by maipham

March 23, 2022

how soon can baby eat cereal

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Cereal is one of the most common first foods that many people give their children, especially when they do spoon-feeding. It’s like puree but much easier to do, and much faster. 

What’s more, many grandmothers may advise you to put some cereal directly into your newborn’s milk bottle as it makes your baby fuller and therefore sleep better. 

However, that goes against the American Academy of Pediatrics’ advice. They do not recommend any form of solid foods until your child is 4 to 6 months old. 

So how soon can baby eat cereal? Is there anything you need to worry about when giving your child cereal?

Let’s find out.

When and How to Start Solids

how soon can baby eat cereal

Cereal is one of the solid foods. Before your child is between 4 to 6 months old, his digestive system is not ready for solid foods. 

4 to 6 months old is the generally right time to start solids, including cereal.

Not only cereal, but this is the time you might want to apply the 3-day waiting before introducing any form of new food. It means you give your baby some new food and wait for 3 days before introducing another type of food. As some babies can have allergic reactions to eggs, beans, etc., 3 days’ time is a good period to wait and watch if any allergic reactions appear.

How soon can baby eat cereal

how soon can baby eat cereal

Single-grain and plain cereals like oatmeal are friendly to your baby’s developing digestive system. Once your baby starts on solid, aka, when your baby is around 4 to 6 months old, your baby can eat cereal. 

Try giving your baby single-grain cereal at first, and once he is used to it, you can introduce multigrain cereal to him.

Pay attention to the cereal’s size and texture, too. When your child just starts solids, cereal pieces should be small, and can dissolve fairly easily. Some brands like Gerber and Happy Baby are some of the best choices.  

Signs that your baby is ready for cereal

Every baby is different and the common norm might not apply to your baby. Therefore, look for signs that your baby is ready to start eating cereal before introducing it.

Some signs your baby is ready for solids are that your baby can hold his neck and head up and be able to sit upright. What’s more, he needs to have the skill to move food from the front to the back of his mouth instead of pushing out any solid food that goes into his mouth.

Is it safe to give baby rice cereal before they’re ready?

Even though rice cereal is a safe food itself, giving it to your baby before he is ready might not be a good choice. Since before your child is ready, his digestive system might not be able to consume food. And there are 2 consequences if you force his digestive system to work extra before it’s ready. Either what comes in, comes out or diarrhea. 

Some doctors even say that giving cereal too early can increase the risk of obesity to your child.

How to prepare cereal for your baby

how soon can baby eat cereal

Fortified cereal is loved by parents as it is fast and easy to make. Just combine a tablespoon or two of cereal with formula or breast milk until it becomes a thin, soup-like texture.

Do not mix too much cereal at the beginning as your baby will need time to get comfortable transitioning from milk to solid. Once your baby is ok with the new texture, gradually reduce the amount of liquid to make the cereal thicker.

Once your little muncher is ready to move to the next phase, you can start offering him some other snack puff like Gerber baby snack puff for him to learn to pick up. However, unless you try baby-led-weaning, holding off on an actual bowl of cereal and milk until his spoon skill is solid. If you follow baby-led-weaning, try giving the spoon and only 1 or 2 tablespoons of cereal in a bowl at the beginning. You know the mess is coming up, and the less mess, the better.

Is cereal a choking hazard for babies?

Generally speaking, cereal is not a common choking hazard. But make sure to prepare it safely by mixing cereal with breast milk or formula very well at the beginning. And once your baby is used to the texture, increase the thickness gradually by adding more cereal or reducing liquid.

For baby snacks, even though they are easy to dissolve, it is never too safe to play it safe. Make sure your baby is always under your supervision while eating and he is always sitting upright during meal times. It means, no food while laying down, sitting in a car seat or playing.

Can babies be allergic to cereal?

Although very rare, any kind of food can be an allergic factor to your little one if your little one is too sensitive. Depending on what’s in the cereal, it can trigger allergic reactions to your baby. 

Never forget to read the ingredient list thoroughly, apply the 3-day waiting and watch out for any signs of allergic reaction. 

I’ve listed down the common symptoms of food allergy in my guide “When can baby eat egg white”. In case you haven’t seen it, here they are: 

  • Skin: hives (red, blotchy skin that can itch) and may include mild to severe swelling
  • Lungs: difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
  • Eyes: itching, tearing or redness
  • Throat: tightness, trouble breathing or inhaling
  • Stomach: repeated vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain and cramping or diarrhea
  • Nose: congestion, copious clear discharge, sneezing or itching
  • Neurologic: change in behavior or mood, dizziness
  • Drop in Blood Pressure: This is the most dangerous symptom of a severe allergic reaction

Call your doctor right away if your child experiences symptoms of an allergic reaction. 

Spice it up: Cereal recipes ideas

how soon can baby eat cereal

Your little picky eater can get tired of the plain cereal after a while, and it’s time to spice it up. Just add some more ingredients into the normal cereal bowl and you are good to go.

Some ideas to try:

  • Fruity cinnamon cereal.
  • Baby cereal pancakes. 
  • Baby cereal teething biscuits.
  • Cereal and yogurt. 
  • Cereal and vegestables.

How soon can baby eat cereal: Wrapping it up

Now you’ve got all the answers to all the questions you might have had. In case there is something you are not sure about, let me know so I can add it up.

About the author 

Mai Pham

Mai Pham discovered her passion for writing a few years ago and she never stop thinking about it ever since. She finally took the leap and created Live a Worthy Life to brag about her smart ass (mainly just for fun). Enjoyed the fun writing brings, now with her new interest in everything-baby-related, she created Mommy Instinct, to tell mamas that it's ok that they mess up, that they don't know what the hell they are doing, and that it's okay to sit back and relax for a while.

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