When should you start feeding your baby rice cereal
When Can My Baby Start Eating Solid Foods? (for Parents)
A friend just started giving her 3-month-old applesauce and rice cereal. My son is just 2 weeks younger than hers, and I am wondering if I should be introducing solids soon too. When should I start?
Doctors recommend waiting until a baby is about 6 months old to start solid foods. Starting before 4 months is not recommended.
At about 6 months, babies need the added nutrition — such as iron and zinc — that solid foods provide. It’s also the right time to introduce your infant to new tastes and textures.
Some babies may be ready for solids sooner than 6 months, but don't start until your baby is at least 4 months old.
How do you know it’s the right time to start solid foods? Here are some signs that babies are ready:
- They have good head and neck control and sit up in a high chair.
- They're interested in foods. For example, they may watch others eat, reach for food, and open their mouths when food approaches.
- They don’t push food out of their mouths, which is a natural tongue reflex that disappears when they’re between 4–6 months old.
- They weigh twice their birth weight, or close to it.
Talk to your doctor about the right time to start solid foods.
How Should I Start Solids?
When the time is right, you can start with a single-grain, iron-fortified baby cereal. Start with 1 or 2 tablespoons of cereal mixed with breast milk, formula, or water. Feed your baby with a small baby spoon. Don’t add cereal or other food to a baby's bottle because it can lead to too much weight gain. Let your baby practice eating from a spoon and learn to stop when full.
When your baby gets the hang of eating the first food, introduce others, such as puréed meat, fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, or yogurt. Try one food at a time and wait a few days before trying something else new to make sure your baby doesn't have an allergic reaction.
Foods that are more likely to cause allergies can be among the foods you introduce to your baby. These include peanuts, eggs, cow’s milk, seafood, nuts, wheat, and soy. Waiting to start these foods does not prevent food allergies. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about food allergies, especially if any close family members have allergies, food allergies, or allergy-related conditions, like eczema or asthma.
Infants with severe eczema or egg allergies are more likely to have allergies to peanuts. Talk to your doctor about how and when to introduce these foods to your child.
When starting your baby on solids, avoid:
- foods with added sugars and no-calorie sweeteners
- high-sodium foods
- honey, until after the first birthday. It can cause botulism in babies.
- unpasteurized juice, milk, yogurt, or cheese
- regular cow's milk or soy drinks before 12 months instead of breast milk or formula. It’s OK to offer pasteurized yogurt and cheese.
- foods that may cause choking, such as hot dogs, raw carrots, grapes, popcorn, and nuts
Also, do not give fruit juices to infants younger than 12 months old.
Over the next few months, introduce a variety of foods from all the food groups. If your baby doesn't seem to like something, don’t give up. It can take 8 to 10 tries or more before babies learn to like new foods.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: February 2021
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.
What kind of porridge to choose for the first feeding | How to introduce porridge: how to cook, properly breed porridge for the first feeding
Your baby is growing up, getting stronger, gaining weight, and now there comes a moment when feeding only breast milk or formula is not enough for the full development of the crumbs. It's time to introduce complementary foods into your baby's diet. The question arises - where to start? Your pediatrician should answer it.
Today we’ll talk about how to properly introduce complementary foods with cereals. Let's talk about how to breed porridge, which one is better to choose for the first feeding, and how homemade porridge differs from store-bought.
Cereals for children up to one year old
Porridge contains all the necessary set of trace elements, is perfectly absorbed, and has a beneficial effect on the digestive system.
Usually, cereals begin to be introduced into the diet of a baby at the age of six months. If the child is bottle-fed, it is permissible to start earlier, at 4-5 months. These are only approximate dates, in fact, everything is individual. It is necessary to take into account the pace of development of the child, his readiness for adult food and the tendency to allergic reactions.
Complementary foods with cereals are recommended for children who are not gaining weight well. Most likely, the baby simply does not have enough calories. In any case, before starting complementary foods, a pediatrician should be consulted. He will help you choose porridge, tell you in what quantities and how often to feed her child.
It is important that the first porridge be:
- Industrial production . Not only because the raw materials are sterilized and undergo rigorous quality control. But also because at home it is difficult to achieve such a degree of grinding cereals, as cereal manufacturers do. For example, Materna porridges consist of delicate cereal flakes, which form an absolutely homogeneous mass when brewed. If desired, they can be diluted to a thick mixture and offered to the baby to drink from a bottle.
- Single component . To track down the cause of an allergic reaction if it occurs.
Dairy or non-dairy: with which cereals does the first complementary food start
Pediatricians recommend starting complementary foods with dairy-free gluten-free cereals. Gluten is a fairly heavy vegetable protein for digestion by a child's body. Its use can lead to allergies. Dairy-free cereals can be diluted with breast milk or your own milk formula to make them more nutritious and taste more familiar to the baby.
The first gluten-free cereals include: corn, rice and buckwheat.
How to switch from dairy-free to milk porridge
If no allergic reactions occur within 4-7 weeks from the start of complementary foods and dairy-free cereals are well absorbed, you can start offering milk cereals for children up to a year old to the baby, their energy value is much higher.
How to properly organize feeding with cereals
For the first acquaintance, you need to cook a five percent porridge, which means that for five grams of dry porridge there should be 100 mg of water. The resulting consistency will be ideal for a child who is not yet able to chew and swallow thick food.
The best time to feed is the morning meal. So you will have time to track the baby's reaction to a new product: if there are any allergies or stool disorders.
For feeding, a baby spoon made of safe material for the baby's delicate gums or a regular teaspoon is used.
As a first test, it is enough to give the child about half a tablespoon of liquid porridge. The kid should try out a new product, get used to the change in texture and taste.
Make sure the porridge is not too cold or hot, and does not contain lumps.
After porridge feeding, feed your baby his usual food - breast milk or formula.
Increase the volume of a serving of porridge only when you are sure that the baby eats it with pleasure, and he does not experience unwanted reactions.
Every day, increase the amount of porridge per spoon until the serving is 150 g for a six-month-old baby, 160-170 g for a child aged 7-8 months and 170-180 g for an age of 8-9months. Closer to the year, the serving volume will be about 200 g. And the five percent porridge is replaced by a thicker, ten percent one.
We remind you that these are only general recommendations, and the development of each child is individual and the dosage may differ from that described above. It is important not to change cereals at the beginning of complementary foods, your baby should get used to one cereal, and only after a successful debut, you can offer the next one - not earlier than in two weeks.
If you start experimenting ahead of time and give your child a different porridge every day, in case of an allergy, it will be very difficult for you to understand what exactly the child's body reacted to.
The child does not eat porridge
Toddlers refuse porridge for various reasons.
- Don't like the taste or texture.
It happens that children who started complementary foods with fruits and vegetables do not eat porridge, because their taste is very different and not so bright. Try adding an already familiar apple or broccoli to a new porridge. In addition, a child may not like the taste of some cereal today, but in a couple of weeks he will eat it with pleasure. Set this mess aside for a while and try again later.
- The porridge is too hot or too cold.
Check food temperature on the inside of your wrist. If you do not feel cold or hot, then the temperature is optimal.
- The child is not yet hungry. Set the plate aside for half an hour and then try again.
The main advice to parents is not to despair, and offer the same porridge many times in different combinations.
What kind of porridge to introduce first into complementary foods
Be sure to ask your pediatrician for advice on which cereal to give your baby first. After all, all kids are different.
The main types of cereals recommended for consistent introduction into the child's diet:
- Buckwheat porridge . It is considered indispensable in the diet of the child. Contains vitamins B1 and B2, iron, magnesium, protein.
- Rice porridge . Contrary to the common misconception of many parents, baby rice porridge will not cause constipation because it does not contain crushed rice. For the manufacture of these cereals, rice flour is used, which has a beneficial effect on the digestion of the child and is rich in healthy dietary fiber.
- Corn porridge . Such porridge is a leader among other cereals in terms of the content of potassium in its composition. Also contains a large amount of protein, iron and fiber.
- Oatmeal . No other cereal compares to oatmeal in terms of fat and fiber content. In addition, oatmeal is rich in vegetable protein and calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamins B1, B2, PP. Oatmeal is introduced last of all the described cereals, because it is very rare, but there is an allergy.
The Materna product line includes dairy-free and milk porridges for children from 6 months. All cereals do not contain salt and sugar and are made from cereals and fruits grown in Israel specifically for baby food.
Baby's first complementary foods at 4-6 months - where to start with porridge or vegetable puree? Principles, schemes for the introduction of complementary foods
At what age and with what to start complementary foods? What do you think? At 4 months, at 5, 6 months later? And where to start, what to give preference to: cereals or vegetable puree? Or maybe give tasty and healthy fruits first?
We have already made a whole series of video lectures on complementary foods for children, by months and products, but we are faced with the fact that many parents ask what is the best way to start complementary foods and at what age it is advisable to introduce it.
Parents, oddly enough, have especially many questions and uncertainties, children who are breastfed . You quite often confuse the two concepts until what age it is advisable to breastfeed and at what age it is worth introducing complementary foods.
Valid according to all recommendations, breastfeeding is necessary for a baby at least up to 6 months , and if possible longer. But this does not mean at all that a child at 5 or 6 months does not need complementary foods that will not allow the development of deficient conditions in a child, for example iron deficiency . Modern principles of introducing complementary foods to children is a kind of fusion of practical experience and the latest scientific developments. They are based on the recommendations of the European Association of Pediatric Gastroenterologists, Hepatologists and Nutritionists " ESPGHAN " 2017, the American Academy of Pediatrics " AAP " and national recommendations of relevant ministries and associations.
According to European recommendations, which also apply to our countries, the first complementary foods should be started:
That is optimal, Complementary foods should be introduced within 5-6 months life. There is no specific, clear, unambiguous age at which complementary foods should be introduced. You have a certain corridor - 2 months and you and your pediatrician must decide when to start complementary foods, focusing on how the child develops, how he gains weight, whether he has signs of readiness for complementary foods, which we have already talked about in previous our videos, what hemoglobin is, and even if you have enough milk if the baby is breastfed. At the same time, there is a kind of paradoxical situation, despite the fact that breast milk is the best food for babies ,
Quite often, scientists recommend breastfeeding children to introduce complementary foods a little earlier including iron, and in breast milk for a child aged 5-6 months, it may already be a little lacking.
At the same time, there are no separate recommendations for the introduction of complementary foods for breastfed or bottle-fed children, the approaches in these cases are the same . Thus, I hope that we have understood when to introduce complementary foods to healthy full-term babies who do not have serious diseases. Timely introduction of complementary foods contributes to the optimal development of all systems and organs of the child, physical parameters, psychomotor development, and the activity of the nervous system. The period of introduction of complementary foods, on the one hand, is very important for the growth and development of the child, on the other hand, it is a kind of stage in the transition of the child from breastfeeding to food from the general table.
First complementary foods - where to start?
- If the child develops normally , has a good or even excessive weight gain, it is better to start with one-component vegetable puree .
- If the child is not gaining weight well enough, then gluten-free cereals are better: rice, buckwheat, corn
- Not recommended
The child is very smart and if he tries sweet fruit puree, he can refuse relatively tasteless vegetable foods and cereals for a long time, and you may have difficulty introducing these healthy dishes.
Which is better factory-made or homemade?
Quite often we are asked what is better to give: ready-made vegetable purees and cereals, that is, factory-made, or making them yourself at home. It's up to you to decide. I often recommend industrial products from European manufacturers to my patients, because I am confident in the very strict quality control of baby food in Europe, but if you are confident in the products and water that you have at home, you can do everything yourself.
What is useful in vegetable supplements and what is the best way to prepare it?
Vegetable puree - for the first feeding can be prepared from cauliflower, zucchini, pumpkin, broccoli and vitamins and microelements! Fiber helps move food through the digestive tract and promote beneficial microflora in the gut. Pectins absorb and remove toxins from the baby's body. Vegetables have a positive effect on the acid-base balance of the body, creating conditions for the proper functioning of all organs and systems.
Cauliflower - is a source of fiber, protein, minerals and various vitamins, it contains a lot of magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, iron.
Iron it contains twice as much as green peas, peppers and lettuce. Cauliflower protein is easily digestible and its content is quite significant. The cauliflower protein contains methionine . It is one of the essential amino acids that cannot be synthesized by the human body. Other essential amino acids are also present in a small amount: arginine, tryptophan.
Zucchini - rich in vitamins and microelements. It contains potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, vitamins, folic acid. The latter plays an important role in the processes of hematopoiesis. Zucchini is rich in trace elements that are necessary for the formation of nervous tissue, normal metabolism, and the formation of hemoglobin.
Broccoli is a very healthy vegetable that is a type of cauliflower. Pleasant soft taste and good digestibility of the product, the unique composition has a positive effect on the health of children. Eat unopened cabbage inflorescences.
This is also a low-allergenic vegetable rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, calcium, iron, trace elements and even phytoncides. The content of calcium and magnesium in broccoli is enough to balance the functioning of the nervous system, ensure the normal regulation of the child's sleep cycle, good resistance to stress. When eating this vegetable, the child becomes calmer, less excited and naughty. In addition, broccoli is the leader in content choline and methionine that the child needs.
Pumpkin is the largest vegetable on Earth. It is one of the ten most useful vegetables in the diet of children, contains a large amount of healthy proteins, fiber and vitamins, iron, potassium, magnesium and trace elements, which are indispensable for children's nutrition, as they strengthen the immune system and help fight inflammation, have a positive effect on the nervous system .
Vitamins and microelements contained in pumpkin help the child grow, provide healthy sleep, are responsible for the condition of the skin and eyes, improve metabolic processes, and accelerate the removal of harmful substances from the child's body. Due to its beneficial qualities, pumpkin can be one of the first types of complementary foods for a baby. All vegetable purees have a specific vegetable smell, this is absolutely normal.
Scheme for the introduction of vegetables in baby food
You need to introduce vegetables into the child's menu gradually. Each new vegetable should be started as a single-component puree in the amount of ½ teaspoon , preferably at breakfast, so you can track the manifestations of a food allergy or intolerance to the product. If all is well, then the next day offer him a teaspoon .
So, gradually, you need to bring the portion to the age norm. Serving of vegetable puree per day for a child 6 months old - is about 100 grams, at this age you can start adding vegetable oil to vegetable puree and gradually increase to 1 teaspoon ), the rest of the portion is replenished with breast milk or formula. A serving of vegetable puree is 200 grams per year. The next vegetable product can be introduced no earlier than 4-5 days later, when the child gets used to the one he is already eating. In the future, you can make mashed potatoes from several vegetables. But don't be too hasty. If the child has a rash on the skin, diarrhea or constipation, then you need to temporarily remove the product from the diet, and after a while try again. If an undesirable reaction occurs again, it is better to exclude such a product from the child's diet for 6 months and consult a pediatrician.
If the child did not like the dish, for example, did not like broccoli, do not refuse what was planned and continue to offer it in small quantities - 1-2 spoons a day, you can even not just once, but 2-3 times before meals, and after 7 - 10, and sometimes 15 days, the baby will get used to the new taste.
This will diversify the diet, help the child form the right taste habits. Porridges, as a rule, are the second complementary food after vegetable puree.
How and when to introduce porridge as the first complementary food?
If your child is not gaining weight very well, then complementary foods can be started with the introduction of cereals. It is important to start by choosing one-component, low-allergenic cereals , which do not contain gluten: these are buckwheat, rice, corn porridges .
gluten-containing cereals include: wheat, oats, rye, barley, millet.
According to modern data , the period of introducing gluten into the child's diet is not of fundamental importance, but the latest recommendations draw attention to the fact that the amount of gluten in the diet of a baby up to a year old should not be large. Therefore, semolina and oatmeal porridge is better to add to other porridge in a limited amount , and not to give a whole separate portion of such porridge. If your child hasn't tried porridge yet, start with a dairy-free, gluten-free, one-ingredient buckwheat or rice porridge. Please note that completely eliminating cereals containing gluten from the child's diet is also a bad idea, the child should familiarize himself with such cereals before 8 months of age.
Rice - very useful for growing baby. It has a low content of vegetable proteins, so it is easy to digest and is especially useful for children with loose stools . Rice has a high nutritional value and protects the delicate intestines of the baby to a certain extent thanks to the enveloping effect . This is a hearty and nutritious dish with a good content of carbohydrates and proteins, potassium and magnesium, calcium and phosphorus, beneficial amino acids and vitamins. It covers energy costs, energizes and gives strength. But rice is not recommended for overweight children and those who suffer from severe constipation.
Gluten-free buckwheat porridge - very nutritious and rich in iron, fiber, rich in various vitamins and microelements. This is a very good option for to introduce a child to adult food . All porridges can be prepared with water, breast milk, milk formula, which your child is used to. It is not recommended to give ordinary cow's milk to a child under one year old and use it to make cereals. No need to add salt and sugar.
If a child already eats porridge from 5 months - then at 6 months you can offer a more complex porridge, for example: rice porridge with apricot or raspberries, rice porridge with banana
is very successful
combination both in taste and properties) or even more complex porridge - corn-rice with banana .
Subsequently, apple, banana, pear, plum and prunes, apricot and dried apricots, broccoli, carrots, berries can be added to the porridge, provided that the child is not allergic to them.
Rules for the introduction of cereals as complementary foods for the baby
The same as for vegetable puree. To make it easier for the child to get used to the new product and its consistency, first prepare 5% porridge: 5 g of cereal per 100 g of water if you make it yourself. Porridge is usually cooked with water, but can be made with breast milk, infant formula. First, give the baby one teaspoon of porridge, then during 7-10 days bring the volume of porridge of the same percentage to the full volume of feeding, for example 150 g.
there are no skin rashes, the child has normal stools - they switch to the gradual introduction of porridge of the same cereal, but already 10% concentration: 10 g of cereal per 100 g of water . Full introduction of 10% porridge to the baby is also carried out for 7-8 days . The third week falls on the complete addiction of the child to a new dish. Only after that you can introduce a new cereal in the form of 10% porridge or the next complementary foods. Porridge should be given from a spoon, preferably in the morning, for breakfast . After porridge, at the stage of its introduction, the child should be offered breast or milk formula.
When artificially fed - the volume of the mixture after a portion of porridge should be such that together with porridge it is 200 ml for five feedings. In the future, the volume of a serving of porridge gradually increases, amounting to 160-170 ml at 7-8 months, 170-180 ml at 8-9 months, and up to 200 ml after 9 months (there is a complete replacement of one feeding of the child with complementary foods.
- day - 1 teaspoon 5 g
- day - 2 teaspoons 10 g
- day - 3 teaspoons 15 g
- day - 4 teaspoons 20 g
- day - 50 ml 50 g
- day - 100 ml 100 g
- day - 150 ml 150 g
General rules for the introduction of first complementary foods
Concluding our meeting, I would like to dwell on the general rules for the introduction of complementary foods to children in the first year of life, 10 tips from the professor:
- It is better to introduce the first complementary foods in the morning 9-11 am
- Do not add sugar or salt .
- When the child is calm and not tired.
- Start with 0.5-2 teaspoons . If the child refuses, do not insist.
- If there is no rash, skin changes, stool changes, double the dose the next day. Gradually, in 7-10 days bring the first complementary foods of the child to the age norm : 100-200 g
- If there is an allergic reaction refuse for 3 days
- Each subsequent new complementary food must be single-ingredient
- A dish of mixed foods when the child is familiar with all foods separately.
- It is not advisable to introduce new products 3 days before and after vaccinations.
- Start giving your baby at ode when you start feeding.