How often do you feed your baby cereal

When Can You Start Feeding Your Baby Rice Cereal

Adding solid foods to your baby’s diet is a big milestone, and you may be wondering when to begin the process and what foods to start with. In the past, single grain infant cereals have been the traditional first choice when transitioning to solid foods, with rice cereal being one of the more popular ones. These days, though it is still OK to start with cereal, experts say that there is no evidence that introducing foods in a certain order provides any advantage for your baby (though babies do tend to like cereal).

Keep in mind that experts highly recommend giving rice cereal as part of a mixed diet of single ingredient choices, rather than as an exclusive food.

Find out how to safely give rice cereal to your baby, and what other infant cereals you might want to give instead.

What Is Rice Cereal?

Rice cereal for babies has been a traditional first food for infants who are being introduced to eating solids. The most common type is a dry powdered cereal, to which liquid is added to form an oatmeal-like consistency, but it can also be purchased premixed. It's one of the single grain cereals that have been recommended for infants when they start on solid foods.

Is Rice Cereal Safe for Your Baby to Eat?

It’s OK to include rice cereal in your baby’s diet as long as you’re not exclusively feeding your baby rice cereal.

The reason experts recommend rice cereal be limited is because of the naturally occurring levels of inorganic arsenic in rice (in this case inorganic refers to the arsenic’s specific chemical compound bound with carbon).

As rice is grown, the plant absorbs more inorganic arsenic from its environment compared to other crops. Arsenic is a naturally occurring element that can enter the food supply through water, soil, or air.

When body weight is considered, a baby’s intake of inorganic arsenic through rice cereal could be three times more than an adult’s. Eating too much rice cereal as an infant can cause long-term health problems.

What Infant Cereals Can You Give Your Baby Instead of Rice Cereal?

Instead of rice cereal, you can offer another single grain infant cereal such as oat or barley cereal. You can find many of these infant cereals in premixed or dry versions to which you would add breast milk, formula, or water to create a consistency that your baby will like.

Look for cereals that are specifically made for babies because they will be fortified with nutrients like iron and zinc that your baby needs.

Just remember that when introducing new foods — including different types of infant cereals — do so gradually, offering one new food at a time, and then waiting a couple of days before adding another food, to watch for any possible allergic reactions. Once your baby has become accustomed to eating solids, feel free to offer a variety of single ingredient, soft foods.

How Many Times a Day Should You Feed Your Baby Infant Cereal?

When your little one is just starting on solids, spoon-feed your baby a small amount of infant cereal once or twice a day, ideally just after he’s been bottle-fed or breastfed. Start with one or two teaspoons of cereal so that your baby can get accustomed to this new food.

Eventually you can introduce other foods one at a time—and you can even make your baby’s food at home.

Are Other Rice Products Safe to Give Your Baby?

Not necessarily. You can give rice to your older baby as part of a varied and balanced diet. However, it’s best to avoid certain rice-based products like rice syrup, often used as a sweetener in processed foods, as well as rice milk, which should not be used as a substitute for cow's milk.

If your child has turned 1 and is sensitive or allergic to cow’s milk, your healthcare provider will be able to recommend milk alternatives if needed, and can also weigh in on any rice products you’re considering giving.

At What Age Should You Start Feeding Your Baby Infant Cereals?

For most babies, 6 months is a good age to start to introduce solid foods, which can include infant cereals. Breast milk or formula will continue to provide most of your baby's nutrition for the first 12 months.

Waiting until this age is important because by this point your baby would have outgrown a natural reflex that all babies are born with that causes them to push their tongue against anything inserted into their mouths. Most babies grow out of this tongue thrust reflex between 4 and 5 months.

Can You Give a Baby Younger Than 6 Months Infant Cereals?

Most babies are not ready for solid foods, including infant cereals, until they are about 6 months old, though some babies could be ready a month or two earlier. Experts recommend that babies be breastfed or bottle-fed (with expressed breast milk or formula until 6 months of age.

How Do You Prepare Dry Infant Cereal for Your Baby?

If you’re using dry cereal, mix one tablespoon of dry cereal with four tablespoons of breast milk, formula, or water; or follow the recommended directions on the container.

Be sure not serve the cereal from a bottle for reasons we mention in the next section. Gradually, you can add less liquid to the dry cereal to find a thickness your baby likes.

Can You Feed Your Baby Cereal in a Bottle?

Although this might be a practice you’ve heard of, don't feed your baby cereal in a bottle unless your baby’s healthcare provider says otherwise. Feeding your baby through a bottle can lead to unnecessary calories—she may consume more food than she actually needs.

Although rice cereal may have been a popular choice, experts now say there are other infant cereals and first foods that may be safer for your baby. If you’re ever unsure about which infant cereal to give, or need advice about expanding your baby's menu, reach out to your baby’s healthcare provider for advice.

As your baby transitions to solid foods, you deserve lots of rewards for all those diaper changes. Download the Pampers Club app to get rewards for all your Pampers purchases.

How we wrote this article The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.

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.


How to properly feed your baby

Elena Gvozdetskaya

Pediatrician GMS Clinic

Ask two mothers how to properly feed their baby and you will get two different answers. This is indeed a delicate and difficult issue. But let's look into it together with expert pediatrician GMS Clinic Elena Gvozdetskaya. The doctor spoke about the principles of nutrition for babies, gave recommendations on the choice of products, the method of preparation, and much more. nine0006

What are the 3 main principles of feeding children

  1. Safety.
  2. Variety.
  3. Regularity.

Does the number of feeds depend on the child's age?

Yes, it depends. The younger the child, the more meals should be. After all, the small stomachs of children cannot digest a lot of food at a time. For example, babies are fed every 3-4 hours, and preschoolers - 3 to 5 times a day.

A young child's serving size can be measured with their fists. He should eat 12 such "cams" of food, of which 2-3 are main meals, 1-2 are snacks. Plus, there should be 2-3 servings of dairy products per day. nine0006

Why do you need breakfast, lunch and dinner?

Food is a source of energy and nutrients. It must be done regularly so that the baby is active, grows and develops properly. Complete breakfasts, lunches and dinners are the key to children's health.

Also, thanks to the diet, you can think over the diet for the day so that the child gets the required amount of calories from healthy food. Parents often plan in advance what meals to cook as main meals. nine0006

Is it okay to have snacks between main meals?

Yes, it is necessary. Long breaks between meals can lead to fatigue, fatigue, low blood sugar and concentration, memory.

It is important that snacks include healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits, grains or protein. For example, you can make dried fruit bars, sandwiches with bread and eggs.

Is it necessary to give porridge for breakfast? Which are the best to choose? nine0010

No, not required. Porridge can be replaced with sugar-free cereal or a sandwich made from whole grain bread. During the day, the child should eat 5-6 "cams" of cereals.

You can choose any porridge for breakfast: oatmeal, rice, buckwheat, corn, millet. Be sure to cut out sugar. Instead, fruits, dried fruits are added to some dishes, and honey can be given to children over 1 year old.

How to replace cereals for breakfast to diversify the diet?

Any healthy product will do. The main thing is that the first meal gives satiety for at least 2.5 hours - before a snack. Breakfast usually includes: nine0006

  • cereals: porridge, cereals, muesli, granola, healthy pastries;
  • protein: scrambled eggs, meat, fish;
  • dairy products: yoghurt, milk, cheese, syrniki;
  • vegetables or fruits.

These products can be combined in various ways. For example, this morning offer your child cheesecakes with strawberries, and tomorrow - an omelet with whole grain bread and cheese.

Remember that according to statistics, children who do not eat breakfast eat sweets more often and drink carbonated drinks. Because of this, they have an increased risk of obesity, the development of cardiovascular diseases and caries. nine0006

Does the child really need soups?

Actually, no. Some parents often prepare soup for their children because it is easier for babies to chew and it passes through the esophagus to the stomach faster. After all, there is already liquid in the dish. This is more convenient than chewing dry food for a long time and carefully so that the required amount of saliva is released.

Soup is water, vegetables and meat. It will be just as helpful if the child eats them simply sliced, chewed thoroughly, and drinks enough liquid throughout the day. The main thing is to make sure that the meal includes different food groups. It doesn't matter if it's borscht or vinaigrette. nine0006

What is the ideal dinner for a child?

The main thing is that the child does not experience hunger at night. So choose foods that saturate well. For example:

  • cereals: buckwheat, rice, bulgur;
  • proteins: chicken, turkey;
  • vegetables.

For example, buckwheat with boiled turkey and broccoli is a great dinner option. Or bulgur with steamed chicken cutlets and cucumber and tomato salad.

Toddlers can have a second dinner 20-30 minutes before bedtime. Choose foods such as kefir, yogurt or some kind of fruit. Just don't forget to brush your child's teeth afterwards. nine0006

Do kids only need freshly prepared food, or is yesterday's soup okay too?

Food that has been stored for more than two hours at 6 to 8 °C is no longer safe for the baby. We do not recommend giving it, because pathogenic bacteria begin to multiply there and toxins are released. If you want to store the dish for about two days, you need rapid cooling to 6 degrees and below.

How to prepare food?

The best methods are steaming or boiling. The latter is considered the best option for killing harmful bacteria because the entire surface of the product is in hot water. And steaming preserves the maximum of vitamins. nine0006

Food can also be baked and fried, but with a little oil. But the formation of a black crust should not be allowed - the rarer the dishes of this method of preparation in the child's diet, the better.

What kind of meat and fish to choose for children?

Our recommendation:

  • red meat - 1 portion three times a week: beef, pork, lamb;
  • white meat - 1 serving per day: chicken, turkey, rabbit;
  • fish - 2 times a week: hake, cod, perch, red fish. nine0013

Please note! Do not give your child the meat of large predatory fish, such as shark, tuna. After all, they can accumulate mercury and other harmful substances.

What is the norm of fruits and vegetables for a child per day?

Recommended for young children: 2-3 "fist" fruits and vegetables per day. Remember that dried fruits and baked foods also count.

Cooked vegetables, fruit purees and some raw fruits such as avocado, mango, peach, banana can be given at the start of complementary foods. After a year, we recommend starting to introduce soft-skinned fruits into the diet - this is good for digestion. nine0006

Milk in the diet of children - for or against?

If the child is not lactose intolerant or allergic to cow's milk protein, he can drink it and eat dairy products.

When parents notice that their children are consuming too much of this micronutrient-rich drink, it is important to find the cause. Perhaps the baby is not enough from the diet of any substances. Offer a healthy substitute - you need the child to eat a variety of foods and get the whole set of nutrients from different foods. nine0006

What drinks are good for babies and schoolchildren?

Give preference to the following drinks:

  • pure water;
  • mors;
  • compote;
  • natural juice or smoothie in small quantities;
  • fermented milk drinks;
  • milk.

All of these drinks should be free of sugar. When buying in a store, read the ingredients, even if it says "specially for children." nine0006

We do not recommend giving children the following:

  • sugary drinks (packed juices, sodas) up to 3 years;
  • tea, coffee, other caffeinated drinks up to 5 years;
  • healing mineral water.

There are special children's teas, often containing sugar and herbal extracts. Therefore, we do not recommend giving them to a baby until he is 2 years old. Keep in mind that herbal drinks can cause an allergic reaction and reduce iron absorption, and are also not recommended for babies under 2 years of age. nine0006

At what age can sweets be given to children? What exactly?

Follow these guidelines:

  • no added sugar until two years of age;
  • from 2 to 4 years of age, sweets may be limited;
  • Ages 5 to 7 - 3-4 teaspoons of sugar per day is acceptable, including candies, cookies, sugary cereals, juices.

From the age of 5, all sweets can be given in moderation, such as marshmallows, marmalade, marshmallows, ice cream, cereal bars, chocolate. nine0006

What is the effect of dry eating in children?

Poorly chewed dry, dense food moves down the esophagus worse, takes longer to digest, creates discomfort in the stomach and a feeling of "lump". It's not harmful, but it's uncomfortable. To avoid this, it is enough to chew food thoroughly and drink liquids throughout the day.

At what age can children be transferred to a common table?

Usually a year old, the child already eats pieces of most complementary foods, from this age it is possible to eat one meal with everyone. nine0006

It is only important to adapt the baby plate:

  • make meals without salt, salt separately for adults;
  • cook until completely done or boiled, do not give raw;
  • lettuce can be cut into small pieces: the baby should chew the pieces one at a time, adults should season with sauces in a separate plate;
  • the child's meat must be divided into fibers;
  • meatballs and cutlets - finely chop for children, for adults pour sauce separately (the same with pasta and cereals). nine0013

If you are in doubt about whether your baby can take a product, it is best to consult your pediatrician.

What should I do if my child refuses to eat healthy food and asks for sausages and biscuits?

If your child only asks for sausages and cookies, don't buy them. Keep healthy alternatives at home, explain, show by example healthy proper nutrition.

Sausages can be replaced with your baby's favorite type of meat, and biscuits can be replaced with fruit or homemade cakes made from healthy ingredients. nine0006

How can I instill healthy eating habits in my child?

You can't explain to a child that "chips are bad" if dad eats them with pleasure. The kid will not understand that broccoli is healthy if mom has fried potatoes in her plate. The family and environment of children should lead a healthy lifestyle, eat a varied and balanced diet, and maintain a sufficient level of physical activity. Only in this way will you set a worthy example and be able to instill the right eating habits.

6 Month Feeding Schedule: Physician Recommended Plan

We include foods we find useful for our readers. If you buy from links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here is our process.

Share on Pinterest


If your 6-month-old is ready to start eating solid foods, you might be wondering how.

We explain what, when and how to feed a 6-month-old baby. nine0006

First of all, remember that at this age, breast milk or food is still your baby's main source of nutrition.

Solid food is only a supplement at this age and you should feed your baby plenty of breast milk or formula.

Buy formula for your baby online.

Often the first meal is baby cereals such as rice or oatmeal. Some kids don't eat cereal, and that's okay.

There is nothing wrong with your child skipping the porridge phase and going straight to refined foods, but we suggest you try porridge first. It has added the iron your child needs at this age. nine0006

It is also an excellent bridge from a pure liquid diet of breast milk or formula to more solid foods.

Here are some baby cereals worth trying.

Do not put cereal in the bottle. Mix it with the mixture or water and give it with a spoon.

If you are breastfeeding, do not mix breast milk with cereal for the first few meals. Until your child shows what he or she will actually eat, most of the cereal will be rolled up somewhere other than the stomach, such as on the floor, head, or tray. nine0006

Breast milk is too valuable to throw away, so first mix the flakes with a little water. When the newborn accepts you well, then you can mix it with breast milk.

First make the flakes a little curry, closer to a liquid consistency. If the baby tolerates it well, gradually thicken it to the consistency of oatmeal.

Start by offering several tablespoons at once. When your baby calms down and seems to want more, give 3 to 4 tablespoons per feeding. nine0006

After your child has been eating porridge consistently once a day for a week or two, try feeding him twice a day. After working reliably for a week or two, you can start with refined products.

When baby is ready, start with purified baby food like this.

Traditionally, orange and yellow vegetables were the first foods given to the baby, but the second good foods she tried first were bananas or avocados. nine0006

When you give your child food that he has not eaten before, give it to him for at least three days in a row before trying new foods. This will help you identify foods your child may be allergic to or intolerant to.

Also, be aware that many of your child's later eating habits often have a start. One study in 2014 found that children who did not eat a lot of fruits or vegetables between the ages of 6 and 12 months were unlikely to eat as many fruits or vegetables as older children. nine0006

At this stage, there are only a few foods that should not be given to the baby:

Raw honey

This can cause botulism in newborns. Wait 12 months to give your baby honey.

Cow's milk

Babies at 6 months should not drink cow's milk. But once they get a little comfortable with hard ingredients, they can eat yogurt or soft cheese.

They may not be able to digest it properly and this may cause microscopic bleeding in their stool. nine0006

Choking hazard

You can give your baby clean or soft, boiled carrots, but not large, round ones, from which he can suffocate. This is true even if the food is not solid, such as whole grapes.

Certain types of fish

Do not give your child certain types of fish containing high amounts of mercury more than once a month. This includes some forms of tuna and some others.

White fish, salmon and light canned tuna are usually safe to give more frequently. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure which types of fish are safe for your child. nine0006

What else?

Unless there is a very good reason - sometimes there is a medical reason - it is better not to give juice to the child at this age.

100% natural fruit juice contains a lot of sugar. Excessive consumption of sugar at this age is associated with problems later in life. Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages in infancy is associated with a double risk of obesity at 6 years of age.

You will notice that there are very few foods that should be avoided. Foods such as eggs, peanuts, and strawberries are particularly missing from the list. nine0006

Traditionally, pediatricians advise parents to delay eating, hoping to prevent food allergies. But a new study has shown that eating these foods early can actually help prevent allergies.

Remember, food must be in such a form that there is no danger of choking. For example, the subtle scent of creamy peanut butter on a banana is appropriate, but not on whole peanuts.

Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about a potential allergy due to a family history or if your child may be having an allergic reaction (signs include rash, vomiting, or diarrhea). nine0006

Call 911 immediately if your child has severe symptoms such as trouble breathing.

Extract The American Pediatric Association recommends eliminating solid foods by 6 months of age.

If you start solid foods earlier, your baby may suckle less, which will dry out your breast milk. Starting too early can also lead to a diet low in protein, fat, and other nutrients.

On the other hand, don't start taking substances until much later than 6 months, as waiting too long can cause some nutritional problems.

There is an option for some children. If you put off eating solid food for too long, they don't seem to "get" it, so they may need a speech therapist or occupational therapist to help them learn to eat solid food.

Remember to add solids to your baby slowly so there is no need to move too fast. nine0006

At this stage, your baby is likely to drink breast milk or formula six to eight times a day. The goal according to age 1 year is to get them to eat about six times a day: