34 answers

Graduating to Solids - 6 Months Old - Oatmeal vs Rice Cereal?

My daughter is ready to start eating solids and my ped suggested rice cereal to start. For some odd reason, I am anti-Gerber (don't ask why b/c I don't have a good reason). Although I am glad my ped and I agreed that babe is ready to eat, I'm thinking of starting her on oatmeal because its whole grain, more fiber, more nutritious. And I'd like to find an organic one. Just wanted to get other mom's thoughts on that as well.....

Also, ped mentioned that we can introduce new foods to her every four days to give her enough time to respond to the food and see if she does well with it. I want to make her food and not buy any from the store. If you made your babe's food, did you get a new blender? I feel some kind of way about making babe's food in the same blender I've used for a thousand other adult meals. Weird question, just thought I'd ask.....

What can I do next?

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oatmeal is better for you so if you are going to give cereal I would start with that. Rice cereal is really nothing but empty calories.

As far as the baby food goes, I have a Cuisinart Blender that has a food processor attachment and just used that. It worked beautifully. If you have a Food Processor that should do.

My son had both the oatmeal and the rice cereal. I used Gerber (they make an organic version of each), but I also used Earth's Best.

I also made all my son's baby food (besides the oatmeal). My SIL lent me a book for baby food making and I can't recall the name, but I also used a book from Amazon called Blender Baby Food (but be careful because in this book there are some foods listed that babies aren't allowed to have yet). I'll see if I can get the name of the other book from my SIL for you.

I didn't use a blender to make the meals because it ended up being too bulky and honestly difficult to clean all the time. I used a hand held blender and it worked Awesome! You can get them anywhere and I used the Cuisinart version which I still use for other things now that my son is older. Be aware that if you buy a white one it WILL get stained. I bought the stainless one so I didn't have to deal with that. When I made his food I bought ice cube trays (don't bother with the baby food trays they sell they don't hold enough food) and then labeled plastic baggies to put it in after they were frozen. If you have any questions just send me a message. It's great making baby food, I had a lot of fun with it.

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You don't need to start with cereal at all if you don't want to. We skipped cereal because the kids thought it was like wallpaper paste. we also didn't wait 4 days between new things and both kids turned out okay. I think you can use the same blender without a problem.

1 mom found this helpful

I never gave my kids cereal, I thought it was more important to develop a taste for veggies and fruits. Earth's Best organic makes baby food including cereal if you don't want to use gerber. Heb and babies r us has a good selection. Making your baby food is really easy too although I admit I rarely did it.

1 mom found this helpful

I wouldn't buy a new blender. If you are washing it well or putting it in the dishwasher it is clean, there is no reason you can't use it for baby food.
As far a oatmeal vs. rice cereal, I didn't start my son with either. He had bananas first, followed by sweet potatoes, squash, avocado, applesauce, etc. We did eventually give him oatmeal, which he was fine with, but I prefer to start with fruits and veggies. I would skip rice cereal too.
I made almost all my son's baby food, except the occasional jar I would buy if we were traveling. My advice is not to over think the baby food thing too much. You don't need special equipment or training. Just cook whatever until it is tender, and puree with some water until the consistency seems right.
Good luck!

Rice is the most digestable-and you can get it in organic-many Gerber foods are organic now. Get a "Beeba" (?) I believe that is the spelling. Begin with the mass produced food-for quality and purity, no sugar, no salt,etc. Much of the introduction procedure has to do with tolerance-what she is able to digest and not show an adverse reaction-and avoiding developing allergies. More fiber to an infant, with intestines like that of a tiny lamb-is not what you're going for here. Now is not the time to experiment. If you want to experiment-pick on someone your own size!

Grind your own oatmeal in the blender. We always just gave ours the food we were eating...avocado is a great first food, veggies, fruits, etc. Check out the book Super Baby Food.

J.

Rice cereal tends to be easier on their digestive systoms and is a much better started food for infants. Although whole grain is good, don't worry about that just yet. Most infants still get what they need from formula or breast milk. Cereal just supplements it at this point. Trust your doctor. Start with rice for a week or two and if you daughter has not problems, start oatmeal. Some babies prefer you slowly introduce the oatmeal because of the texture difference.

I would suggest not feeding rice cereal. It has pretty much no nutritional value. Oatmeal is very healthy and good for their tummies. Honestly, I never gave my son rice cereal, or oatmeal. I used a food processor for the baby food. I recommend checking out wholesomebabyfood.com. It's a great resource for all things baby food!

Making baby food, I used a Kitchenaid food chopper. It was very easy and quick to clean, chops food as small as you want (with steamed or soft foods it will end up creating a puree if you need) and is about 15 dollars. It is still useful in the kitchen now that my kids are toddlers. I use my blender a lot now for smoothies, but when they were small and only ate tiny servings I didn't use it. The amount of food they require isn't enough to reach the blender blades.

I started my DD on rice originally. (she is turning 6 months this month... her pedi. gave me the OK to start her on solids at 4 months because she was very interested in my food, and was already sitting up completely on her own, and all the usual signs of readiness. ...) She got slightly constipated off it... So I started giving her oatmeal more often instead. I usually give her 2-3 days of oatmeal, then one day of rice just to mix things up a bit. As for making baby food, my aunt got a small food processor and used it for her niece's baby. (her niece lives with her...) It worked perfect for them, because they only prepared 1-2 "meals" at a time. If you are going to be making the food in batches and freezing it, I would just use the blender you have. As long as you clean it properly, you don't have anything to worry about.

Earth's Best Organic makes a nice oatmeal that is widely available at local grocery stores/Target. Also, you might like the book Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron if you plan on making your own food. I really like the book for ideas of how to feed your baby, what healthy food is, kitchen safety, and good recipes for babies and toddlers (and adults).

Hi there - we started rice with my son and it immediately constipated him so then we switched to oatmeal and a little prune juice. So, with my daughter 2 years later I started her right with Oatmeal and things have been perfect - I feel the same way about Oatmeal too. We use Earth's Best Organic. As far as making your own food, I have aspired to do so but have never had the right equipment. Unfortunately normal blenders and food processors often do not grind the food finely enough for the baby to like it. I've wasted too much food that way! This time we are buying Gerber and Earth's Best organics - by the time you buy organic and cook it and grind it, I think it is OK to just buy it ... but if you do make it, get the right machine. Good luck! :)

as long as your child accepts the different textures (mine did!) then absolutely give her as much "real" food as you can. We made most of my son's food using our food processor (we didn't buy a new one)
There is a wonderful website for homemade baby food. http://wholesomebabyfood.com/ just be sure not to add any salt or sugar to baby's food, but other spices and herbs are good. We wanted our boys to have as much exposure to real food and tastes so they didn't get in to a totally "white" and bland diet that other kids have (only chicken nuggets, potatoes, macaroni & cheese, etc)
good luck and hold your ground about giving your baby what you KNOW is right, not what the marketing team at Gerber tells you!

When my daughter started cereal, I looked at the organic brands like Earth's Best and also compared Beech-Nut and Gerber nutrition-wise. I understand you're anti-Gerber, but I found that Gerber single-grain cereals were better nutritionally than Beech-Nut and Earth's Best. Beech-Nut contained much more sodium than Gerber, which I didn't think my baby needed, and Earth's Best was lacking in almost all major vitamins compared to Gerber. I don't want you to think I'm pushing a brand you already dislike, but you asked for opinions and I wanted to share what I had found.

As for making baby food, I tried my very expensive blender at first, but found it much easier to use my food processor instead. No need to buy any new equipment or books to make baby food. Just steam or bake what you can and boil the rest to cook the foods. Cook all meats thoroughly. Puree with a little of water for the right consistency. If you make big batches of everything and freeze it in ice-cube trays (each cube is about 1 oz.), then transfer it to ziplock baggies in the freezer, you'll have a nice supply and it will be easy to increase amounts or make blends when you need to. Make your baby a good variety of everything (veggies, fruits and meats) and check what the commercial baby food companies are making for ideas.
Good luck and have fun!

They suggest rice cereal because it has less allergens in it. My little guy didn't like it. The only way he would take it was in a bottle. I let him eat the baby oatmeal for a long time. He also LOVED the yo-baby yogurt with oatmeal in it.

Updated

They suggest rice cereal because it has less allergens in it. My little guy didn't like it. The only way he would take it was in a bottle. I let him eat the baby oatmeal for a long time. He also LOVED the yo-baby yogurt with oatmeal in it.

Instead of Gerber, look for Earth's Best, it's organic. They have rice cereal and also the baby oatmeal. I did start with the rice, because they say its easier on the baby's digestive system for first solids. Here in FL we find Earth's Best everywhere they have Gerber products, the grocery etc...and even Babies R Us. Blenders clean pretty easily, I wouldn't have reservations about using the same one, but if you want to get separate one to feel safer that there are no residues left from something your daughter may potentially be allergic to, then just get a new one for her. It's not a bad idea! Have fun feeding baby :)

Kudos to you for going organic AND deciding to make your own baby food!!! I did it for both my son's and am happy to say they are healthy boys who eat a variety of food their little friends do not.

Depending on what groceries you have around Earth's Best seems to be the easiest organic baby food to find and they have oatmeal and multi/whole grain products. I wouldn't stress a lot about buying a new blender. I just put mine through the dishwasher before i started making baby food. The Magic Bullet blender also works great especially for fruit purees so you don't have to scrap around the blades of a blender.

A great resource site i used (and still reference) is wholesomebabyfood.com. They have great meal and finger food ideas. Good luck!! And i hope you know you are doing a great thing for your little one!!!

I have heard oatmeal is best and plan on it for my little one (I've a 3 month old, 16 year old, 12 year old, they were on rice) and to grind it yourself. Rice is not nearly as healthy. Also plan to get a Beaba Babycook, have heard everyone raving about how much less work it is to use as it cooks and blends the food all in one.

We started my baby Max on Earth's Best organic rice cereal mixed with applesauce at 5 months. A month later, he loves to eat a variety of foods - most of which I prepare for him. We switched to oatmeal cereal, as it is not as constipating as the rice. It is really easy to prepare organic apples, pears, plums, sweet potatoes and/or winter squash for him. I cook them in a little filtered water, and puree with my "Happy Baby" food mill. They smell wonderful cooking, and I think that there are more nutrients available as they have not been subjected to the intense heat of the canning process. I can make a lot at one time and freeze containers for later use (those little jars were not really enough for his big boy appetite).

oatmeal is better for you so if you are going to give cereal I would start with that. Rice cereal is really nothing but empty calories.

Baby cereals tasted gross to me so we skipped them. And definitely no Gerber/Nestle products for us! Just real food. Soft and cut small. I think my kids started with oatmeal (real oatmeal) at 9 or 10 months. Don't remember. I buy in the bulk aisle at Whole Foods. Way better, less packaging, and cheaper. Our organic oats are $1.39/lb. Just go slow and don't force the issue. If she is ready for food, she'll eat, if she' s not don't stress about it. My DD ate like she'd been dying for food her whole life and my LO didn't really take to solids til well over a year. THey are all different.

Your pediatrician may not have complete nutritional knowledge. Most are not required to take many hrs. of that particular area.
Grains are not the easiest on the developing digestive system as first foods. It is more advisable to feed veggies and fruits first. Having grains first can and have led to tendency toward constipation in the future.
Think about coming off a fast, the first things you eat are veggies and fruits.
Organic foods do make sense and Gerber is far from that.
Hope this helps.
L.

My son got a terrible stomach ache when we tried rice cereal, I switched to oatmeal and he was fine. With my daughters I am starting with oatmeal. Cereal actually needn't be the first food. www.wholesomebabyfood.com is a great website. I am sure the blender you have is just fine. Your children will be eating off your plate in no time, no need to separate preparation instruments.

We've always used Earths Best organics. It can be found anywhere, but the best prices are at Babies R Us when its on sale. We even found it to be cheaper than ____@____.com resources for making baby food warn against using a blender because bacteria can hide & grow in the crevices of the blade mechanism. I would think if you completely disassemble & clean after EVERY batch of food this wouldn't be an issue. Regardless I used a food processor because I found it to be easier. I also stopped chopping nuts in that same processor for fear of cross contamination & allergies. I bought a cheap little nut chopper for that job. We found www.wholesomebabyfood.com to be a great resource, not only for recipes but also tables for introducing food @ the appropriate times. Think about starting veggies first. We worked our way through all those before starting any fruits (with the exception of avocado). This helps to train them to like a variety of flavors, not just sweet things.

As far as oatmeal goes, we used the earths best mixed with breast milk & had no issues. I know you mentioned fiber as one of the reasons why but be careful with fiber. Infants & children do not react the same as adults to fiber. Adults need fiber to stay regular but too much fiber in the little ones will cause constipation.

If you like organics, you'll love Stonyfield Farms Yo-baby yogurts. They also make a whole-milk plain variety available in the large tub. At 18 mos old now, this one is still my sons favorite! Also, I do recommend waiting the four days between introducing new foods. For our son, if he had a problem with something it often reared its ugly head around day two/three.

GOOD LUCK! Don't forget to get that camera ready! :D

As far as the baby food goes, I have a Cuisinart Blender that has a food processor attachment and just used that. It worked beautifully. If you have a Food Processor that should do.

for a baby newly eating... the "cereal" has to be SINGLE grain.

For us, we waited 1 month... to try a different food.

Bear in mind, later, "spinach" baby food or spinach period... cannot be given until AFTER 9 months... because it has a certain enzyme in it that a baby cannot process.

Bear in mind.... that a baby's digestive system is still developing. So, for the 1st year of life, "Solids" is only an introduction to "foods." NOT a main course, nor given 3 times a day.
For the 1st year of life, breastmilk/Formula is still a baby's PRIMARY source of nutrition.

I.,

I bought my son the Happy Baby Organic Oatmeal. They also have the rice cereal. My son loved the puffs too. You can find this brand in Wholefood market or even in Babiesrus. As far as making home baby food, it is the best thing ever. You can buy organic fruits and veggeis and make it yourself. It is healthy and you know what is in it. I felt just like you....I did not want to use my old blendr too. I bought new steamer and new blender :-)... first baby, I know. I bought a couple of baby first food cookbooks. I like Annabel Karmel's book. I bought mine online but I have seen it either at Babiesrus or at BuyBuy Baby. She also has a great website. I like www.weelicious.com too. It has so many ideas. I love making baby food and I am sure you will love it too. Good luck

i make all my son's food, and it is SO easy and really fun. i didn't make my daughter's baby food and we are noticing a huge cost difference. i am loving the process this time around!

we use a knock-off "magic bullet" type machine (like you see on the infomercials). it's basically a blender designed for small bathes, like smoothies and sauces. it's been absolutely perfect for making baby food...small to work with, etc. the blending is all done in one cup, so you don't have to clean around blades to get all the food out. AWESOME for easy clean-up. :) we got ours at target:

http://www.target.com/Bella-Cucina-Rocket-Blender-10029/d...

Try this for a more natural approach: http://askdrsears.com/html/3/T032000.asp

Best wishes!

My first had oatmeal in the bottle for reflux so both of mine started on oatmeal. Rice can cause constipation, which is an ongoing problem for my younger one, so she got oatmeal first too.

I disagree with some moms - I think the Gerber is fine because it has no added sugar, etc...but as far as grains go - I started my daughter on rice cereal as suggested as well, but she was constipated, so I asked my Ped. and she said to switch to oatmeal because it would be easier for her....so I did and it was fine. Although, she didn't really like either, so I ended up buying oatmeal with bananas mixed in and she liked it. I also did my own mixing with prunes and she liked that as well. My DD loves fruits and veggies as well. I used to be all about the rules of feeding baby certain things and not other things, but now I just go with the flow - she is a little person, not an alien! Also researchers have changed their opinions so many times - the AAP used to think eating certain allergens could cause allergies in babies (something I never subscribed to) but now they say that it will only affect them if they were prone to allergies in the first place, etc. My husband and I aren't allergic to anything, so I actually let my DD eat eggs, veggies, and stuff, but just stay away from nuts, sugars, and honey....and no meat just yet. But i have eased up a lot. She doesn't eat enough solids right now to make a huge difference, but no problems as of now.
I made my own rice cereal using a coffee grinder...and i also made butternut squash in a blender - I just baked the squash and pureed it - you can add water to smooth it out as well....and I also added some cinnamon - you can add nutmeg, etc too if you want to spice it up. My DD didn't really like it because my blender doesn't make it smooth enough, but it was fairly easy and she is REALLY picky, so maybe your DD would love it. it's easy to freeze as well, so you can have individual portions later. I had no issues blending it in my blender....just wash it first! :)

My son had both the oatmeal and the rice cereal. I used Gerber (they make an organic version of each), but I also used Earth's Best.

I also made all my son's baby food (besides the oatmeal). My SIL lent me a book for baby food making and I can't recall the name, but I also used a book from Amazon called Blender Baby Food (but be careful because in this book there are some foods listed that babies aren't allowed to have yet). I'll see if I can get the name of the other book from my SIL for you.

I didn't use a blender to make the meals because it ended up being too bulky and honestly difficult to clean all the time. I used a hand held blender and it worked Awesome! You can get them anywhere and I used the Cuisinart version which I still use for other things now that my son is older. Be aware that if you buy a white one it WILL get stained. I bought the stainless one so I didn't have to deal with that. When I made his food I bought ice cube trays (don't bother with the baby food trays they sell they don't hold enough food) and then labeled plastic baggies to put it in after they were frozen. If you have any questions just send me a message. It's great making baby food, I had a lot of fun with it.

I made my own baby food and did use the same blender as the family. The website that was my "baby food bible" is www.wholesomebabyfood.com. This is a AWESOME website and has a wealth of information!! I also used some of the Beech Nut brand of baby food. I liked the fact that it looked, smelled, and tasted more like real food and when compared to the Gerber brand, it didn't have as many additives.

I am not one that likes to cook and NEVER imaged making my own baby food. But, after making her first batch of food I was hooked!!

I was told to introduce rice followed by oatmeal. I believe it was because rice is easier to digest (yes, not very nutritional) and there is a low risk of allergy while kids are "learning" to eat.

Best of luck!

You don't really need a fancy blender, just mash after you cook it.

Here is the cook book used and it's great, even has recipes for biter biscuits and toddler foods:

http://www.amazon.com/Simply-Natural-Baby-Food-Delicious/...

Rice is usually first because it is easier to digest and it kind of weans the baby's digestive system into the oatmeal. You can always bulk it up with veggies or fruit, that's what I did.

"Rice is the most intestinal-friendly grain because it is gluten-free, low in protein, and high in carbohydrates. It has a nutritional profile more like a fruit than a grain. Mix the cereal to a soupy consistency and lessen the amount on milk or formula you add as baby gets better at eating"

from Dr. Sears:
http://askdrsears.com/html/3/T032000.asp

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