Cereal

Ashley - posted on 03/28/2009 ( 13 moms have responded )

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I was reading that Rice Cereal has no nutritional value. My mother in law picked me up an oatmeal cereal (Im pretty sure that is what it is) is this different or just a different name for the same thing?



I'm not sure if I'm going to give her any or not. I tried it the other day, I put a little (like a quater tablespoon) in a bottle with some breast milk before bed, as I was told that this can help her sleepthrough the night. She didn't appear to sleep any longer, and I noticed that she didnt have a bowel movement the next day. She is about three months old, and I was planning on waiting untill 6 months to give her anything, but was listening to everyone say, oh no she's old enough, and we'll we fed it to our kids at that age and theyre fine, they change the rules all the time anyways...blah blah blah, anyways she didnt seem to take it well.



But back on topic, for future reference is there a difference in the cereals or are they the same?

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Allison - posted on 03/28/2009

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I really like http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/ for info on foods, when to introduce, info on cereal, ect. Grains as a first food aren't really that helpful, as they can cause gas (they are harder to digest than breastmilk or fruits/veggies) and the iron in the cereal can (often does) cause constipation. Your instincts are right - wait on the cereal or forgo it all-together.

You should always feed cereal via a spoon and not in the bottle. Putting cereal in the bottle is a choking hazard and can also lead to oral-motor development issues (because they have to suck differently to get the cereal out) as well as possible texture issues when you start solid foods (baby gets used to feeling that solid-food-full feeling while drinking their food, so when you introduce foods with texture, even purees, they may have an aversion to it or decide it's too much work to eat when they can fill up on a bottle of cereal).

Difference in cereals? Well, they are made from different grains. I personally like the oatmeal better as it tastes better, and I typically only use it to thicken purees if they get too watery and/or for breakfast before I introduce normal oats (before baby is used to having some texture and still needs fairly smooth foods).

Keep in mind that foods for children under 1 year are for exploration, experience, and exposure only and not for nutrition or to keep them full (or help them sleep longer). They get their nutrition from breastmilk for that whole first year. Allowing baby to self-feed when she is ready is much better than putting foods into her mouth - it's much more a full sensory experience that they learn from, rather than a open and swallow exercise. I typically don't even use a spoon until my kids want more food than they can easily get in their mouth themselves (i.e. their desire to eat outweights their fine motor abilities). And then, I give them a spoon for self-feeding while I assist with a second spoon (because I can actually keep food on the spoon without spilling ;-)

Food is certainly fun for both baby and parents, but really should wait until baby is able to have more control over what goes into her mouth. There definitely isn't any harm in waiting to feed foods, and probably a lot of benefits for waiting (like a decrease in risk for developing food allergies, baby being in control over their food and sensory experiences, and less work for mom in feeding (but more for cleaning)).

Good luck!

Kyla - posted on 03/28/2009

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My son was almost 6 months when we started him on rice cereal and other than that he was EBF.

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Allison - posted on 03/29/2009

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Quoting Palwasha:


One question - She is (I think) a little constipated now that I have started the cereal - I hate that - I was thinking I should make my own and then the Iron won't be an issue??? I am assuming she gets enough iron in BM and I can add Iron filled fruits/veges to her diet in a couple of weeks??


There is no reason to use cereal at all. I alway just just right with real food: avocado, banana, sweet potato, then yellow squash. These taste better, are more nutritious, and are easy to prepare. I also let baby control what goes into her mouth instead of feeding with a spoon - eating at this age is more about exposure, experimentation, and exploration rather than getting nutrition or filling up.

[deleted account]

My little one just turned 6 months - She is EBF - I just started her on the organic box rice cereal...mixed with BM...She was very ready - grabbing at everything I was eating for a week or more before LOL...but I hung out till 6 months as she didn't appear hungry at all...for food anyway...

One question - She is (I think) a little constipated now that I have started the cereal - I hate that - I was thinking I should make my own and then the Iron won't be an issue??? I am assuming she gets enough iron in BM and I can add Iron filled fruits/veges to her diet in a couple of weeks??

Allison - posted on 03/28/2009

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Quoting Shanna:



I think Rice and Oatmeal cereal are pretty much the same thing but they have a lot of Iron in them - that's what they are really good for! An excellent source of Iron for babies over 6 months of age (babies have enough Iron stored in them until this time) 





Yes, the iron stores of babies are depleted at around 6 months, BUT babies *do* get iron from breastmilk. Breastmilk contains less iron than formula or cereal (which are fortified with iron), but more of it is bio-available, meaning they can absorb more of it. Most of the iron in fortified foods gets passed right through the body and never used. So, from the infomormation I've seen, babies get almost as much iron or just as much iron from breastmilk as they do from formula or cereal.



Some pediatricians recommend iron supplements for breastfed babies, but a varied diet filled with foods that contain iron is much better, and again, babies *do* get iron out of breastmilk. If there is an iron concern, you can do the finger prick test, although that test isn't very accurate (can be off by as much as 2 points, from what I hear). 



Both my babies were exclusively breastfed until 6 months, then foods were slowly introduced. Both kids had normal iron levels at 1 year.

Shanna - posted on 03/28/2009

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Also, I wanted to add my daughter is breastfed and I ONLY ever gave her cereal by spoon.



 



Carolyn"s right in that your baby will let you know when they are ready. My daughter started grabbing at EVERYTHING i tried to put in my mouth. She also started to make chewing movements - sometimes she would do this all day. I almost thought something was wrong with her lol

Shanna - posted on 03/28/2009

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I think Rice and Oatmeal cereal are pretty much the same thing but they have a lot of Iron in them - that's what they are really good for! An excellent source of Iron for babies over 6 months of age (babies have enough Iron stored in them until this time) That's why babies get extremely constipated if they are fed cereal too early - too much iron! I started my daughter on rice and oatmeal cereal at 5 months. She did fine with it at that point. I fed her only about 2 teaspoons a night. Definately did not make her sleep better though :)

Carolyn - posted on 03/28/2009

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Rice cereal and oatmeal are two different things (oatmeal is made from oats and rice cereal is made from rice).  The reason rice cereal is usually given as a "first food" is that it is one of the foods that your baby is least likely to be allergic to.  As far as nutrition goes, BROWN rice cereal has a lot more nutritional value especially when prepared with breast milk.  Most boxed rice cereals that I've seen use bleached (white) rice.  Brown rice cereal can usually be found at a health food store like Whole Foods or it is very easy to make.



Oatmeal is usually introduced when your baby has grown accustomed to eating a thicker consistency of rice cereal as even when "runny" it has a lot more texture than rice cereal.



Most pediatricians advise AGAINST adding cereals to bottles.



Your baby will let you know when she is ready to start eating foods.  She will watch you eating very intently.  She'll copy the motions your mouth makes.  She'll reach for your food.  This usually happens between 4 and 6 months.  Don't let anyone pressure you into feeding her solids before YOU feel she is ready.  Everyone has their opinions but you're her mom.

Rebecca - posted on 03/28/2009

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I made Jake's rice cereal and it was really easy.  I went to Trader Joe's and got the Organic Lake Wild Rice and cooked it for about 50 minutes.  Then I drained and rinsed it, popped it in the blender and added a lot of breastmilk which I had pumped earlier that day.  Once it was pureed, I put it into ice cube trays, put some plastic wrap over it and froze it.  Then I popped the frozen food cubes into a freezer Glad bag, and they can stay in the freezer for a month or two.  It's very convenient, and I was worried about rice cereal having no nutritional value. 



By the way, I never gave him any food until he was over 7 months old.  Prior to that, he was exclusively breastfed.

Karen - posted on 03/28/2009

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Have you considered making your own rice cereal with brown rice. If you make it yourself you know exactly what's going into your baby and if it's good for her or not.

And - if your instincts tell you to wait until 6 months - then do wait! Ignore advice that doesn't make sense.

Asia - posted on 03/28/2009

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I've read the same thing as well about the cereal having no ntritional value. I waited until my son was almost six months to introduce oatmeal cereal and baby food purees. I just don't see the direct correlation between the nimber of hours a baby sleeps and giving them cereal.



Please!Please! Please do what you feel is best for your baby. i was told to do the same thing but chose not to. I had to tell several people that I don't mind waking up with my baby at night. They need their diapers changed anyway.



By the way, I think I got off subject...check out the link below.

http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/solids

Kyla - posted on 03/28/2009

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I'm not sure what the difference in cereals is. But your right. For a lot of babies adding cereal doesn't help them sleep any longer (mine uncluded). My sister had issues with her little boy when she listened to her MIL and gave him rice cereal in his bottle at 2 months. He ended up with Hemhroids and a fisher at 3 months. So she stopped and his bowel movements returned to normal. Things change so often but usually because they have found a better way of doing something (this isn't always the case but sometimes it is). Just take all advice and only use what you agree with.

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