Overview

Introduction

Most parents begin introducing babies to solid food between the ages of four to six 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, single-grain baby cereal and add more foods slowly.

Pediatricians recommend that breastfed babies get all the nutrients they need for the first six months. Therefore, you can begin introducing your baby to solid foods (cereal) around four months. We don’t commend that baby cereal be fed via a bottle – unless specifically directed by your pediatrician. You should introduce baby to cereal using a spoon.

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 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 throat. Her pediatrician recommended thickening her milk with baby cereal to help alleviate these symptoms. Only do this if your pediatrician specifically recommends it. (Source)

Quick Summary Comparisons Chart

1. NurturMe Organic Infant Cereals

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Organic

Yes

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Single-Grain

Yes

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Flavor

Original Quinoa

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Buy NutureMe

2. Happy Baby

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Organic

Yes

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Single-Grain

Yes

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Flavor

OTAS & Quinoa

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Buy Happy Baby

3. Gerber Single-Grain Rice Baby Cereal

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Organic

No

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Single-Grain

Yes

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Flavor

Rice

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Buy Rice Baby Cereal

4. WutsupBaby

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Organic

Yes

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Single-Grain

Yes

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Flavor

Carrot

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Buy WutsupBaby

5. Gerber Organic Rice Cereal

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Organic

Yes

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Single-Grain

Yes

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Flavor

Rice

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Buy Gerber

6. Happy Baby

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Organic

Yes

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Single-Grain

Yes

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Flavor

Apple/Guva 

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Buy Happy Baby

7. Arrowhead Mills Rice & Shine

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Organic

Yes

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Single-Grain

Yes

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Flavor

Rice

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Buy Mills Rice & Shine

Top Picks and Why – Full Review

1. NurturMe Organic Infant Cereals

USDA-certified as organic, NurturMe Organic Infant Cereals is one of the best brands of organic baby cereal. The quinoa used in NurturMe Organic Infant Cereals comes from a South American cooperative. This coop 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 the following.

    • Synthetic pesticides
    • Chemical fertilizers
    • Dyes
    • Growth hormones
    • Cannot be processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or genetically modified
What We Liked
  • Easily digestible – contains no egg, soy, or gluten
  • Contains natural probiotics that increase digestive tract health
  • Iron-fortified
  • Contains only natural plant-based vitamins and minerals
  • The company donates a portion of proceeds from each sale is to NurturNinos. They are an organization that promotes the health and education of the children of Peru.
What We Didn't Like
  • Can be difficult to mix, leaving clumps of powder

2. Happy Baby Organic Clearly Crafted Cereal

When a 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 had already owned a canning business. One day Dorothy had her husband sample some of the strained foods she had made. Her husband suggested their business should start processing the fruits and vegetables.

Soon, workers in the canning plant began asking for samples to feed their babies – and the legend began. Gerber has been a trusted name in infant and child nutrition since 1927.

What We Liked
  • Iron-fortified – only two servings of Gerber Single-Grain Rice Cereal provide 90% of baby’s recommended iron intake
  • Non-GMO – none of the ingredients are genetically modified
  • Long believed to be one of the best baby cereals to start baby on solid foods
  • Ongoing research via the FITS program (Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study) allows Gerber and Nestle to meet their commitment to improving infant and child nutrition through innovation
  • Contains the following nutrients: Iron, Vitamin C, B Vitamins, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Calcium, and Zinc (Source)
What We Didn't Like
  • Contains soy, which is a common allergen for some babies

3. Gerber Single-Grain Rice Baby Cerealhoes

One of the best single-grain baby cereals is WutsupBaby Organic Apple Banana Infant Cereal. WutsupBaby baby cereals contain quinoa, one of the healthiest grains on Earth.

Experts consider Quinoa to be a superfood because it is high in protein, gluten-free, and contains all nine essential amino acids. The health benefits of Quinoa have been known for thousands of years. The Incan Empire considered Quinoa as sacred and “the mother of all grains.”

Launched in 2010, WutsupBaby is the creation of a husband/wife team. These parents dedicated themselves 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.

What We Liked
  • Quinoa infant’s cereals have the closest resemblance to breastmilk – providing all the healthy amino acids babies need
  • Free of common allergens
  • Contains pre-biotics that promote a healthy digestive system
  • Contains only natural flavors and preservatives
  • No GMOs
  • Provides the following nutrients: fiber, Omega 3, Omega 6, Omega 9, protein, iron, Vitamin E, Vitamin B2, and magnesium off and on
What We Didn't Like
  • Consistency may be too thick for beginners

4. 8x Organic Carrot Quinoa Infant & Baby Cereal

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. It is loaded with naturally occurring vitamins and minerals and contains fiber and pre-biotics to help maintain a healthy digestive system.

The nutritional profile of quinoa baby cereal is as close to breast milk as you can get. Considered a superfood, 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.

What We Liked
  • Naturally contains protein, fiber, folate, iron, zinc, potassium, iron, and magnesium
  • Naturally free of common allergens
  • Contains all nourishing amino acids that babies need
  • Non-GMO and Gluten-free
  • Promotes healthy digestion with natural fiber and pre-biotics
What We Didn't Like
  • Has a strong earthy or nutty flavor that some infants may not like

5. Gerber Organic Rice Cereal

Iron promotes the development of a baby’s brain. Baby’s are born with a supply of iron that came from the mother’s blood during pregnancy, but they begin to deplete this supply immediately. Breastfed babies 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. (Source)

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.

What We Liked
  • Iron-fortified to promote brain development
  • No added artificial color and flavors
  • USDA-certified organic
  • Provides the following nutrients: Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and 6 B vitamins
  • Non-GMO
What We Didn't Like
  • Contains soy, which is a common allergen for babies.

6. Happy Baby Organic Clearly Crafted Stage 2

If you introduce your baby to solid foods at 4-months old, it is important to start with an easily digestible food. 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.

What We Liked
  • USDA-certified organic products
  • Verified Non-GMO ingredients
  • Certified Kosher ingredients
  • No added salt or sugar
  • No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
What We Didn't Like
  • Some parents complained that it is difficult to measure the correct amount of cereal from the packaging

7. Arrowhead Mills Rice & Shine

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.

What We Liked
  • All ingredients are gluten-free.
  • USDA-certified organic
  • All ingredients are non-GMO.
  • Provides essential vitamins, minerals, and is iron-fortified.
  • Ingredients are obtained from local, organic farmers.
What We Didn't Like
  • Difficult to get the desired consistency.

Signs Baby is Ready for Solids

Before you begin to introduce your baby to solid food, your baby must be 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 their head on his/her own
    • Baby nurses over eight times per day
    • Your baby drinks over the recommended 32 ounces of formula
    • Baby can sit (with or without support) with head steady
    • Your baby begins to show an interest in your food
    • Baby can hold tongue flat
    • Baby closes lips over the spoon
    • Your 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. 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-op. 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 the baby is awake and in a good mood.
    • Begin with a very fine 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 the baby while he/she is lying flat.
    • Start with a small amount – the 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 single-ingredient baby cereal and feed the 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 fresh food. Doing so ensures the baby has no adverse effects that might indicate an allergy to the food. Watch for diarrhea, rash, or wheezing.
    • NOTE: If the baby cannot swallow the cereal, he/she may not be ready for solids. Do not be discouraged – try again in a few days.

Final Thoughts

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 your baby to eat more than he/she wants.
    • Watch for signs of food allergies.

1. Signs of food allergies:

    • Rash/flushed skin
    • Swelling in face, lips, or tongue
    • Hives
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Difficulty breathing

2. 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 the risk of choking: grapes, berries, hot dogs, sausages, popcorn, raw vegetables, peanut butter, or round candy (hard or soft).

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