He's Ready but I am Not...

Kathryn - posted on 05/10/2011 ( 14 moms have responded )




My son just turned 4 months on the 22nd of March. He has been showing signs that he is ready for rice cereal. IE, he mimics us while we eat (opening his mouth when he sees us being food to our mouths), he will "pretend" eating with a spoon (I gave him a spoon to play with during dinner and at the end I was pretending to fee him and every time he would opend his mouth and take "bites"), and he will actually take food from my hand while I am eating.

I think part of me is being selfish because I am not ready. But at the same time he has suffered with reflux since birth (we are on Prilosec right now, that "maintains" but doesn't get rid of) I have heard when starting rice cereal it could worsen the reflux. He has been sleeping 12-14 hrs at night since he was 13 weeks, I have also heard that rice cereal is harder to digest which could make him uncomfortable.

I rushed in and started rice cereal with my first son just because it was a "1st" moment for ME. Now I am not sure if I should wait and my concerns are right or if I should do it because I am just not wanting to. Any advice is welcome.


[deleted account]

I wouldn't place too much stock on those signs. Babies at that age want to play with everything and put everything in their mouths -- it's part of their oral development, but not necessarily signs that they're ready for solids. These are more important signs:

- sitting without support

- lost the tongue-thrust reflex

- starting to develop the pincer grasp (picking up things between thumb and forefinger)

I would follow the WHO recommendations of waiting until 6 months.

By the way, if you're worried about rice cereal being constipating, consider offering oatmeal as a first food. It's a lot more nutritious than rice cereal and more digestible.

Oats are one of the least allergenic foods, so - whilst it should not be forgotten that ANY food has the potential to cause an allergic reaction - oats are among the safest to introduce to your baby as a first food.

Due to their high fibre content, they do not cause constipation in the way that rice cereal often does (read more here about The Best First Food For Baby and why rice cereal may not be the most suitable choice for your little one).


Minnie - posted on 05/11/2011




Looking into baby-led solids might be interesting for you. Babies take the lead, eating pretty much what everyone else is eating, with their own hands, skipping the cereal and jarred food stage altogether.

Allison - posted on 05/15/2011




Babies should be solely breastfed until at least 6 months, when the gut begins to close. Introduction of anything besides breastmilk before this age is not a good idea because it disrupts the natural gut flora and can set the baby up for allergies; since the gut is not yet closed, food particles can escape into the baby's blood which can trigger an allergic response. The 6 month minimum has has nothing to do with the safety of your water supply.

Store bought baby cereals are totally unnecessary. They're highly processed, nutrient-poor, and their high iron content can cause constipation. Google baby led weaning.



Minnie - posted on 05/10/2011




The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding until six months. Many babies seem like they are ready because they express interest at meal times, but it doesn't necessarily mean they are developmentally ready for them. Typically a baby who is ready for solids is able to bring food to his or her mouth, chew it and then swallow the large majority of it.

Kellie - posted on 05/10/2011




Trust you're instincts, he sounds like he id definately ready for solids!
I hadn't heard that, i have vague feelings of hearing that solids can help with reflux as it gives the stomach lining and helps to hold the food in so they don't spit up as much, but i could be mixing up things here :)
good luck!


View replies by

Gabriela - posted on 05/14/2011




He is definitely ready for solids. The WHO recommendation on exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months of age is based on preventing babies in undeveloped countries from consuming contaminated water for the longest time possible, so I suggest not taking that by heart if you are in a developed country and have access to good clean water.

Elizabeth - posted on 05/13/2011




My 3 month old showed signs of being ready to eat. He actually gave angry little grunts every time I ignored his open mouth and put oatmeal in my mouth. I started feeding him some expressed breastmilk with a spoon at supper time. It gives us practice using a spoon and because I use cold milk which has some fat solids, it gives him practice with texture. He loves it and he beams when he's eating almost like "I'm doing the same thing the big people are."

Tammy - posted on 05/13/2011




I waited a little past 6 months - then mixed up the "best" organic rice cereal (with breast milk) and popped it into my son's eagerly awaiting mouth - only to have him burst into tears and push my hand away. I tasted the "cereal myself - and promptly dumped it all. A week later I offered him some mushed up avocado - and he ate like a champ! I bought a magic bullet and ground dry brown rice into powder and made my own rice cereal. I would blend in fruits (one at a time) to test for sensitives - he ate every bit with a smile. I am NOT a SAHM (I wish), I do NOT have time to spare (I am a single mom), but I found that making real food edible for my son was easy to do and worth the extra few minutes. With the RARE exception, my son did not eat "baby food" - he ate fresh food made by Mom. Now, at 2 1/2, his favorite foods are broccoli, mushrooms, and fish, and he eats whatever is served - without a fuss. Good Luck!

Wolfmama - posted on 05/13/2011




You don't need to start with rice cereal necessarily. Google child-led solids, perhaps that would work better for you. That is what we have done and it works for us anyways.

Sherry - posted on 05/11/2011




My 2nd Daughter was also born with reflux. I don't know how much research you have done on it, but, no, rice cereal does not make it worse! Rice cereal is often the only way to keep the formula down. My daughter had one cereal feeding a night of rice cereal from about 8 weeks on. When that proved to be the only time she DIDN'T get sick, even with meds, her doctor then decided to put her on formula that had rice cereal in it as well. Similac Sensitive for spit up has it in it as well as one of the Enfamils has it in it just for that reason. When they had a shortage of her formula a month and a half before she turned one, the doctor had us just add rice cereal (starting at 1 tsp rice cereal per ounce of formula and adjusted as needed, and we were able to just do the 1 tsp) to the regular similac sensitive. I had started out trying to breastfeed her but her stomach could not tollerate it. She had it very bad, she would spit up a lot before the meds, almost as much with the meds, and the only thing that helped was the rice and keeping her upright for half an hour after she ate.

[deleted account]

I'm not sure about the rice cereal worsening the reflux since one of the 'treatments' for reflux IS rice cereal... in the bottle. Other than that... waiting for solids is perfectly fine.

Danielle - posted on 05/11/2011




I started all 4 of mine on rice cereal around 3.5 mos. They all did fine & had no problems with it. My pdoc recomended 4 mos. I started it just before their 4 mo check up so if there were any problems a scheduled doc appt was imminent. My 2nd had a little problem with the oatmeal - mild excema. But she also didn't sleep through the night well until after she started on solids. I made their cereal with breastmilk & gave it to them around bedtime & let them BF afterwards. Both of my sons had issues with weight gain until they started solids. I BF & had to supplement with formula (offering bottles of formula after BF) and they still gained very slowly. Their systems needed the solid foods. And at 10, 8, 7 & 2, they are all very healthy & have had no real health issues.

But, every child is different. Every mother & every expert will give you different advice. My in-laws used to tell me to start putting cereal in a bottle at 2 mos - not possible when you breastfeed (a foreign concept to them)! As long as your son is healthy & happy & sleeping through the night, do whatever you're comfortable with.

Kathryn - posted on 05/11/2011




Wow, thank you all for the information! That makes me feel a lot better. I will wait, and now I know it wil e the right decision for him.

Kelly - posted on 05/10/2011




I started my first son on rice cereal at 4 months and had to deal with 3 years of chronic constipation - in my opinion I started him too soon and his intestines weren't ready. The constipation was easier to handle while he was still under 1, but after that it was a constant struggle to help him poop! With the 2nd, I'm not starting cereal until after his 6 month birthday, maybe 8... I don't think I could handle dealing with that again.

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