive effect on digestion. In the stomach, it curdles into a soft clot, and its small fat globules and fatty acids are easily broken down in the baby's body.

Also, these cereals are enriched with the best helpers of the child's body:

  • Ca+Fe+I - an indispensable complex for the prevention of rickets, iron and iodine deficiency;
  • fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K - are involved in cell metabolism, enzyme systems, redox processes;
  • vitamins of group B - responsible for the formation of the nervous system, take part in energy metabolism, muscle work;
  • vitamin C - the main antioxidant;
  • niacin, folic and pantothenic acids, biotin and other useful substances.

Of all the variety of baby food, I recommend my patients to opt for cereals with goat's milk from MAMAKO ® . These oatmeal porridges have a delicate taste, an optimally balanced composition, are well tolerated and cause allergic reactions to a lesser extent in babies predisposed to them.

Oatmeal is an indispensable product in the nutrition of a young child. It is an excellent source of fiber and complex carbohydrates and contains the most important nutrients for your baby. Oatmeal not only normalizes bowel function, but also has a mild enveloping effect on the stomach and facilitates digestion.

For the first feeding, it is better to use ready-made cereals. Healthy babies can buy cereals both in cow's and goat's milk. To feed babies prone to functional disorders of the digestive tract, as well as those at risk of developing allergic conditions, it is preferable to use oatmeal with goat's milk. They cause digestive disorders to a lesser extent and are less allergenic.

* Breast milk is the best food for babies. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of a child's life and continued breastfeeding after complementary foods are introduced until the age of 2 years. Before introducing new products into the baby's diet, you should consult with a specialist. The material is for informational purposes and cannot replace the advice of a healthcare professional. For nutrition of children from 6+ months. The product is certified.

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