32 answers

When to Introduce Rice Cereal?

my son just turned 4 months old on the 13th and at his check up the doc said it was ok to start solids (like rice cereal)now..but doesnt that seem early? I primarily breadtfeed but he does get a bottle now and then of pumped breastmilk or formula when I'm at work. He recently increased how much he eats to 5 to 6 oz every 3 or 4 hours and seems satisfied with that. He even sleeps for as much as 8 hours a night without waking up to eat. His weight is fine in the 50%. He is showing some interest in what we are eating but he wants to put everything in his mouth anyway, he has pretty good head control but wouldnt be able to sit in a highchair yet. He just seems so little to be spoon feeding him now. When did you guys start giving your kids solids? Is 6 oz alot for him to be eating in one feeding at this age?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Some docs recommend rice cerial at 4 months expecially with breastfed babies for the iron, but if you feel it is too young wait until 6 months. Most experts are saying its better to wait. They are now associating some food allergies with starting solids too early. I started my daughter at about 4 1/2 months because she seemed ready to me, and we have no food allergies in the family, but she didn't really get in to it until she was about 6 months.

1 mom found this helpful

I would consider waiting a little longer. You mentioned that you don't think he would be able to sit in a highchair. I think this is one of the "signs" you are supposed to look for before starting cereal. My two older boys did not start cereal until close to six months. Also 6oz. is not too much for one feeding at this time. My youngest, who was also born this past december takes 6oz. regulary.

1 mom found this helpful

I actually started giving my son a very minimal amount of rice cereal at 6wks before going to sleep at night.
This is a bit early, but my son has a blood sugar problem (not diabetic), so I mixed it with his night time bottle.
To start I mixed it like 20% rice cereal to 80% formula. He calmed down at night especially, and I waited until they (I have twins) were 4-5mos when I actually started feeding them breakfast rice cereal in the mornings by spoon full.
Good luck.

More Answers

"Iron supplements
Breast milk contains much less iron than formulas, especially the iron enriched formulas. Actually, this seems to give the baby extra protection against infection, as many bacteria require iron in order to multiply. The iron in breast milk is very well utilized by the baby (about 50 percent is absorbed) while being unavailable to bacteria, and the breastfed full-term baby does not need any additional iron before about six months of age. However, the introduction of iron-containing foods should not be delayed much beyond six months of age.

Adding solid foods
Breastfed babies normally do not require solid foods before six months of age. Indeed, many do not require solid foods until nine months or more of age, if we can judge by their weight gain and iron status. However, there are some babies who will have great difficulty learning to accept solid food if not started before seven to nine months of age.

Because the six-month-old baby will also soon need to have an additional source of iron, it is generally recommended and convenient that solids be introduced around six months of age. Some babies show great interest in grabbing food off your plate by five months, and there is no reason not to allow them to start taking the food and playing with it and putting it in their mouths and eating it.

It has been the habit of physicians to suggest that babies be started first on cereals and then other foods be added. However, the six-month-old is far different from the four-month-old. Many six-month-old babies do not seem to like cereal if it is introduced at this time. Do not push the baby to take it, but offer other foods and perhaps try again when your baby is a little older. But if he refuses, do not worry he will be missing something. There is nothing magic about cereal, and babies do fine without it. Anyhow, your baby may soon be eating bread. The easiest way for the baby to get additional iron is by his eating meat.

There is no good reason why a baby needs to eat or be introduced to only one food per week or why vegetables should be started before fruits. Anyone worried about the sweetness of fruit has not tasted breast milk. The six-month-old can be given almost anything off his parents’ plates that can be mashed with a fork.

Far fewer feeding problems will occur if a relaxed approach to feeding is taken."

I hope you will find it helpful. I copied it from http://www.naturalfamilyonline.com/go/index.php/268/suppl...

1 mom found this helpful

I started my son on cereal at about 4 months, because he was constantly hungry. (He has no allergies now at 3.5). If you only mix a little into the breastmilk, so it's kind of a watery texture, it'll still be easy for him to take. My son couldn't sit up (which is suppose to be one of the "signs" you have to start feeding them) but he was always hungry, so we tried it and it worked for him. (I used his vibrator chair to feed him, and sometimes his car seat, so he was sitting up at an angle and it wasn't akward for me to feed him) With my daughter, she wouldn't touch cereal at all, and didn't seem to need any solids until she was about 6 months old. Each child is different. You can try it if you are wanting to, or you can wait if you think it's too early. It's really all about what you want to do for him and what YOU think he needs.

1 mom found this helpful

I must say that I've heard this same question from so many mothers. I had my Pediatrician tell me the same thing. I was thankful that I had support through la leche league website and other informative websites prior to my Pedis opinion/comment. I just gave birth on Monday to my baby girl. I also have a 3 year old and a 22 month old (boys).
It was with my first born that I was told by our pedi to start solids @ 4 months...needless to say I EXCLUSIVELY breastfed until my first born was a year old and he was so fat and plump, you'd swear I was holding cream in my breast:-) My 2nd I started introducing solids @ 8 months, because he was showing sooo much interest in OUR food. My personal opinion is that 4 months is way too early, especially if you are breastfeeding and the baby seems to be gaining weight just fine and is overall in good health. If you havent already, visit the website of La Leche League, they are so supportive of doing exclusive breastfeeding and offer so much info and advice on the topic. I hope this helps. Good luck in what ever you decide. I'm sure either way baby will be just fine. Also remember every child is so different and to always go with your heart and gut (its usually correct). Your baby will usually give cues on what is going on.....its just trying to decipher those cues...LOL.....The journeys of motherhood.....gotta love it! Good luck!
C. Johnson

1 mom found this helpful

you said he eats 5 or 6 oz by choice right, he's not stuffing himself, babies know when they are full and they will stop eating, its not too early to start cereal, because they recommend starting jar food around 6 months. the cereal gets their digestive system ready for more solid food. with my kids, since they weren't ready for a highchair at that age either, i actually sat them in their carseat on the couch to feed them until they could sit up. If he is showing interest in your plate, then he's ready. they can also start some jar foods now like applesauce or pears, stuff thats super easy to digest, i always liked to mix it with the cereal because my kids wouldnt eat it plain.

1 mom found this helpful

arg!!!! I hate doctors who suggest cereal so early. If he has no interest in the cereal and can't even sit up by himself for long enough to be fed, DON'T FEED HIM SOLIDS!!!

When my daughter turned 1, her ped told me that she no longer would get any nutrients from my breast milk. I looked at her and wondered...OK...all of a sudden my breast milk doesn't matter??? I started to give my daughter solids at 6 months (mostly frozen food in a safety feeder or organic brown rice cereal made with breast milk) and she really didn't show much interest beyond grabbing the spoon and painting herself with it. She had minimal solid foods until she was aprox 18 months old and is healthier than all of the kids in her preschool class right now.

So...after all of that, continue to pump, nurse him as often as you can, wait until he is 6 mos to introduce solids to him, and just take it as he dictates. Some kids will be totallyb ready for solids and let you know, others won't, and you will know. Just let your baby lead you and relax!

1 mom found this helpful

Some docs recommend rice cerial at 4 months expecially with breastfed babies for the iron, but if you feel it is too young wait until 6 months. Most experts are saying its better to wait. They are now associating some food allergies with starting solids too early. I started my daughter at about 4 1/2 months because she seemed ready to me, and we have no food allergies in the family, but she didn't really get in to it until she was about 6 months.

1 mom found this helpful

I would (and did) wait until I was ready to give my son ( now 1 yr) solids. 4 mo is early and they don't need it...The old school believed that if you gave them cereal they would sleep longer. I have never found that to be true... I actually gave it to him at 9 months and caught lots of flack from clients that thought he NEEDED "Real food" I am still nursing morning and night because I love it. The bonding and closeness is so much fun and it goes away so fast.... I have a 16 year old and I actually waited a year before I gave her any solids...I was a real rebel back than...heehee Follow you instincts. If Sawyer is gaining and seems happy....wait. The diapers are so much better pre-food :)
Enjoy, you will turn around and he will be running circles around you! G.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K.. First off let me just say if you don't think he is ready then don't do it, you do what you think is best. With that being said I started my son on rice cereal at 4 months. But I didn't give it to him as a meal. I would just give him a little bit maybe a couple spoon fulls once or twice a day say about half way between his feedings. What it really helped with was him figuring out how to move the food from the front to the back of his mouth instead of him pushing it back out. Now he is at six months and eating like a pro. I also found that when I started feeding him the rice that he got a little constipated but if you add just a little pear juice or the Gerber 1st foods pears to the rice that everything flows just fine. And yes pears are fine, doctors recomend pear juice for constipation rather than over the counter drugs and let me tell you it works wonders. My little guy was taking 6oz at 4 months its not too much. But does your little guy spit up alot? Thats a good way to tell. If he is spitting up alot after the feeding then reduce it by an oz or 2 but you may have to feed him more often than every four hours. He will let you know. Not every baby is the same. Follow your instincts, even though you are a first time mommy like myself they will never steer you wrong. You know your baby better than anybody else. :) I hope what I have said helps in some way. Goodluck!

1 mom found this helpful

Did your doc say to feed him rice cereal? Or just that if you wanted to you could? I think we tried this at 3 months, and it was pretty messy. He had good head control, but our highchair adjusted so that he could be reclined slightly instead of slumping forward. I thought it was fun to try feeding him from a spoon, just remember to mix it kind of runny, and expect him to push it out with his tongue first instead of taking it in. I guess I'm trying to say go ahead, but don't do it when you're tired or when baby is hungry. That way, neither of you is frustrated, and it could be a fun experience. I feel like it's good to teach them these things little by little so they get used to change.

1 mom found this helpful

My son turned 4 months on 4/1. Our doctor said anytime between 4 and 6 months is ok to start rice cereal, but she also said that as long as he is doing fine with breastmilk only, it's probably a better idea to wait until 6 months to start cereal, because it can help prevent food allergies in the future. So, we're probably going to wait until closer to 6 months.

1 mom found this helpful

This sounds about right to me. My daughter was born in Feb, and I started rice cereal in June/July. (I remember it was summer). What I would do is put about 2 teaspoons of rice in a bowl and mix it with your breastmilk. Don't introduce more than one thing at a time, as babies can be allergic to some new foods. If he does ok on that for a couple of weeks (I'd feed him 2 times a day to start out, plus breastmilk) then you can introduce some applesauce or bananas to his cereal. Just make sure you only introduce one fruit at a time because if he is allergic to something and that has been the only new thing he has eaten, it will be easy to figure out. My kids were piggies and they ate pretty much anything. They weren't allergic to anything. Maybe in another month or so, you can try other things. Gerber makes some little rice puffs that are flavored like apple, etc. My kids loved them, and they pretty much melt in your mouth. This will help with coordination as well. :) I hope this helps. Good luck! And make sure to put bibs on him because they can make a huge mess starting out! LOL.

K.

1 mom found this helpful

They say average baby does not need to consume anything other then formula or breast milk until 6 months. I think it is okay to feed your baby rice cereal before that though. Use your own instinct. Every baby is different and if you think your baby is not ready wait. My baby is 5 months old and he has just started to eat a little bit of rice cereal usually only a couple spoon fulls a day. He loves it! My son eats 6 oz. at a time also. You would know if he is eating to much if he spits up A LOT after eating. If not then he is good to go. You should do what you think is best because you know your baby best!!

1 mom found this helpful

I would consider waiting a little longer. You mentioned that you don't think he would be able to sit in a highchair. I think this is one of the "signs" you are supposed to look for before starting cereal. My two older boys did not start cereal until close to six months. Also 6oz. is not too much for one feeding at this time. My youngest, who was also born this past december takes 6oz. regulary.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K.,

As long as his weight is fine - it seems he's getting all the nutrients he needs from breastmilk. Generally six months is when folks are given the green light to start solids. Starting solids early can lead to food allergies. Babies dont generally have the stomach enzymes to appropriately break down solid foods until around six months. You are right to question this. Six ounces is a perfectly fine amount to be eating in one sitting. Your breasts will accomodate your babies needs so there's no concern that you will not be able to produce enough to feed him.

Thank you for breastfeeding!

1 mom found this helpful

I started my daughter on rice cereal and fruit at 4 months, she is now 6 1/2 months and has moved into second stage foods. She really likes to eat and took to the food easily. She slept longer after having rice cereal and enjoys her food now. I don't think it is too early to start at 4 months if your dr says its alright and your son is ready. One thing I do reccomend though is not to use the bottle cereal feeders. I tried that and my daughter ate it so fast that she didn't realize she was full, it worked a lot better when she ate with a spoon because she knew when she was full. I also found out that if you make the cereal thicker and then give a bottle or breastfeed after the cereal it will help them sleep better and longer as well. I hope this helps you.

1 mom found this helpful

Seems like you are right on target. I started my son on cereal on Christmas day. He was almost 5 mos. He is in the 75th for height and weight so I thought that I would wait a little. You might find that feeding him in the begining is easier if you hold him and lean him back just a little. The first introduction to cereal is really runny anyway and you can just let it run off of the spoon into his mouth. Have your camera ready though. As far as the ounces go, sounds just like my son, Reeves. He is 8 mos now and still only eats 8 oz. Some days he will tank an 8 oz bottle and then later only eat 5 or 6 oz. The books say that when he is full he will stop eating. Good luck to you and enjoy! :)

1 mom found this helpful

If you son seems satisfied then he doesn't need the cereal until about 6 months

1 mom found this helpful

Hello! By introducing rice cereal you are mainly just getting him ready for the feedings to come. It wont hurt him in anyway and it helps for when he gets a little older. If you are not ready yet then wait a little longer. Either way it wont hurt anything. Babies don't actually need solids introduced until about 6 months so you have plenty of time to wait. We found with our kids that a little rice cereal before bedtime did help them sleep an extra hour or so at night. This helped alot with my oldest girl who used to wake almost hourly. It is all up to you. Trust your gut and only introduce what and when you are comfortable with. I do agree though, that when you decide to start, make sure you are well rested and he isn't REALLY hungry. The first few times are just practice for both of you and you shouldn't exspect he to become an eating genious over night!

-Y.

1 mom found this helpful

Let your son decide when he is ready...give him a little cereal and if he goes for it then he is ready. My son started on cereal when he was a little over 2 months old (formula was not keeping him happy) and my daughter didn't want it until she was 5 months old. Both of my kids are extremely healthy and in the 90% for both weight and height (they are perfectly propotioned, just big for their ages). Give it a go. Good luck!!

i started feeding mackenzie rice cereal right at 4 months - we have a high chair that has 3 reclining stages so at that age it was leaned back and we just tried a little cereal to see if she was ready - she enjoyed it a little at a time, and she liked being at the table with us. now she is 7 1/2 months and eats solids twice a day... so i would just say, try it out, see if he seems ready for it, if not wait a couple of weeks and try again... but everything i have read says anywhere from 4-6 months starting rice cereal is ok. we just started then cause she was sitting pretty well in the leaned position and she took to it easily. she is a breastfed baby - i still breastfeed 3-5 times daily, depending on how much solids she takes.... for me, she is always happier doing the solids right after a nap - it doesnt work too well when she is tired. good luck and have fun. :)

I would wait a little longer if he's not showing signings of not being satisfied. As the others said, start out with just a couple tablespoons and some breast milk. The other thing you can do is put a little in his bottle (rice cereal)and do it that way. I found that rice cereal dissolves, but the mixed doesn't.
Good Luck!

I actually started giving my son a very minimal amount of rice cereal at 6wks before going to sleep at night.
This is a bit early, but my son has a blood sugar problem (not diabetic), so I mixed it with his night time bottle.
To start I mixed it like 20% rice cereal to 80% formula. He calmed down at night especially, and I waited until they (I have twins) were 4-5mos when I actually started feeding them breakfast rice cereal in the mornings by spoon full.
Good luck.

Hi! My doctor says to start introducing solids at 4-6 months. My daughter is now 5 months, and she still isn't liking the solid foods so my doc said to wait 'til she's 6 months & try again then. :-)

my daughter is 4 months and eats 6-8 oz bottles of expressed milk every 3-4 hours, and sleeps from 7 pm until 8 am every night.... i am giving her cereal anyways, and my doctor didn't tell me to i just am, it is helping her have regular bowl movements which she never really had, she would have one a day if that from the day she was born and now she's having 2-3 a day! and I'm really glad because she would just cry and cry sometimes and then she would have a bowl movement and be fine and it was hard for me to see her in pain... i also gave my oldest daughter cereal at 4 months and it really helped the spitting up with the formula i was giving her, plus it's fun and they love it.

You know, you can start giving him the rice without it replacing a bottle fed meal. It is so fun when they start to eat but really all you would be doing it for now is to get him used to the idea of a spoon and solids. See how he reacts to one or 2 tastes of the stuff everyday. He will not need the nutrition from solid foods till he is 6 months old, so a full meal of the rice is not needed. He will spit most of it out anyway till he gets the hang of swallowing it down anyway. But seeing as it is not a necessity you do what makes you feel comfortable.

I haven't read all of the 29 posts but I want to say that there is a reason for introducing cereal first and then only one food per week at a time. It's related to food allergies. Some babies are born with allergies. Some babies may develop allergies as they grow. One of the reasons that they develop allergies is that a food was introduced to them before their system was able to digest it.

Being aware of food allergies is important. Our body at an early age is more apt to have a negative reaction to some classes of foods than others. That is why drs recommend the order in which we introduce foods and why we should introduce only one different food at a time. Also it is the reason that some doctors recommend not giving any solid food until 6 months. If we introduce solids too early there is a chance that the baby will become allergic to that food.

I'm aware of this because my granddaughter was allergic to milk protein. (not a lactose intolerance)She was drinking a milk based formula. She outgrew the allergy ie. her system developed enough to be able to digest milk. But if she had continued to drink milk she most likely would not have outgrown it. And giving her system a "break" from a known allergy allowed her system to continue to develop and adjust to other foods.

I don't think any of this has been proven. At least it hadn't been 20 years ago when I was dealing with my own food allergies. Following this advice is just a matter to be considered when deciding on introducing solids. I don't remember the suggested order but I do know that cereal is the easiest to digest. Meat is the most difficult to digest. Following this order allows the baby's system to adjust to those things that are easiest to digest and aids in determining if they have an allergy to that before introducing a food that is more difficult to digest.

hi well my doughter is 3 months old now and iom putting one tablespoon in her bottle is that bad?

It's not going to hurt you or your baby to start feeding him rice cereal now. My son is a month older than yours and we are breastfeeding also. We started to try the rice cereal at about 3 1/2 months old. At first he sat in the bouncy chair (it sat up far enough), then we did the same with the swing (keeping him buckled in and leaving the toy tray open so the seat can't swing back and forth so much). Now he sits in the highchair, I use a big towel around him in addition to the seat belt so he won't topple side to side as much. Just start out with 1 to 2 ounces of cereal made with water or breast milk, don't make it too thick, it should be about the consistancy of the first babyfoods, maybe a little runnier but not too much. And the little gerber spoons are just the size to start giving him little bites to get used to the idea. My son however liked the idea of getting the food but didn't care for the plain rice cereal so I mixed in just enough sweetpotaoes to give it more flavor, much better! When we went in to the 4 month check up our doctor asked if he was getting any baby food yet and I told him how it was going, that yes we already started, he agreed it was the right time! Hope this was helpful.

Hi K. my daughter is just about 8 months old. I started giving her rice cereal between 5 & 6 months. She could hold her head up better then to. I think 6oz is great every 3-4 hours. I love being a mom too. Have fun!!!!

B.

You can get a bottle cereal feeder. I don't remember what they are called. I used that for my daughter and it worked fine. It's a lot better than spoon feeding at that age. Try propping your little guy in the corner of the couch or hold him upright a little more than you would bottle feeding. Make sure you have either formula or breastmilk in a bottle to wash it down. Hope that helps.

A.

Don't go by what age other people started feeding their babies!
It doesn't have as much to do with age as it does for readiness and interest. "Generally" that happens between 5-7 months.When you first start feeding a baby it's not about them eating for the same reasons we do, it's just an introduction into the world of food, because it takes some getting use to. Sometimes just a couple of tries is all the first feedings are. There are some specific readiness factors to consider and you'll know he's ready when:
-He can sit up alone, or with support
-Use his neck muscles to hold his head up straight
-Mouths his fingers and toys
-Opens his mouth when he sees something coming
-Turns his head away if he doesn't want it
-Stay opened if he does want it
-Keep his tongue flat and low for the spoon to go in his mouth
-close lips over the spoon
-Scrape food of spoon with lips Keeps food in his mouth rather than squeezing it back out onto his chin.

If he seems interested you can try and see how he likes it... It's too early if he isn't ready yet and all children have different readiness times. What is the right time for one child doesn't make it so for yours. Remember to have fun with it! It's just a process of learning. Something new your baby can discover about the world he lives in. If he's not interested or not ready he'll let you know, he should be an active participant. If you aren't interested then wait. He's not missing out on anything if you put it off for a while . But it certainly won't hurt him if you two explore the option and approach it as discovery instead of "feeding time".

I started feeding my daughter at around 4 months old. When you first give it them it isn't very solid, mixed in with your breastmilk or forumula. My niece turned 4 months old a couple of weeks ago and started eating rice cereal.

Remember every baby goes at their own pace. If you think your son is unsatisfied if he is eating less than 6 oz then you're probably fine. Watch him when he's eating that much and look to see if he appears to be full or if he's eating just to eat. Also look at his stool. If he seems slightly constipated a lot then he may be eating too much.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.