36 answers

Barley Versus Oatmeal or Rice Cereal

My baby is 5 months old and I want to start her on cereal but not sure which to start on? I know Barley is really healthy for babies but not sure if it's smart to start her on. Also any other suggestions to feed her? I would appreciate any suggestion also on how many times a day to feed her and how to mix cereal? Thanks! God Bless You!

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So What Happened?™

Hello Lovely mommies! Thank you all for your input. So i went to the store and found some organic baby food for first food for baby and bought carrots, bananas, apples, peas, sweet potato and organic rice cereal. Bella loved carrots and peas! She did not have a bad reaction so I'm just giving her once a day until she gets used to it more. It was so awesome seeing her eat. I guess it was a success!

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They say rice cereal is the best to start them off. My baby never liked the barley though. It's kind of dense.

Start with single grain cereals. Always start with Rice first...there is a lower likelihood of allergy to this grain type as opposed to the others. If after a couple weeks you notice she's fine, with no allergic reaction, then you can try one of the other single grains and do the same for a couple weeks. Always start each new food by itself and try it for at least 5 days before starting something new.

Start once a day for a few weeks to get her system used to it, then go to 2x a day. Mix it with breast milk or water, real diluted at first. It should look kind of like soupy cream of wheat. I'd start with the rice, then maybe mix it with the baby oats or barley. Rice is supposed to be the one to start them with, but it usually constipates them a bit as they adjust to their first food. Dont' worry about it, it will come in time.

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Hi I also have a 5 month old and she is on cereal. I started her on rice cereal (the organic one) and it took a week or so to get her to like it. Don't just give up. I then gave her the barley when she finished the rice she loved it. Now I have her back on rice (no particular reason). It is very easy to make I don't measure I pour some into a bowl and mix it with formula to a consistansy that I had to find to her liking. I feed her cereal twice a day. Once in the morning around 10 and then again at 4. All this was recommended by me ped. Good luck it is very messy.

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I just wanted to chime in and say, there's no rush to start solids! My son didn't really eat solid food until he was 10 months old. If you're breastfeeding, she doesn't need any supplemental nutrition beyond your milk for the first year. Good luck, it sounds as though you're really conscientious and doing your best!

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I live by the book Super Baby food by Ruth Yaron. If you are into healthy, organic etc. this is a must have book for parents wanting to make their baby's food. It is still a great resource even tho I am not "making" baby food anymore, there is so much information on nutients that I am picking it up daily to see what certain foods contain. If you are going to buy food then I highly recommend Earths Best. Rice is less allergenic than oatmeal and barley. (Brown) rice is gluten free too.

I would really try and wait to feed her. 7-8 mos is becoming more acceptable for starting solids. Babies dont have certain enzymes to break down complex carbs until after 6 mos. Depending on who you talk to, some say they dont have them until they are a year old. There is also some talk about gluten intollerance, diabetes, obesity and the like that is linked to our shoving food down our tiny babies before their bodies are ready. Google it all and see what you come up with. My babies (all 3) first food was avacado--even before rice and I waited until they were 8 mos. to begin. Good luck.

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I think it is recommended to start infants on rice cereal for allergy reasons and because it is the easiest to digest. Once you are certain (1-2 weeks) that she doesn't have any allergy to rice cereal and is digesting it fine,l you can start other foods, introducing one new one every 3 to 5 days to check for allergies and digestion.

I believe the typical (suggested) order is rice then oatmeal then barley. Wait three to four days before starting the next food, just to make sure she doesn't have any reactions.

Have fun!

You might want to wait until she's 6 months as reccommended.
To avoid tummy upset start with rice cereal. Ask your pediatrician for a food list. It will tell you the order of baby foods to start with. Also it's important to wait weeks+ in between new foods. That way you can identify specific foods that might not sit well with her, allergies, etc.

I always found it an exciting time when my babies started on solids! Just wait another month.

Blessings to you and your precious-one.

I alway's gave mine oatmeal and rice cereal. You can just mix a little formula with it to make like a baby food texture in a jar. Or they also have oatmeal in a jar and sometimes I would mis a little fruit instead of formula. And sometimes I buy the rice cereal my self. It is good and I just add a little milk with it. You might think I'm crazy. But when my acid refux was really bad thats what the doctor had me eat is baby food. And believe me it helped. I like the rice cereal better then our regular cereal in the boxes. Some people give it to them in the morning and some give it to them morning and night before they go to bed for sometimes it makes them sleep better.

I believe that rice cereal is the easiest to digest. Start with that and then you can try the other grains. Always wait a week between introducing new foods to make sure if there is a reaction, you can determine what caused it.

Hello J., it's always safest to introduce her to Oatmeal first, then rice and lastly barley.

Hello! We introduced cereal to our daughter around the same time. I learned about Barley after I introduced her to oatmeal and rice cereal. We tried rice first and followed that with oatmeal cereal. I also wanted the best for my baby so I bought Organic baby food. To be honest, I am not sure which is more gentle on the stomach but I do know neither oatmeal nor rice upset our daughter. When we introduced any new foods, as advised by our doctor, we introduced one new item per week to make sure she did not react. Our doc also recommended after the cereal we should introduce the veggies before the fruits to insure that they take to the veggies. They may not want to have the veggies after the sweet fruit. Back to the cereal question, I would mix the cereal with breast milk, or milk just to add more nutrional value. Instead of microwaving the milk I put the milk in a bottle then placed it in a bowl with warm water. This way the milk is not scalding hot. Here is a website of all the baby food we used. http://www.earthsbest.com/products/cereal.php They carry a great selection at Henry's Market and Mother's Market. Babies R Us and grocery stores carry it as well but do not have as great of a selection. I hope this helps and I wish you the best.

Barely and oatmeal can be allergenic. SINGLE grain Rice cereal is always the first cereal recommended to start with. Ask your Pediatrician.
Remember, a baby's digestive system and organs and swallowing reflexes and muscle coordination are STILL developing...thus the specific recommendations for "first" foods. Don't feed according to "adult" ideas of "tastes"... go according to age appropriate foods and stay away from allergenic foods and foods which a baby's system is not yet ready for.

ALSO, you need to make sure your baby is "ready" for it. Some babies cannot yet "swallow" and may choke... or their tongue reflexes will still push the food out and they will not swallow etc.

You start with just a couple teaspoons at a time... once a day. Then over time, even a month, add more little by little, then build up to 3 times per day of "solids." Remember, a baby is having to adjust to things and "eating."

Also, if breastfeeding or formula, give this FIRST. For the first year of life, breastmilk/formula is the PRIMARY source of nutrition for a baby. If giving solids first, this is done to "wean" from breast.

You can mix the cereal with water or breastmilk or formula. THere are directions on the box.

You need to start her on "solids" or cereal at the recommendation of your doctor. USUALLY it is recommended to start at 6 months old.... due to the immature digestive system of an infant.

Take care,

J. -

I had the same question with my son - who is now two. I asked his doctor and they said to start with rice, mix with formula, water, or breat milk. Then after he was use to the rice cereal and had no issues with it I moved onto the oatmeal then barley.

As far as feeding schedule...I feed my son the rice cereal once in the morning until he was use to it and had no issues eating it, then I feed it to him in the morning and then in the evening. Once he was on veggies and fruits...I mixed it with one or the other.

Enjoy your daughter....they are so much fun when you start feeding them solids! I loved to watch my son try food for the first time...thier reaction is so pure. I can't wait to start them with my daughter!


Hi J.,

From experience and what I've always heard is that it's best to start out with rice cereal and move to wheat, oatmeal and barley after a few months. I made the mistake of giving my 5 month-old (at the time) oatmeal and he broke into a rash. He's now 7 months-old and I've not been brave enough to try it again. I still give him rice and when I make it I mix it with a 1/2 scoop of formula and then add the powdered cereal and water and mix it to not-to-thin consistency. I also now add fruit to it since he's a bit older and he likes that a lot. He gets it for breakfast and sometimes dinner as well.

A little about me:
I'm married to a very supportive and helpful husband and have 3 1/2 year-old and 7 month-old sons.

Start with baby rice cereal, then oatmeal, then barley, then you can try some mixing and matching. Don't add too many at a time and let them stay with one type for awhile to determine allergies and get them used to this type of food. It is just about giving them the solid food that will be easiet on their little tummies. Your doctor can give you a guideline for when to start what foods and that can help.

I have 2 kids, and rice cereal is the one to go with according to my pediatrician. You should stay on this for about 5 days to make sure there is no allergic reaction, then introduce a new vegetable about every 5 days, and finally, introduce fruit about every 5 days, and then get into the other grains of cereal.

I don't know the nutrition of barley versus oatmeal or rice, but my first daughter LOVED barley. I actually never gave her oatmeal because she loved her barley so much. It has a much stronger taste than the rice or oatmeal (yes, I've tried them all.) For that reason, I'd start with the rice and then move onto barley. Just follow the directions on the box when mixing it. You will quickly figure out the consistency that your baby likes. The most important thing is when you feed her, act really goofy, opening your mouth very wide and pretending to chew. Don't forget to cheer when she takes a bite. Feed her when she's not starving, but hungry and in a good mood. I would start with one meal a day and then add the other meals as she gets the hang of eating. Eventually you want her eating three meals and two snacks a day. I found this article very helpful.

I did Barley then Oatmeal with my second. I mixed it with a little breastmilk (you could use a little water). For now, you are just introducing her to solids, not making sure her nutritional needs are met by it so do it after you've breastfed her (if you are nursing) do it for fun, you can even give her a spoon and let her have at it. Enjoy, this is a very fun time!

I was curious after reading other repsonses if barley was a bad place to start, I thought my ped. recommended it, after researching it more, he did. Anyway, I found it recommended, along with rice cereal at many sites, the following, I took from askdrsears.com

Cereal. Begin with rice or barley cereal, the least allergenic. Don't serve a mixed cereal until you've tried each of the ingredients separately to be sure baby is not allergic to any of them. Rice is approximately 75 percent carbohydrates and seven percent protein. High protein cereals, made primarily with soybeans, may contain as much as 35 percent protein. Cereals made especially for infants are fortified with minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus, along with B-vitamins and iron. Begin with one- fourth teaspoon of cereal and advance to a tablespoon, and so on. Mix it with breastmilk or formula to the desired consistency. Cereal alone is very bland and may be refused by your baby. Once you know your baby is not allergic to different fruits and cereals, you can experiment by combining various fruits with cereal in various consistencies. Cereals are often suggested as a way to fill baby up, lengthening the interval between feedings, and even sleeping longer at night. This "filler fallacy" is an unwise feeding pattern. Cereal is not nearly as nutritious as breastmilk or formula. Besides, this practice rarely works.

www.askdrsears.com has a section on first feedings, when, how, etc..


rice cereal is the least likely to cause an alergic reation, the easiest to digest and gluten found in wheat can cause real problems for some people.

They say rice cereal is the best to start them off. My baby never liked the barley though. It's kind of dense.

Get the book "Super Baby Food" by Ruth Yaron. I used it for all three of my kids and they are all great eaters. She's a little hard core in her beliefs, but it is a fantastic guide. Very healthy easy to make food, plus she advises as to what foods to give and when. I didn't start my kids on solids until 6 mo.

Hi J. :)

I once had the same question about the barley and asked my daughter's pediatrician. I'm sure many other moms out there can relate to completely losing their memory after after having kids :)... well, I can't remember what the doctor told me as to exactly why, but the answer was NO! It may have had something to do with allergies, but I'm not quite sure. Regardless, I would totally avoid that for now. Start with the rice cereal. Are you breastfeeding at all? If so, mix some of your expressed breastmilk with the cereal. If it's freshly pumped and not put in the fridge yet, you can just put it in the cereal. Whatever you do though~ DO NOT warm the breastmilk in the microwave EVER! Dump what you need into a little plastic ziplock bag (if it's not frozen), and let the milk warm up in the bag in a cup of hot water. It will heat very quickly. Then mix it into the rice. You can make the consistency however you see fit~ I just wouldn't make it soupy or drippy in any way. If your little one doesn't like rice cereal by itself after the first few times of trying, you can always get the tiny jars of baby food (they do have organic baby foods FYI ;) ), and mix the rice cereal in with that, too. You wouldn't need breastmilk in there. If you aren't breastfeeding, you can mix formula with the baby food instead (5 months is too young to give a child milk). I still advise NOT to heat the cereal up in the microwave either because some spots may be hotter than others and burn the baby; however, I could be totally incorrect. I am not sure, as my children never had it. Those little jars (looks like a half size of normal baby food jar) of baby food are good though. You can use one of those for one feeding or half a normal sized one. You should start with just one type of food before you can take 2 different kinds in case the baby has a bad reaction to something she ate... then you will know which food is the culprit without question. Heat them up just a couple of seconds so they're nice for the baby. The amount of feedings would depend on whether you're breastfeeding or not. If you're not, I would give the 3 meals and some snacks... some fruity baby food sauce... they like peaches and pears... there's all kinds of stuff out there. Gerber also has these little flavored rice cereal bit things that melt very quickly in the baby's mouth. My son LOVED those!!

I hope some of this helped. You'll know if your daughter is hungry and if she doesn't like what you give her. If you start out giving her baby food and she's never had it, you might want to have your camera handy :) They make some pretty funny faces experiencing all these new tastes :) ... and the diapers change, too...stool gets harder and stinkier and her tummy might need some time to adjust to the heavier foods giving her gas or whatever... :) :p

Enjoy her to pieces! The first year is gone in a flash and when the child is your first, the concentration is not always focused on how so very precious the time is that you are in :).

I hope joy overwhelms you both!


I would start with rice cereal as it's the easiest on their little tummies. See how she does on that and go from there.
I would feed her once a day to start. In about a month or so, start feeding her other foods. Start with yellow and orange veggies, moving on to green once she's tried them all. You can move on to fruit after that and finally on to meat. I always started with turkey and chicken and then tried the darker meats.
Happy eating! :)

Start once a day for a few weeks to get her system used to it, then go to 2x a day. Mix it with breast milk or water, real diluted at first. It should look kind of like soupy cream of wheat. I'd start with the rice, then maybe mix it with the baby oats or barley. Rice is supposed to be the one to start them with, but it usually constipates them a bit as they adjust to their first food. Dont' worry about it, it will come in time.

Hi J., I started my babies on rice cereal first (they were 6 weks old) even at 5 months I would do the rice first, oatmeal is a little heavy compared to rice cereal, I don't know a whole lot about barley but I know rice cereal is a good start. J.

I read that you should start a baby on a simple single grain cereal like rice. Barley is certainly healthier but also harder to digest for babies. I strated mine of rice cereal mixed wth formula or breast milk. It should be somewhat thin but not runny to start then after she does ok with that then you can strt mixing the cereal with veggie purees--one veggie a week to rule out any possible alergies then the same for fruit purees. Do veggies first though because some babies don't want them if you give fruits first. Ask your pediatrician when you can start giving her the more complex grains he/she should be able to guide you through . Hope this helps...good luck!PS Start by giving her one cereal meal a day then gradually increase to 3 meals..breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I would do some research on the web about barley. But in my experience (about 6 months) I have found that as long as I make sure it is blended down real good and is free from sugar my son will eat just about everything. For his blood type Rice is the most benificial so he eats rice. I am sure barley would be good as well but have not heard about it until today.

A bit of advice that I was given from my midwife. Do not allow your children to eat anything with sugar until they like all the veggies. Then only allow very small amounts of sugar or avoid them all together. My son eats all types of fruits and veggies. I make his food and just blend it well. His favorite are mangos and apples. And he loves beets (he will go crazy until he gets his fill of beets) just be aware that beets can turn the stool and pee red dont worry they are not bleeding.

My doctor (naturapathic) suggested that I not worry about what the traditional doctors say about feeding my child as they are really more geared for the chemical processed foods. He said that my making his food and knowing exactly what was in it was actually better for my son then one might think. It actually takes no time at all making the food as I am already preparing a meal for the hubby and I. I just boil the veggies or fruit until fork tender and blend. Then when we are eating our food his is ready and he gets to enjoy dinner with the family. And its a lot cheaper then the store bought food. One mango will last my son one week, one beet will also last one week.

Some good books to read about nutrion for you and your child can be found at the library. I like the ones by Dr. D'Armanico (I think I mispelled his name) but he does the Eat Right for Your Blood Type books and has some really yummy recipies!

Good luck! and keep up the great work at being a healthy mommy!

pediatricians recommend starting with Rice Cereal. I think because it is gluten free. I also recently got a recommendation from the pediatrician to avoid gluten until 10 months, this seems to be a fairly new thing as I wasn't advised to do this with my now 2 year old. However, he did mention that this is a TOUGH thing to do so if it doesn't work out it wasn't that big of a deal. I think they are just running into more kids these days allergic to wheat so they are doing what they can to prevent that.

Hi J.,

Be careful not to start solids too soon. Baby's digestive systems aren't completely developed usually until 6 months and if you start sooner you can cause problems. Then, start with the most gentle, easiest to digest, cereal, which is probably rice.


Good for you! We tried barley with our baby and she ended up at the doctor due to blood in her stool and vomiting. Maybe not your typical reaction but it's just hard on the tummy!

Start with single grain cereals. Always start with Rice first...there is a lower likelihood of allergy to this grain type as opposed to the others. If after a couple weeks you notice she's fine, with no allergic reaction, then you can try one of the other single grains and do the same for a couple weeks. Always start each new food by itself and try it for at least 5 days before starting something new.

I was advised to go with rice cereal at about 6 months for but soon after at about 7 months I switched it up to oatmeal. There is an EXCELLENT BOOK called "Super Baby Food" which is designed for parents who are making their own food but is just as useful for those who are not. It lists every fruit and vegetable imaginable, describes its value, describes how to pick a ripe one and then tells you which month it is appropriate to introduce it to your baby and why.

I made food for awhile but continued to use the book after I stopped just to know when to try new things with my kids. Very helpful!

You should not start solids until 6 months or later as per the American Academy of Pediatrics. Be patient, and it may help her avoid getting allergies.

That being said, after 3 kids, I learned that each one can start solids at different times, and it doesn't need to be cereal. We did rice cereal with two of them, but I think grains are to be given slowly, one at time, to see if there are any reactions.

Avocado is the perfect first food. No cooking, just mash it up. Same with bananas. You could skip over cereal all together and probably be better off (plus it's much cheaper) if you just wait and feed her real food and skip over baby food all together. You can puree or chop up your cooked veggies. Grains are not as necessary at this time. Is she breastfeeding? If so, you could mix any of the foods with it to help her become familiar with the taste.

I did not mean to go off topic a bit...I hope this helped a little!

Barley is more of a older baby cereal its a harder cereal to digest. Baby tummies are sensitive Rice cereal is a better option to start as it has few alleric reactions. This especially if anyone in the imediate family has any food allergies. Feed her cereal for about 2 weeks then introduce her to fruits and vegetables 1 new fruit or vegtable every 5 days this way if there is an allergy its easy to tell what it is. If you little one is real hungry feed a couple ounces of formula or breastmilk before the solids this way they aren't as hungry and fussy. formula or bm will still be her main nutrition till 1 yr so dont be to hard on yourself if she doesnt eat much to start. We also started introducing solids at lunch and dinner then worked to breakfeast. Be prepared for messes lol solids can be a joy or a nitemare depending on baby. Also cereals can constipate your little one a bit its just the iron and such and introduction to solids dont worry to much about it unless it last for more than a couple days certain baby foods like high fiber veggies or prunes will counter that.

little miss has a feeding schedule of
small bottle 7 am
solids 8 am
lunch solids noon or 1pm this depends on how her naps went
dinner solids 4 or 5 pm this depends on what time lunch was
bottle before bed

Also check out Gerber.com they have great info on feeding about what to feed, how much, how often and alot of other info

I know you've already gotten your answers and set about a course of action, but I thought I'd reply for the sake of people who maybe have searched this topic.

I agree completely most babies do better on the rice cereal to start, since it's so easy to digest. My son -hated- it though. He had a few digestion issues to begin with, and while most children don't have issue with rice cereal, it exacerbated his problems. We found the barley worked better for him, and he loved to eat it. I suppose to some degree it really does just depend on your baby.

My pediatrician always suggests rice cereal first. It's easier on their tummies and there is less chance of an allergic reaction. Ave the other cereals until after she is used to some other foods. I also suggest giving her another month before you start so her tummy is more mature. There will be a chance of constipation at first so be sure she is well hydrated.

Rice is about the best one to start babies on as the others sometimes can cause allergies. I started all mine on rice because I have allergies to barley and oats and did not want to take a change in starting up a allergy early. I actually mixed the cereal with milk from nursing, but if you use formula use that. Mix it as directed on the package. With the microwave it is easy to get it the right temperature. I would also ask the pediatrician when to start...I started mine about 7 months.
Enjoy your little angel.

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