Debunking the Rice Cereal Myths - How to Start Baby Cereal and Tips

Updated: Feb 25



Every milestone is so serious with babies, especially when it comes to food.


However it’s also really really confusing.


I found myself getting more stressed as my baby boy was approaching to the 4 month old mark.

I didn’t understand when to give, how to give, and how much rice cereal to give.

What kind is the best kind?

Does he have to eat it everyday?

How much will his stomach have to adjust?

How many times does he eat it during the day?


Well this article is here to answer all your questions and get you feeling confident in introducing this first food to your new babe!


I found myself skimming the internet to try and figure out what cereal/oatmeal was the best and how much i should give each day. But each time after I read an article, I was even more confused!


I was defeated.



However, by talking to our doctor, many other moms, and reading more baby nutrition websites. I have found the answers, and I am here to share them.


When Babies are 4 months old you can start introducing baby cereals, but you shouldn’t give it to them earlier than this milestone, unless they have problems with reflux.


Also, don’t feel bad if you want to skip Rice Cereal all together and just do Oatmeal, It actually sometimes works better for the baby this way, it did for us. The will need to switch to Oatmeal at 6 months anyways, to help with constipation issues.


So it’s okay if you want to start out with oatmeal, or even wait a while longer to introduce it!



1. What Cereals/Oatmeals are the Best?

Don't get me wrong, whatever works the best for your baby, is the absolutely BEST option!

These however are pediatrician recommended to try out first, because of their high quality rating and natural ingredients.


These are also the best Cereal choices for babies with dairy and soy problems!


BeechNut Rice Cereal and Oatmeal



This is a great first option to try first due to its easy taste, easy to pour, and great on baby’s tummies! They also of course have a Rice Cereal option as well.




Earth’s Best Cereal and Oatmeal

This cereal is a runner up to BeechNut for it is easy on baby‘s tummies as well, lasts a while from its large box, and is great for the babes with dietary issues!




2. Putting Cereal in a Bottle

Before I even became a mom, I heard this saying, “just put a little cereal in a bottle before bed and they will sleep soundly!”


Very Incorrect. And I wish I knew this sooner.

No matter how little amount of cereal you put in their bottle, it’s still dangerous.


Why?

First and foremost, rice cereal/oatmeal will not make your baby sleep soundly. They still need to rely on the nutrients of their formula or breast milk for filling them up. It is a myth that giving your oatmeal before bed will make them sleep better.

Second, the myth behind giving cereal in a bottle comes from our great grandparents before they did much research on the matter.



The AAP proudly declines putting cereal in a baby’s bottle for many reasons.

The biggest reasons are because it increases the chances of choking, unhealthy swallowing habits, and increases the chances of SIDS.


Let me say this though, you are not a bad parent if you did not know this or you tried the oatmeal in a bottle! I didn’t know this, but I was glad to find this out sooner rather than later!




3. How much Cereal should you give Daily?

Every baby is different, and some might want to have a little more, and some might want to have a little less.

After you get past the frustrating first week of them just spitting it out and making a horrible face, you will get to have fun with the daily feeds! Keep trying and don’t give up!


For their first month, babies should have about a serving of 2 tablespoons with each feed.

You can give cereal 1-2 times a day, but not more, for they still need to rely on their milk for their nutrients!



After 6 months, you can knock the cereal down to 1 feed a day if you want, for they should be focusing on eating puree.

However the same rule applies at 6 months,

1-2 feeds of cereal and 1-2 feeds of puree.


When your baby gets to be a little older around 8-9 months you can up their tablespoon dosage if it seems like your baby wants more at each feed.





4. Is it a Strict Schedule?

Absolutely Not!


Do not stress over having to fit their new feeds in your daily schedule!

If y’all have a busy day full of errands or maybe a long road trip, do not worry about skipping a cereal feed!

Always remember, food before one is just for fun!

Its to get them used to swallowing and chewing food, so their experts by their first birthday!


Sometimes we skipped all the cereal feeds, if we were quite busy in a day. Or occasionally he had to go a couple days without them. And he immediately picked up right where he left off each time! And your babe will too!


We liked to do in between naps and right before a bath, because that is what we found worked best with his schedule. Find a schedule that works best for you and your baby and your baby will thrive!




5. Make It Positive

Try and make it the most positive experience as possible.


Don't stress yourself and your babe out by worrying about a mess and them getting their self messy. Always wiping them after every bite is going to make them frustrated.


They are only little for so long, so make the best of it. Let them play with their food, feed themselves, and make a mess on them self. Make sayings like, “yum!” or making train or airplane noises will make them mimic you and smile so their mouth is open wide for their new bite of food!



Have as much fun as possible and they will get more and more excited for food!


Do not feel defeated if your baby does not seem to like food. They will get the hang of it and if they don't, that is fine too.

If you are really concerned you can always talk to your pediatrician.

But just remember to soak up all these milestones!


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