Cereal..hmmm... what is the obsession with it???????

Angela - posted on 04/15/2010 ( 31 moms have responded )

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I am really curious to see the opinions of other moms and to possibly have a full out debate on the pros and cons of the infamous "cereal" for babies. Why do moms feed their babies this non-nutritional bland nasty tasting cereal that causes constipation in babies more often than not? Obviously you can see I am totally against this "cereal" business. Do people actually believe that when a baby cries in the middle of the night that it means that they need this "cereal" to force a baby to sleep through the night?

I am delaying all solids for my LO until at least 7 months. Until then she will be exclusively breastfed.

And when I do start, my daughters first food will not be cereal... it will be Avacado's which from the research I have done is supposed to be one of natures most healthiest fruits. Its nutritional value is comparable to breast milk. It is highly fortified in iron and has all of those wonderful good fats to ensure my baby is her healthiest.

Here is an excerpt from one of the sites I have read info on:

The Goodness of Avocado:

Avocado makes a great first food for baby due to its texture and creaminess as well as its high nutrient content.
Avocados are often called one of nature's perfect foods because they are said to contain everything a person needs to survive.
A wonderful "good fat" food for baby's brain and physical development, try an avocado as baby's first food instead of refined cereals.

Alright ladies lets debate!!!! :)
P.S: I want this a clean debate with no nastiness. I am just curious and think that this is a subject that can help a lot of momma's! Have fun with this...

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Becky - posted on 04/20/2010

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I'm not against cereals, but I don't feel they're necessary either. I have a feeling we will be skipping cereal and purees entirely with my son and going straight to table foods, because he so far will not take cereal or any purees I have made off a spoon! But he will take little pieces of meat or potatoes if I just put them into his mouth. So he's pretty much still exclusively breastfed. I don't want to make eating a traumatic thing for him, so I'm just going to let him tell me when he's ready to eat.

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Noreen - posted on 04/20/2010

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I am with you. I have never given Abby cereal. She "started" solids at 6months, but really, she just taste different foods. She's tried avacodos first, bananas, apples, pears, carrots, squash, sweet potato and peas tonight. She doesn't eat solids on a regular basis or even everyday. 98% of her nutrition comes from breastmilk. :)

Kathy - posted on 04/20/2010

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that poor girl!! But at least its something that's maintainable, and with growing with it she'll learn the eating habits for it as a second nature

Stacey - posted on 04/20/2010

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PKU is a metabolic disorder that Ana will deal with for her whole life. As long as she sticks to her diet, she will be fine. It basically works out to be a vegan type diet but without the extra protein items such as nuts and some mushrooms.

Kathy - posted on 04/20/2010

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Yikes Stacey, I couldn't imagine having to deal with that! Is it something that can as she grows up improve or go away or is she stuck with special diets for her entire life?

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I started my son on Avocado at just about 6months. He is also breast feed on demand. He does love his barley cereal which I have made for him not from a box or package. Organic whole barley, with my breast milk he really loves it. Barley, oatmeal and rice cereal don't have to be bland or nasty tasting especially if you make it yourself. I've eaten everything my son eats to make sure it tastes good! I'm proud to say I've made all my sons food and will continue to do so.

Avocado is great first food, my son loves them!

Stacey - posted on 04/20/2010

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I love reading this. For the most part you moms have it pretty easy, cereal or not. Anastasia is PKU, which means I have to be extremely careful on what foods she gets, at all. Right now she is only allowed about ½ a gram of protein a day. (The rest she gets from her special formula.)
As for cereal, she gets Rice with apples, but only 4grams (dry) of it at a feeding, twice a day. Normally I mix it so that it is rather thick and then add some other fruit or veggie. She loves apples (which is great, on of the only foods she can have as much as she wants of,) and carrots. She can't have peas, bananas, and I'm not to sure if she can have avocados. I will have to look up the protein/ PHE amount in them, first.
Right now our biggest problem is switching her from the Rice cereal to a low protein porridge. The porridge is basically a special low protein (corn and wheat starch) past that has been ground up. It doesn't taste all that bad but Ana doesn't like its texture.
She does seem to have a bit of a problem with constipation all at once, but I even have to be careful with the juices that I give her. It all adds up!

Kathy - posted on 04/20/2010

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I think I'd be horrified to see that too, I do know some older doctors will recommend a small amount of rice cereal for babies with acid reflux, mine didn't have it so I don't know if mine would have, but my mom said she was told to at a few weeks old with all 3 of us kids. It wasn't to help us sleep but to keep the acid from souring the formula as much and coming back up. I have no idea what the suggest for reflux now.

Angela - posted on 04/19/2010

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Good to hear Kathy! If you can believe it I came across a thread/post that had a young momma trying to feed her 3 month old cereal because her Dr. told her to. That is fine I have no problem with that at all to each their own but the problem I had with some of the advice was that one woman actually proceeded to tell her the best way to force it into her babe's tummy... "I just make sure I put the spoon of cereal at the back of the throat and then stick a bottle or pacifier in their mouth to force them to swallow it..." (something to that effect). I was mortified... and this came from a momma that had been feeding her baby cereal since he/she was two weeks old! It was just one of many threads/posts that made me think we need to discuss the "cereal debate" more in depth. I don't believe by any means it is wrong to give to babies... I just don't want to give it to mine! :) LOL! I am a full believer in following your babies cues and plan on following my little Nola's cues once we start... I am so excited... only 11 more days until our first adventure in food land!!!!! Hahaha...:) I hope she likes the avocados!

I appreciate all of your input as it gives us a look at both sides of this topic!

Kathy - posted on 04/19/2010

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Angela, I for one would NEVER even suggest a new mom (even though I'm still kinda new myself) to give their baby cereal to help them sleep, and at the same time if she didn't like it Ii wouldn't force it on her, only time she even wasn't sure was the first 2 bites, since then she's gobbled it up. I'm one of the lucky moms that had my daughter sleeping through the night since the beginning, and by no means would I ever complain lol! The only benefit I get sleep wise by giving her cereal before bed is that I don't listen to her scream for a bottle when I'm changing her in the morning, she still gets up around the same time so that hasn't affected it at all. And to be honest she gets cereal with fruit at bed time because the amount she wants to eat cereal seems to sit with her better at night than the fruit.

Heather - posted on 04/19/2010

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I don't feed my son cereal either, simply because he doesn't like it. He would rather have some green beans or nanners & I'm ok with that! I tried giving him cereal at about 4.5 mos, but he wasn't interested, so I skipped it at started with stage 1 baby foods. He eats stage 2 foods now, he has half a jar of fruit for breakfast, half a jar of veggies for lunch & a meat/veggie combo for dinner. He nurses quite a bit between meals. And he doesn't sleep through the night yet...

Angela - posted on 04/18/2010

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Bridget... I am so glad to hear that you are making your babies cereal yourself. It is great that you have done such an amazing job for your babe! I just wanted to let you know that my post here was not intended to "judge" anyone. The cereal I am talking about is the over processed cereal big name company sells. And yes when you take a whole grain brown rice and make it into cereal yourself it is nutritious and gives a baby fiber that meets their growing need. I am not totally against all cereals but as you did state everyone here is entitled to an opinion.

I feel that from what I have been reading on most of the community boards, there is a desperate need to discuss and put our opinions out there for other moms on this subject. I will never say that what someone is doing for there baby is wrong, but when I see people suggesting to others ways to force feed a baby cereal to make them sleep at night, it worries me. Thus the purpose for this "debate" so to speak. Nobody ever discusses the natural aspect of babies first foods. I think that what you are doing for your baby is wonderful. If I do decide to feed my girl any kind of cereal I plan on making it myself just like you do, but in saying that, it will not be her first food. I have discussed all my decisions with her doctor and he was very much on the same page as I was. He believes that the more natural you can go the better. And he agreed that Avocado would be a great first food because of its nutritional value. My girl is also small. She is 27 3/4 inches tall but only weighs 16lbs (She was last measured and weighed at her 6 month check up 2 wks ago) . Her doctor didn't show any concern on that end either. So it just goes to show you how each doctor is so very different.

I just wanted to say that I appreciate your opinion and your passion for your baby! Way to go Momma!

Bridget - posted on 04/18/2010

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First, cereal is not "non nutritional" it actually has a fair amount of nutritional value. There are many options out there, some with more nutrition than others. I have purchased cereal for my daughter, but also made it. I dont go for the purchased rice cereal, if I give rice its brown rice powder ive made myself.
My daughter is almost 7 months and has been eating cereal since 3 1/2 months, we also started sweet potatoes, avocados, bananas and peas shortly after that. Now she is getting a majority of her nutrients from food, rather than breastmilk.
I did not plan on starting my daughter on solids so early, she was exclusively breast fed before that, but she isn't putting weight on. Since 2 months she has gained less than 3lbs, but is growing in height regularly. She is extremely active and just cant keep weight on. We had to change up our plans to help her thrive.
I know everyone has the opinions, but why do so many people judge what others chose to do for their own babies? I take pride in ensuring that my daughter is getting max health benefits from her food, and cereal is included in that plan. Also, when I suggested leaving cereal out, her doctor urged me not to as cereal does serve a nutritional purpose, just like grains serve their purpose in our diets.

Renee - posted on 04/18/2010

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I have been givimg my daugher rice cereal from 4 months old. I give her the organic cereal and mash in a tablespoon each of banana and avocado. I also make all of her food myself, using organic fruits, veggies and meats. I'm lucky enough to live in an area where local fresh organic produce is readilly available. She let me know when she was ready for solids and i of course, indulged that for her. I didn't think it fair that she should want solid food and all she was getting was milk. I think of it in terms of would i like it if i wanted an orange and someone gave me water. She is a person too and has her own wants even if she is only 7 months old. I had to remember that its not about what i want, its what she wants and needs.

Nicole - posted on 04/18/2010

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My LO has been eating cereal since about 3-4 months old. He's had rice, oatmeal and barley. He also gets a combination of jarred foods from beechnut and those that I have prepared myself. He drinks 24-30 oz of formula each day and gets breakfast (fruit/veggie and some cereal) and dinner (fruit/veggie and some cereal). Dinner depends on what we're eating because we've also started giving him some table foods.

Every pediatrician is going to have a different opinion, so it's really up to what the parents want for their baby. Our pedi said to start feeding him the fruits and veggies at 4 months as they think the reason there's been a rise in food allergies is from starting solids so late. (you're going to find doctors on both sides of the fence.) At our 6 mo appt, pedi said that as long as there are no allergies that run in the family, LO could have anything within reason (no citrus juices or honey).

I've gone by my baby's cues in regards to whether or not he was ready for solid foods. He's done a great job with them thus far and we haven't run into any problems. He's a healthy little boy at 27.5 inches and 20lbs 3 oz (two weeks ago).

Kathy - posted on 04/18/2010

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Angela, my baby doesn't get breast milk, she gets formula, I couldn't breastfeed, so that really wouldn't have worked well with my daughter. She gets her iron from formula yes, but both the health nurse and her doctor said to give her baby cereal with iron in it to start. It was only recently that I learned the added benefits of avocado and will more than likely try her on it, only thing is I'd have a hard time sharing that with her as I love it myself.

Brandi - posted on 04/18/2010

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my twins were wanting to drink WAY to much milk when they were born. They were trying to take 6 sometimes more ounces per feeding. the doctor recommended cereal in their bottle. i was a little scared but knew that my boys could not handle the amount of ounces they were trying to take and as often as they wanted it. So i added some cereal to their bottles and that slowed them down to a point where they could handle what they were consuming. i don't think it is for everyone but i know it helped the boys.

Angela - posted on 04/18/2010

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Hey Kathy... I am happy that you have found that sharing the food experience is so wonderful. I myself cannot wait till I get to make my LO her food (as I am going to be making it all myself). As to your concern about Iron deficiency... Since you have an iron deficiency I can see your concern with sticking with Exclusively breastfeeding your baby. But from all the research.. and I mean extensive searching for the pro's and con's of delayed feeding of solids... There is a bit of a misunderstanding when it comes to the concern of iron in the baby's diet. The iron in breastmilk is better absorbed than that from other sources. The vitamin C and high lactose levels in breastmilk aid in iron absorption. (www.kellymom.com) The actual concern comes from the fact that the baby's body has a difficult time absorbing iron *AFTER* solids are introduced which is why the WHO is beginning to recommend waiting well past the 6 month mark to start breastfed babies on solid foods. The actual rate of absorption from breast milk is: 50-70% in comparison to the 4-10% of an iron-fortified cereal!

The concern with iron is also what lead me to decide that avacado would be my LO's first food due to the high iron levels!

I just thought I would throw a bit more information into the mix...

I appreciate your opinion and concerns! Thank you!

Kathy - posted on 04/17/2010

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I didn't know there was a big cereal debate... I know some parents want to give it in the bottle when the baby is too little for it, and that I agree is wrong. My baby's doctor said I could start her on it any where from 4-6 months, then work to more of them then go on to veggies, fruit and meats. She did not get constipated, and LOVED it, and still does. There are alot of grains in our daily diets, so myself I know that my daughter can handle eating rice, oatmeal, barley without any problems. The way my doctor put it is that rice cereal is gentle on the tummy and is a good starter food because you can dilute it to runny and gradually get thicker so the baby can get used to textures of solids and learn to swallow something other than breast milk & formula. As far as waiting for 7 months to give any solids BOTH my doctor and the health nurse said that there isn't enough easily digested iron in either breast milk or formula and that solids with iron in it should be added at 6 months to help them grow. Me having an iron deficiency am not going to risk my daughter having the same, solid sources include iron fortified cereal, meats & egg yolks (just no egg whites!!)

Jessica - posted on 04/17/2010

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christina... if you do not care to read anything about this "cereal debate" then uh... don't come into this topic. makes sense, right????? :)

Jessica - posted on 04/17/2010

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my baby is and has been exclusively breast fed until birth and i am completely against cereal/oatmeal, especially when it is put into a baby's bottle. i do not agree with any solids before at least 6 months, but even at that age i wouldn't introduce solids to my baby. we are hoping to delay all foods until she is at least 12 months, and then we will slowly start to introduce solids and we've always said that we want her first food to be avocado!! haha. we love avocado... but until then, breast milk all the way!!

everyone keeps trying to get me to feed lulu foods and it's so annoying. they act as if i'm starving my baby. i just want to be like, "wtf do you know NOTHING about babies?" the other day my mom tried to feed her lemon.... fucking LEMON.

Amy - posted on 04/17/2010

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i have been giving my daughter cereal since about 1 month old. just a little bit tho. now she eats about a half jar of cereal with fruit for breakfast followed by a bottle. i think they need to start "solids" somewhat early to get them better prepaired for big people foods lol

Angela - posted on 04/17/2010

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Its good to hear that I am not alone on this topic. Great idea's ladies! It is getting me excited to start making my babes food... I love to cook and I am excited to share that with her! :)

Claire - posted on 04/17/2010

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I live in South America and here they don't recommend cereal as a first food. They recommend fruit and veges, pear, apple, banana without the seeds and stringy bits on the outside, pumpkin, squash, sweetpotato. I have also tried giving my boy avocado, a great fruit full of good stuff as well as quinoa. Quinoa is probably available in health food stores where you are, research it, it is super high in good things and possibly one of the best cereals you could give your baby. It is fun to eat too! Better than rice or wheat or corn or any of those.
I make my own foods for my baby, no sugar, no salt, he doesn't need them. And we will try to keep him away from them for as long as we are in control of what he eats.

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Starting at 6 months, I have been giving my baby the whole wheat cereal mixed with a fruit or veggie. The undiluted flavors of straight fruit or veggies was apparently too strong (we started with avocado and pears), but he was fine with the wheat cereal on its own. I've gradually increased the amount of "real" food and decreased the amount of cereal in our mixtures, and now he'll eat yams and squash on their own. Fruits I still mix because he's just not too keen on them (which I find odd because I know breastmilk is sweet). I also use the cereal to thicken if I accidentally thin his veggies out too much.

Sarah - posted on 04/17/2010

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I am against cereal to. I refused to give it to my baby. I really really really hate when people put in bottles! I gave her avocado for her first meal on her 6 month birthday. She was a little confused but now she doing much much better! I make her baby food. I refuse to buy the jars. I don't add salt and sugar. She has no need for either!! After 4 days or so I introduce something new. She's had avocado, carrots, sweet potato, butternut squash, parsnips, pears, peas, greenbeans and bananas. Bananas and pears are her favorite! This week I gave her a mixed veg medley to use up some of the food I froze. She actually liked the mix of carrots, parsnips and peas. She didn't like the peas alone so much. I've also made her oat powder and brown rice powder. She doesn't like either alone so much, they are bland.

Good luck!

Theresa - posted on 04/16/2010

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I'm not a huge fan of cereals either. I'm seriously trying to limit overly processed foods for my family. My daughter recently started on foods and her first was avocado. My youngest son used to eat it like crazy when he was a baby.

Actually, I don't buy baby food at all. It's super easy to make my own and make it extra healthy. It's seriously cheaper too.

Alicia - posted on 04/15/2010

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hmmmm,,,,I never really knew there was a debate on cereal..

My son is a very hungry man so I have been putting cereal in his bottle since he was 4 months old. I have not mixed cereal with breastmilk to feed him as a meal in itself. I tried to mix it with fruit though but my son HATES fruit...ALLL fruit for whatever reason so he would not eat it like that...

I was told that putting cereal in a baby's bottle can cause them to be overweight but my son is still under the average so all I can say is "thank goodness I have been giving him the cereal"...

He LOVES vegetables so instead of mixing rice cereal in with his babyfood, I mix whole wheat...and he started eating meats recently too so I just mix half of the jar of meat with a container of veggies and some whole wheat. He gets a bottle with rice in it in between...

I have not found the cereal to constipate my son at all...if he ever does seem like he might be constipated, I just give him a regular bottle of breastmilk and he usually poops right away!

Olga - posted on 04/15/2010

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I am with you regarding the no-cereal feeding. My daughter is now 7 months old and is eating a variety of fruit/veg/meats.
At 4 months we tried to give her cereal in the bottle (per the pediatrician's advice) and she refused to take it. Then I tried mixing it with breastmilk and giving it to her twice a day, but it didn't really work out either - just made her too full to drink her milk (which is where most of the baby's nutrient's should be coming from till age 1), and she wasn't really gaining any weight. After some research, I decided to leave the cereal aside and feed her fruits/vegetables plus as much breastmilk as she wanted, and just a few weeks ago we started adding meat/chicken to her diet. A very knowledgeable friend/mom of 2 suggested I read this book http://realbabyfood.info/Resources/Hando...
it was very helpful.

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