When can you feed baby rice 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.
When Can You Start Feeding a Baby Rice Cereal? Safety and More
If you ask for advice on the best time to start feeding your baby rice cereal, the responses may be all over the place. Some people might suggest feeding a baby rice cereal starting at 6 months, whereas others might suggest as young as only 2 or 3 months old.
But just because someone else gives their baby rice cereal early doesn’t mean that you should do the same. For advice, the best place to go is to your own pediatrician — they’re the authority on your baby’s health. In the meantime, here’s what other experts recommend.
New guidelines caution that rice cereal shouldn’t be the only solid given. So the old practice of starting only iron-fortified rice cereal at about 6 months is no longer recommended.
For the first few months of life, you’ll feed your baby exclusively with breast milk or formula. Anything other than breast milk or formula is considered a solid food. So when deciding the right time to start your baby on rice cereal, you should follow the same guidelines for starting a baby on solid foods.
Some people argue that rice cereal is an exception to the guidelines — perhaps because of the ability of rice cereal to dissolve in (and “thicken”) breast milk or formula when added in small quantities.
Yet, rice cereal is a solid food. Babies aren’t ready for solid foods until they’re about 6 months old.
Since every baby is different, it’s important to look for signs that your baby is actually ready to start eating rice cereal before serving it.
You should hold off feeding a baby solid food until they have control of their neck and head. Your little one will need to be upright while eating, so they should be able to sit in a highchair.
Most importantly, don’t give a baby rice cereal until they have the oral skills to move solid food from the front of their mouth to the back. This skill doesn’t typically develop until at least 4 months old. Until then, your baby’s tongue will push out any food that enters their mouth.
Another telltale sign that your baby may be ready for solid food is when they express an interest in your food. If you’re eating in their presence, they might try to grab your food — or lean in toward food with their open mouth (have your camera ready!).
For the most part, you shouldn’t give a baby rice cereal before the recommended guidelines. Even though the extrusion reflex — that automatic reflex that causes a baby’s tongue to push food forward — can provide some protection before they’re ready, offering solid food too early can still pose a choking or aspiration risk.
Giving a baby rice cereal — or other solid foods — too early may also increase a baby’s risk of having obesity.
But when they’re ready, rice cereal can be a great starter food, among others.
After several months of only consuming breast milk or formula, some babies have difficulty adjusting to solid foods.
To start the introduction process, mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of iron-fortified rice cereal with 4 to 6 tablespoons of formula, breast milk, or water. Some people mix rice cereal with fruit juice, too. But this isn’t recommended because fruit juice doesn’t offer health benefits and is very high in sugar.
Spoon feed an iron-fortified rice cereal to your baby. (It’s important that babies get enough iron once they start solid foods.) But don’t be surprised if it takes a couple of feedings for your baby to get the hang of eating this way. You can nurse or bottle feed first, and then end feedings with rice cereal.
Doctors used to recommend rice cereal as a “first food.” But now we know that age-appropriate foods can be introduced in any order, and rice cereal shouldn’t be the only solid given for very long due to arsenic exposure, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
You can introduce other jar or puréed foods like fruits and vegetables before or after you introduce rice cereal. And do include other iron-fortified, single-grain cereals besides rice. Variety is the spice of life — even for baby!
When introducing new solid foods to your baby, do so one at a time. This way, you can detect any potential food allergies or sensitivities early. For example, after you feed your baby peas for the first time, wait 3 to 5 days before introducing carrots.
You might have heard of adding rice cereal to a bottle to thicken breast milk or formula. This, however, isn’t recommended unless your pediatrician says it’s OK.
If your baby has episodes of acid reflux, your doctor might advise this method to thicken the milk and try to prevent regurgitation. But this is rare.
Starting a baby on solid food is a major milestone, but you shouldn’t introduce rice cereal too early. Doing so poses a few different risks. So wait until your baby is about 6 months, and look specifically for signs that they’re ready for solids.
When in doubt, talk it out — with your pediatrician. They’re a goldmine of information, and best of all, they know your baby’s health better than anyone else, including Dr. Google.
how to cook rice for feeding
One of the first "adult" dishes on the baby's table is rice. This cereal has earned the trust of nutritionists, pediatricians and parents around the world. Rice is a gluten-free, low-allergenic cereal with a high content of "healthy" carbohydrates (up to 85%), which are perfectly digested in the baby's sensitive digestive tract. Rice is also traditionally used in the therapeutic diets of people with diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and intestinal infections.
Main useful properties
The main properties of rice porridge are its low calorie content (44 kcal per 100 g of product) and the optimal ratio of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Rice has a low glycemic index, which contributes to a more efficient supply of glucose to the brain. Protein in rice contains a small amount, but due to its structure, it is perfectly absorbed by the human body (up to 98%). In the fat component of rice, 1/5 part (21%) belongs to fatty acids important for the child's body: oleic (37%), linoleic (41%) and linolenic. The low fat content in rice groats (0.7–1 g/100 g of groats), the optimal ratio of proteins, fats and carbohydrates (7 g/1 g/74 g) create a long-lasting feeling of fullness when eating ready-made rice dishes. Since rice does not contain coarse dietary fiber, it can be used in the diet of people with diseases of the digestive system, accompanied by excessive motility and gas formation. The vitamin and mineral composition of rice cereal is not as rich as compared to buckwheat or oatmeal. However, rice grains contain a large amount of B vitamins, of which the most are pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and tocopherol (vitamin E).
Rice dishes occupy one of the leading positions in the world gastronomic culture. About 5000 recipes based on this cereal are known. Therefore, in baby food, rice porridge does not lose its popularity.
For breakfast in Russia, porridge is traditionally prepared for children, because the first meal should be high-calorie, satisfying and tasty. The main components of a healthy breakfast should be complex carbohydrates, proteins and fats of animal origin, which take longer to be processed by digestive enzymes. Therefore, the choice of parents in favor of porridge as the main dish in the morning is quite justified.
Rice porridge for feeding children in the first year of life
Children's rice porridge is one of the most popular products in the Baby Premium line. Small gourmets can choose from dairy-free and milky rice porridges, with fruit additives. All cereals of the Baby Premium line have a high safety profile, are enriched with essential vitamins and minerals, which increases their nutritional value.
The use of fortified baby foods is an important part of nutrition in the first year of life. During the transition of a child from exclusive breastfeeding to the stage of introduction of complementary foods, short-term deficiency states for individual microelements may occur.
Lack of proper eating habits in the family, encouragement of the child's independent choice of foods, selectivity in nutrition, restrictive diets are factors that lead to a deficiency of vitamins and minerals in the baby's diet.
In this regard, health professionals have developed a global strategy to reduce the risk of developing vitamin and mineral deficiencies - the mandatory fortification of daily food, especially regarding the children's menu.
Thus, it has been proven that no additional non-fortified food can provide the infant with an adequate level of zinc, the deficiency of which causes a decrease in growth rate, intestinal diseases and a decrease in immune tolerance. Accordingly, the child should receive additional zinc with enriched complementary foods.
The same risk factors include a high prevalence of iron deficiency in children of the 1st year of life due to poor control of maternal nutrition during pregnancy and lactation, obsession with diets, premature birth and the development of digestive disorders in the infant in the first months of life. Iron deficiency can cause delayed psychomotor development and other health problems in the baby. With the right balance of trace elements in the diet of both the mother and the baby, this condition can be avoided.
Baby Premium baby cereals contain all the necessary vitamins and minerals, but the content of such elements as iron, iodine, zinc, B, A, C vitamins is especially high, which cover up to 10% of the daily requirement for these substances.
The first complementary foods with rice porridge for children
Each parent can offer children's rice porridge for breakfast. For healthy babies, complementary foods at 4-6 months can be started with safe, low-allergenic Baby Premium rice porridge and gradually move to milk-based rice porridge, which has a high nutritional value due to the ideal combination of animal proteins and cereals, as well as the additional introduction of vitamins and minerals . In terms of calories, milk porridges are comparable to breast milk (90 kcal and 70 kcal, respectively), in this regard, they perfectly maintain a long-term feeling of satiety and give a stable supply of energy to the little hero.
If it is necessary to make a more varied diet and introduce the child to new tastes in the Baby Premium line, you can choose milk rice porridge with fruits. Fruit additives in cereals are additional sources of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and also develop the taste buds of a little gourmet.
If a child has health problems in the form of food allergies, malabsorption syndrome, celiac disease, then he can be recommended for a long time low-allergenic rice porridge, which is also a full-fledged dairy-free cereal dish. The ratio of the main nutrients, the content of vitamins and minerals in it correspond to all physiological norms of consumption in early childhood. Dairy-free rice porridge is enriched with prebiotics in the form of inulin, which will favorably affect the formation of a healthy microbiota in the intestines.
The use of Baby Premium cereals in the daily diet of young children allows parents to be confident in the high level of technological, microbiological and chemical safety of the product, its usefulness and ease of preparation in a variety of conditions.
1. Start introducing a new food into the diet with a tiny amount. For the first acquaintance with rice, a quarter of a teaspoon of porridge will be enough for a crumb. Every day, you can increase the serving, gradually trying to reach the amount of one serving recommended by the pediatrician.
2. It is best to offer this high-carbohydrate product to babies in the morning.
3. Postpone rice foods for a while if your baby has bloating, intestinal colic, or problems with bowel movements (constipation).
4. Having decided how to cook rice porridge for feeding, over time you can enrich the taste of the main dish by adding mashed apple, pear or squash puree to it.
5. In the Bebi Premium line, along with classic rice porridge, there are options with fruit, vegetable, and cream components. They will introduce the baby to new facets of the taste of a product already known to him a few months after the introduction of the first complementary foods.
6. Take the time to teach your child about food etiquette from an early age. Wash your hands before and after eating. If the baby is already more than 10 months old, let him try to feed himself. To do this, put a beautiful bowl in front of him and offer a spoon that will be comfortable for him to hold.
How to cook rice porridge for babies
You can go in two ways - buy a package of regular rice or choose a special ready-made baby porridge from this cereal. Let's consider both options in more detail.
Several varieties of the product can be found on store shelves. These are parboiled, long-grain, round-grain and medium-grain rice. For the first feeding, the last option is best. Such a product absorbs a large amount of moisture during cooking and boils well. Before you cook rice porridge for the first feeding, you need to carefully prepare the grain.
- Sort by hand to remove possible pebbles and other debris.
- Rinse under water until the liquid is clear.
- Soak rice in warm water, then rinse with cold water.
It is important to consider the following information:
- it is not recommended to cook cereals for children under one year old with cow's milk;
- proportions: for 20 g of rice - 50 ml of water and 100 breast milk or formula;
- for babies, do not season porridge with salt, sugar.
At the first feeding, the consistency of the food should be thin and as homogeneous as possible. The presence of even small lumps in the baby can provoke regurgitation and rejection of food. Therefore, for the smallest, it is permissible to begin acquaintance with rice in the form of a ready-made powder for making porridge.
In this case, it is better to take the dairy-free version as the very first product. He leaves the mother the opportunity to prepare a dish with the addition of breast milk or a mixture - products with which the baby's body is already familiar. As a rule, a cooking recipe with exact proportions is indicated on the packaging of porridge.
When choosing ready-made baby porridge, pay attention to the ingredients. The presence of dyes, soy products and some other components can cause allergies and other undesirable reactions on the part of the child's body. Bebi Premium rice porridges for the first complementary foods are distinguished by a balanced composition and are additionally enriched with a complex of prebiotics, which contribute to the formation of the correct microflora of the baby's intestines.
Important! Whichever of the options for how to cook rice porridge for the first complementary foods you choose, only a freshly prepared dish should be offered to the baby. Do not refrigerate leftovers and do not use for subsequent feedings.
When is it safe to feed your baby rice porridge?
If you ask for advice on when is the best time to start feeding your baby rice porridge, the answers will vary. Some people may suggest feeding the baby rice porridge starting at 6 months, while others may suggest starting at 2 or 3 months.
But just because someone else gives the baby rice porridge early doesn't mean you should do the same. For advice, it is best to contact your pediatrician - he is an authority on the health of your child. In the meantime, here's what other experts recommend.
Create Guidelines Caution: Rice flakes should not be the only solid. Thus, the old practice of starting iron-fortified rice cereal at around 6 months is no longer recommended.
What are the recommendations for starting complementary foods?
For the first few months of life, you will exclusively feed your baby with breast milk or formula. Anything other than breast milk or formula is considered solid food. Therefore, when deciding when it is right to start feeding your baby with rice porridge, you should follow the same recommendations as when switching to solid foods.
Some people argue that rice cereal is an exception to the recommendation, perhaps because of the ability of rice cereal to dissolve (and "thicken") in breast milk or formula when added in small amounts.
However, rice porridge is a solid food. Babies are not ready for solid food until they are about 6 months old.
Signs that your child is ready for rice porridge
Since each child is different, it is important to look for signs that your child is really ready to start eating rice porridge before giving it.
You must refrain from feeding your baby solid foods until he can control his neck and head. Your little one will need to stand upright while eating so they can sit on the high chair.
Most importantly, do not give your child rice porridge until he has developed the ability to move solid food from the front of his mouth to the back. This skill usually does not develop until at least 4 months of age. Until then, your baby's tongue will push out any food that enters his mouth.
Another clear sign that your child may be ready for solid foods is when they show interest in food. If you are eating in their presence, they may try to grab your food or lean into your food with their mouths open (camera ready!).
Is it safe to give rice porridge to a child before it is ready?
For the most part, you should not give your child rice porridge until recommended. While the extrusion reflex—that automatic reflex that causes a baby's tongue to push food forward—may provide some protection before it's ready, offering solid food too early can still pose a risk of choking or aspiration.
Feeding rice porridge or other solid foods too early can also increase the child's risk of obesity.
But when they're done, rice cereal can be a great starter food, among other things.
How to introduce rice porridge for the first time
After several months of only breast milk or formula, some babies have difficulty adjusting to solid foods.
To begin the insertion process, mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of iron-fortified rice porridge with 4 to 6 tablespoons of formula, breast milk, or water. Some people also mix rice cereal with fruit juice. But this is not recommended because fruit juice has no health benefits and is very high in sugar.
Spoon iron-fortified rice porridge to your child. (It's important that babies get enough iron once they start eating solid foods.) But don't be surprised if it takes your baby a couple of feeds to learn to eat this way. You can breastfeed or bottle feed first and then finish with rice porridge.
Doctors used to recommend rice porridge as a "first meal". But we now know that age-appropriate foods can be introduced in any order, and rice cereal should not be the only solid food that can be given for a long time due to arsenic exposure. Food and Drug Administration.
You can introduce other jarred or pureed foods such as fruits and vegetables before or after you introduce cereal. Include other iron-fortified whole grains in your diet besides rice. Variety is the seasoning for life—even for a child!
When introducing a new solid food to your child, do it one at a time. This way you can detect any potential food allergies or sensitivities early on. For example, after you feed your baby peas for the first time, wait 3-5 days before introducing carrots.
Can rice flakes be used to thicken breast milk or formula?
You may have heard of adding rice porridge to the bottle to thicken breast milk or formula. This, however, is not recommended unless your pediatrician allows it.
If your child has episodes of acid reflux, the doctor may recommend this method to thicken milk and prevent spitting up. But this is rare.
Getting your baby on solid foods is an important milestone, but rice porridge should not be introduced too early. This creates several different risks. So wait until your baby is about 6 months old and watch closely for signs that he's ready for solid foods.