Most parents begin introducing babies to solid food between the ages of 4 and 6 months. One of the most common (and recommended) foods for feeding baby in the beginning is baby cereal. The best practice is to begin with a single-grain baby cereal and add more foods slowly.
Though pediatricians recommend that breast-fed babies get all the nutrients they need for the first six months from mom’s milk, you can begin introducing your baby to solid foods (cereal) around 4 months. It is not recommended that baby cereal be fed via a bottle – unless specifically directed by your pediatrician, you should introduce baby to cereal using a spoon.
Table of Contents
- Best Baby Cereal Comparisons
- Signs Baby is Ready for Solids
- Baby’s First Feeding
- 7 Best Baby Cereal Reviews 2018
- #1. NurturMe Organic Infant Cereals – Best Organic Baby Cereal
- #2. WutsupBaby Apple Banana Infant & Baby Cereal – Best Baby Cereal to Start With
- #3. Gerber Single-Grain Rice Baby Cereal – Best Single-Grain Baby Cereal
- #4. WutsupBaby Organic Original Quinoa Infant – Best Baby Cereal for Constipation
- #5. Gerber Organic Rice Cereal – Best Iron-Fortified Baby Cereal
- #6. Gerber Organic Rice Cereal – Best Baby Cereal for 4-month Old
- #7. Arrowhead Mills Rice & Shine – Best Baby Cereal for 6-month-old
- Final Thoughts
For example, one of my babies had problems with acid reflux. The valve at the bottom of the esophagus did not open and close properly, pushing the milk back up into her esophagus. Her pediatrician recommended thickening her milk with baby cereal to help alleviate these symptoms. Only do this if your pediatrician specifically recommends it.
Best Baby Cereal Comparisons
|Brand||Organic||Single-Grain||View on Amazon|
|NurturMe Organic Infant Cereals||Yes||Yes||Check Price|
|WutsupBaby Apple Banana Infant & Baby Cereal||Yes||Yes||Check Price|
|Gerber Single-Grain Rice Baby Cereal||No||Yes||Check Price|
|WutsupBaby Organic Original Quinoa Infant & Baby Cereal||Yes||Yes||Check Price|
|Gerber Organic Rice Cereal||Yes||Yes||Check Price|
|Earth’s Best Baby Cereal||Yes||Yes||Check Price|
|Arrowhead Mills Rice & Shine||Yes||Yes||Check Price|
Signs Baby is Ready for Solids
Before you begin to introduce your baby to solid food, it is important that your baby is ready. Ohio State University has recommended watching for the following signs to ensure baby is ready for more than formula or breast milk.
- Baby can hold head up on his/her own.
- Baby nurses over 8 times per day.
- Baby drinks over the recommended 32 ounces of formula.
- Baby can sit (with or without support) with head steady.
- Baby begins to show an interest in your food.
- Baby can hold tongue flat.
- Baby closes lips over spoon.
- Baby pushes food to the back of the mouth instead of out of the mouth.
Baby’s First Feeding
Baby’s first feeding is one of the big milestones of baby’s first year. If you are a first-time parent, there is no reason to be nervous. Simply take things slowly and remember – this is a learning experience for baby and yourself. Don’t expect everything to go perfectly the first time.
Baby’s first feeding could become quite messy as baby learns to push food to the back of the mouth rather than out of the mouth. Messy cereal face is a perfect photo opp. Just relax, take it easy, and follow these tips:
- Timing is everything. Do not try to feed a grumpy baby who is sleepy or too hungry. The first time should be after a bottle while baby is awake and in a good mood.
- Begin with a very thin consistency and thicken the cereal slowly over a couple of weeks.
- Place baby in an infant seat or on your lap – do NOT try to feed baby while he/she is lying flat.
- Start with a small amount – baby may only take 2-3 bites the first time.
- Use a baby spoon (or another small spoon).
- Do not fill the spoon – fill only the tip of the spoon with a small amount of cereal.
- Begin with a single-ingredient baby cereal and feed baby the same cereal for the first week to ensure there are no allergic reactions.
- Introduce new foods one at a time and allow several days before adding a new food to be sure baby has no adverse effects that might indicate an allergy to the food. Watch for diarrhea, rash, or wheezing.
- NOTE: If baby cannot swallow the cereal, he/she may not be ready for solids. Do not be discouraged – try again in a few days.
7 Best Baby Cereal Reviews 2018
#1. NurturMe Organic Infant Cereals – Best Organic Baby Cereal
USDA-certified as organic, NurturMe Organic Infant Cereals are one of the best brands of organic baby cereal. The quinoa used in NurturMe Organic Infant Cereals is purchased through a South American cooperative that ensures the grain is grown using sustainable and organic farming practices from Andean farms.
The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) strictly regulates the use of “organic” when labeling food. To be labeled as organic by the USDA, the contents of the food must be free of synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, dyes, growth hormones, and cannot be processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or genetically modified.
#2. WutsupBaby Apple Banana Infant & Baby Cereal – Best Baby Cereal to Start With
When baby is ready to start eating solid foods, it is best to start with a single-ingredient food, such as Gerber Single-Grain Rice Baby Cereal. For many years, rice cereal has been the preferred cereal for many parents when starting baby on solid foods. It is easy to digest and, combined with breast milk or formula, has a familiar taste.
The legacy of Gerber baby foods began when a mom, Dorothy Gerber, began straining solid foods for her 7-month-old daughter. She was following the advice of her pediatrician. The Gerber family owned a canning business, and when Dorothy had her husband sample some of the strained foods, he suggested their business could be used for processing the fruits and vegetables.
Soon, workers in the canning plant began asking for samples to feed their own babies – and the legend began. Gerber has been a trusted name in infant and child nutrition since 1927.
#3. Gerber Single-Grain Rice Baby Cereal – Best Single-Grain Baby Cereal
One of the best single-grain baby cereals is WutsupBaby Organic Apple Banana Infant Cereal. WutsupBaby baby cereals contain quinoa, one of the healthiest grain on Earth. Quinoa is considered a super food because it is high in protein, gluten-free, and contains all 9 essential amino acids. The health benefits of quinoa have been known for thousands of years and was considered sacred as “the mother of all grains” by the Incan Empire.
Launched in 2010, WutsupBaby is the creation of a husband/wife team – health-focused parents who are dedicated to providing healthy, high-quality on-the-go snacks and meals for busy parents with toddlers and infants. After much research, the team discovered a process for packaging baby food without the use of unnatural preservatives, GMOs, or artificial flavors.
#4. WutsupBaby Organic Original Quinoa Infant – Best Baby Cereal for Constipation
When you begin to feed your baby solid foods, one of the most common problems is constipation. Going from liquid to solids requires that the digestive tract begin to work differently. One of the best baby cereals for constipation is WutsupBaby’s Organic Original Quinoa Infant and Baby Cereal. Loaded with naturally occurring vitamins and minerals, this cereal contains fiber and pre-biotics to help maintain a heathy digestive system.
The nutritional profile of quinoa baby cereal is as close to breast milk as you can get. Considered a super food, quinoa is one of the few plants that contains all the necessary amino acids as well as many other natural vitamins and minerals. Quinoa baby cereals help you start your little one off on the right path to a healthy diet.
#5. Gerber Organic Rice Cereal – Best Iron-Fortified Baby Cereal
Iron promote the development of baby’s brain. Baby’s are born with a supply of iron that came from mother’s blood during pregnancy but begin to deplete this supply immediately. Babies who are breastfed get iron from mom’s milk. However, if your baby is not breast-fed, it is important to use and iron-fortified formula and iron-fortified cereal when you introduce baby to solid foods.
Gerber Organic Rice Cereal is one of the best iron-fortified baby cereals available. With the trusted names of Gerber and Nestle behind the products, you can count on the nutritional value Gerber baby cereals provide.
#6. Gerber Organic Rice Cereal – Best Baby Cereal for 4-month Old
If you introduce your baby to solid foods at 4-months old, it is important to start with a food that is easily digestible. For this reason, Earth’s Best Rice Baby Cereal is one of the best baby cereals for 4-month-olds. Earth’s Best Rice cereal is iron-fortified and easy to digest for a smooth transition from liquids to solids.
Founded in 1985, Earth’s Best has provided quality, organic products for over 30 years. The entire process of creating nutritional formulas and foods for your baby is performed organically – from nutritious fruits grown in organic orchards to vegetables grown with sustainable soil practices.
#7. Arrowhead Mills Rice & Shine – Best Baby Cereal for 6-month-old
If you introduced your baby to cereal at 4-months-old, he/she is probably ready for a thicker mix at 6-months-old. One of the best baby cereals for your 6-month-old is Arrowhead Mills Organic Rice & Shine. With 42 grams of whole grains per serving, Arrowhead Mills Rice & Shine is packed with nutrients and easy for your little one to digest.
Since 1960, Arrowhead Mills has been one of the leading and most trusted brands for organic baby cereal and baking products. Long before organic products were popular, the founder believed that using pesticides and herbicides tainted the food chain. He began to grow corn and wheat without herbicides and pesticides, ground the harvest into flour, and delivered his products himself. From that humble beginning in the Texas Panhandle, Arrowhead Mills grew from a trusted local company to a thriving national business.
When introducing your baby to solid foods, the most digestible foods are single-grain cereals. Most baby’s do not experience allergic reactions until solid foods become a part of their diet. Here are a few tips for introducing your baby to solid foods:
- Always use a spoon when feeding baby – mixing cereal in baby’s bottle does not teach him/her to eat.
- Introduce one food/ingredient at a time.
- Wait a week before introducing another food/ingredient.
- As you learn which foods your baby can tolerate, you can mix more than one ingredient.
- Do not force baby to eat more than he/she wants.
- Watch for signs of food allergies.
Signs of food allergies:
- Rash/flushed skin
- Swelling in face, lips, or tongue
- Difficulty breathing
Foods to Avoid During Baby’s First Year:
- Never feed your baby honey – it might contain bacteria that causes botulism.
- Never give your baby cow’s milk – it is difficult to digest and does not provide the proper nutrition.
- Do not feed baby foods that contain added sugar or salt.
- Do not feed baby foods that increase a risk of choking: grapes, berries, hot dogs, sausages, popcorn, raw vegetables, peanut butter, or round candy (hard or soft).