Baby Cereal

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Stephanie - posted on 07/27/2009

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Solids can be introduced between 4-6 months but only if they are ready. Your baby will give you clear signs when they ready to move beyond liquid-only nourishment. Cues to look for include:



• Head control. Your baby needs to be able to keep his head in a steady, upright position.



• Losing the "extrusion reflex." To keep solid food in his mouth and then swallow it, your baby needs to stop using his tongue to push food out of his mouth.



• Sitting well when supported. Even if he's not quite ready for a highchair, your baby needs to be able to sit upright to swallow well.



• Chewing motions. Your baby's mouth and tongue develop in sync with his digestive system. To start solids, he should be able to move food to the back of his mouth and swallow. As he learns to swallow efficiently, you may notice less drooling. He may also be teething around the same time.



• Significant weight gain. Most babies are ready to eat solids when they've doubled their birth weight (or weigh about 15 pounds) and are at least 4 months old.



• Growing appetite. He seems hungry — even with eight to ten feedings of breast milk or formula a day.



• Curiosity about what you're eating. Your baby may begin eyeing your bowl of rice or reaching for a forkful of fettuccine as it travels from your plate to your mouth.



A good rule of thumb is to start with rice cereal, which is gluten-free and less allergenic than other foods. First, nurse or bottle-feed your baby. Then give him one or two teaspoons of dry cereal mixed with enough formula or breast milk to make a semi-liquid. Use a rubber-tipped spoon when you feed your baby, to avoid injuring his gums. Start with just a small amount of cereal on the tip of the spoon.



If your baby doesn't seem very interested in eating off the spoon, let him smell and taste the cereal or wait until he warms up to the idea of eating something solid. Don't add solid food to your baby's bottle or he may not make the connection that food is to be eaten sitting up and from a spoon.



Begin with a once-a-day feeding, whenever it's convenient for you and your baby, but not at a time when your baby seems tired or cranky. Your baby may not eat much in the beginning, but give him time to get used to the experience. Some babies need practice keeping food in their mouths and swallowing.



Once he gets used to his new diet, he'll be ready for a few tablespoons of cereal a day. As the amount he eats increases, gradually thicken the consistency of the cereal and add another feeding.

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Shannon - posted on 07/29/2009

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Both of my kids were around 4 months when I started cereal. RIce first, they both hated it... went to oatmeal soon after, loved that!! My daughter hated being fed, so by the time she was 6 months, she had to pick it up on her own or she wouldn't eat it.. that was the end of baby foods for her.

My son is 11 months now, he barely eats baby foods.. he is very similar as far as the not wanting to eat it unless he can pick it up... but he will eat some things we feed him.

Point... each child is different, but I do agree that it shouldn't be before they have enough control to sit in a high chair on their own.

Jennifer - posted on 07/29/2009

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Never. We don't use cereal and intro grains last pretty much. As of now Olivia doesn't tolerate most foods I eat so we're a long ways from solids (she's 5.5 mos). I always said 7-9 mos, but we're looking at closer to 9 now. We practice baby led weaning.

Minnie - posted on 07/28/2009

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Infants generally shouldn't be started on solids until they have developed the capability of picking up food, putting it in their mouths, and then chewing. This typically doesn't happen until at least 6 months.

Cereal is unecessary and provides no benefit over your own milk whatsoever. The nutrients in it don't provide the bioavailability that the nutrients in your milk, ie, the iron in grains is not as readily absorbed and utilized as the iron in human milk.

Shanda - posted on 07/28/2009

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Around 6 months is a good guideline, but it really depends on the individual baby. I started ODS at 4 months and did great, this time around my LO seemed interested in our food so I tried it at 4 months but really, at 7 1/2 months he still only wants milk.

Stephanie - posted on 07/27/2009

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I started my son at 4 months old and he is doing awesome! He loves to try and feed himself :) Its a little messy but fun to enjoy the experience with them.

Christine - posted on 07/27/2009

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I know that the new guidelines from the American Pediatric Association is to not introduce solids to a breastfed infant until 6 months. However, I started my first two @ 4 months and my third @ about 5 and a half. If it makes a difference, my third child had a more difficult time adjusting to solids than the first two. Don't know if the age difference is the reason...

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