Adding Extras to Infant Cereal

Updated on February 17, 2008
A.H. asks from El Paso, TX
17 answers

Okay I was just wondering why some people add fruits and juice to infant cereal? I have been reading some responses to some requests about rice cereal and younger babies. I have read things like It is bland, so I add juice or fruit to it or I add sugar or brown sugar to make it taste better.

So I really want to know why parents do this?

Because the baby is used to breast milk or formula and I know that those things don't taste great to us, but we have been eating all kinds of stuff. Babies have never tasted anything else, they don't know that this cereal tastes bland or is not sweet. To them the cereal tastes a lot like the formula or breast milk it is mixed with.

Now please don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be mean or anything and Thats great that if you added these things to the cereal that the baby ate it better, but at the same time when a baby is first given cereal, they are going to spit it out, make a mess, and it will seem that they don't like it. But in reality they don't hate it, they may just not be quite ready for it or you have to understand that they are trying to get a better grip on this new texture that they are being given.

Now after any of my babies have gone through all the first foods and most of the second. I will sometimes mix fruits or veggies in just to mix it up a bit for them, but in the beginning there is really no need to mix anything in the rice cereal.

Sorry but I just had to ask that question as I have read so many responses to moms that are just starting cereal saying to add all different sweet things in to it.

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So What Happened?

Thank You all so much for your responses. I guess with in the last few weeks I have seen it suggested so many times and then read the sugar response in another feeding request I just had to get it out. lol I completely understand the adding juice for the baby's benefit to help them poo, but I guess with just so many suggestions to start it right away before the baby gets the hang of the new texture, I just had to ask. Once again thank you all for being honest and telling why you chose to add or not add to the rice cereal. I do feel better now that I have asked and read the responses. lol Hubby was glad I finally asked, apparently conversations about baby cereal are just not his thing. LOL

Thank You!!!



Once again Thank You. Sorry if I came across wrong, I guess I should not have asked this question, but Like I said in my request I just feel that until the baby gets use to the new texture adding extras in my opinion is just not needed, Especially sugar.

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answers from Syracuse on

I don't know if anyone has told you this, but just so you know breastmilk is SWEET not bland! I didn't even give my daughter cereal first she had bananas (at 6 months,) then she didn't like the cereal so I mixed bananas into it.



answers from New York on

I tend to agree with what you're saying about it - babies have no idea what blandness is in food. Chances are, they're going to like something sweet, but why train them to want sugary things so early?

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answers from New York on

I agree! I add in fresh fruit puree sometimes just to vary the texture and taste so that my son learns to eat all sorts of things, but I cannot fathom why anyone would add sugar to their baby's food. Tsk Tsk Tsk!!! No wonder there is so much child obesity. Babies have enough of a sweet tooth, no need to encourage it.



answers from New York on

hi, not sure about anyone else (no time to read other responses this late) but when i 1st tried the cereals with my daughter she refused to eat ANY of them. then i started to add something to each of the cereals, and the rice and oatmeal were fine once i added 1/2 a container of the puree fruits...but the barley she still refused to eat. so since she refused to eat it until i added the fruit, i just assumed that she hated the taste of it plain! PLUS i made sure on my 1st try with mixing the fruit to only mix it in a little bit of the cereal, leaving the rest plain. she instantly kept in most of part with fruit, and EVERY spoonful of plain she would either spit it all out, or gag, then 'choke it out'. but what made me even think of adding the fruits were the packs of fruit flavored oatmeals that i eat, and figured if i can't stand the plain but will eat the fruit, and she loves her fruits, why not do the same (without added sugar) to her cereals...and it worked! plus, once i started that, she was getting more fruits then before, and before she wasn't getting enough. so it just helped with adding yet another recommended serving of fruits. hope this helped even a lil bit.



answers from New York on

You are soo right. Moms shouldn't be adding anything to the cereal. Baby food is just that baby's food. When you start adding things to the cereal you begin compromising the building of the immune system, developing teeth, developing brain, reflex and body functions in an infant who doesn't have the body system as we do. Sugar especially causes rotten teeth, that is why you don't send a child to bed with the bottle, and always give the child a sip of water or wipe the gums with a washcloth before going to bed. When a parent is adding things to cereal they are not looking at the long term affect causeing childhood diabetes, obesity, allergies etc.
A child's behavior is a learned one from a parent. Show health habits breed healthy children who become healthy adults.



answers from New York on

I only really add fruit to get my 6 mo old to eat them. She hasn't been to keen on any first fruit except prunes (go figure). She hates bananas. I don't know if she thinks their to sweet or what but after about 2 spoons she will not open her mouth. Believe it or not. So sometimes to get them in so I can get her to eat them and make sure she's not allergic I'll mix them in small quantities in her cereal.



answers from New York on

Hi A.-

I had actually added apple sauce to my daughters infant cereal when she was a baby, just a teaspoon for flavor and she would eat it all. Before that she would only eat a baby spoonful or so and be hungry not too long after. I'm pretty sure it's Gerber that makes infant cereal with fruit in it, Adrianna enjoyed that as well! I chose to do this to ensure my little one would eat her breakfast in the morning and it was my own decision. Everyone will choose to do what they feel is right for their child and should do what they feel comfortable doing. She's going to be a healthy 2 next month so I wouldn't say there was anything wrong with what I did. If people are unsure of what decision to make, you can always call your good ol' doctor and get their opnion. :-)

Have a nice day!



answers from Syracuse on

Hi A.! I don't think this is a bad question to ask at all! My hubby always talks about my baby's pacifier as that great plastic flavor she knows and loves...well, she doesn't know what plastic tastes like does she? I know I started adding flavors to my daughter's cereal mostly for me. I am a first time mom and was so excited when it was time to start feeding her more than just a bottle.

I think another reason to start adding flavor (fruits and juices) to cereal is to slowly begin to get the child used to different flavors without changing the texture too much. You are absolutely right, babies have no idea that thier cereal tastes awful.

One other reason I can think of is that the rice cereal especially has a lot of nutrients that the formula or breastmilk provides as well. I began mixing the cereal with the formula and then started adding fruit to the fomula-based cereal. This allows the child to continue to get all the nutrients he or she needs while still allowing for new flavors.

But, I will admit...I probably did it mainly for my own benefit. ;-)




answers from Syracuse on

Well, I can tell you why i didn't make cereal plain, my daughter suffered from HORRIBLE constipation when she was an infant, and her pediatric surgeon suggested making it with pear juice because she needed to eat but the effects of the pear juice in made it so it was not a constipationg food for her.

As for adding stuff solely for the flavor, I did sometimes feed it to her along with baby food fruits, but I also agree that adding sugars is ridiculous. While these mothers may think they are doing something good for their child it is not necessary.

And while we are on the kick of asking why moms they do the things they do, is anyone else sick and tired of posting a question on here then getting responses and messages from people trying to sell them something like Arbonne. I don't mean to be rude to the salesman, but come on, this is not the place, I get on here to get feedback from other mothers, not be be sold products. I'm sure the line is great, but I am personally sick of all the sales reps on here intruding into this space.



answers from New York on

It sounds like you have already come up with your own opinion about this. What are you asking, exactly? It seems you are wondering why parents might choose to add fruit or juice to cereal, but you answer your own question by stating that it is because they think it will make the food taste better. If you don't agree, that's fine, but I think that is why some parents do it.
Personally, I think it's a great way to start introducing your baby to new flavors. Once they master cereal, fruits and veggies follow right behind, so why not introduce some of those tastes when you make the switch to solids?



answers from Buffalo on

I have never heard of anyone adding sugar to their baby's cereal and I hope I never do. Thats just horrible! As for it tasting bad, you mentioned formula and breastmilk dont taste good to us. I agree about the formula...not only does it taste horrible but the smell is nauseating as well. But have you ever tasted breastmilk? Its good! Its sweet and the flavor changes from day to day so your baby has a wide variety of flavors and won't end up being so picky as they get older. I skipped the cereal all together. I think its just empty calories and has no nutritional value anyway. The main reason peds suggest this as a first food is because its generally a low allergen and because of its high iron content. But babies can only digest about 10% of the iron in iron fortified foods and it tends to constipate them. The iron in breastmilk is near 100% digestible and never constipates. I skip it and go right to pureed veggies which I steam myself. Much better for them than jarred foods, I think!



answers from Albany on


I am surprised by some of the posts I read on here myself. For the most part we all seem likeminded but then posts like you mention put a fire in my chest. Putting sugar in baby food?!?! I don't know what some parents are thinking. :|

When I feed my son, I give him some of his fruit or veggie and some cereal and then I might mix some of the baby food in the cereal but it's just to give him different tastes. He eats it all regardless. LOL




answers from New York on

The las thing you want to do is give your baby sugar. Sugar sets the stage for all kinds of health issues, not to mention a tendancy toward overweight. Fruit juices should be fresh squeezed or pressed or 100% juice with no additives. Your baby needs nutrients and minerals, not sugar. If you mix a little mineral treated water in the with juice and add that to the ceral you will be doing your baby a world of good and setting up the enviornment inside his/her little body for a healthy life. The minerals I use are available online at: I cannot say enough about this is so amazing. If you would like more details about my family and their health improvements I would be happy to share it with you. My email is: [email protected]
Good luck to you
D. k



answers from Rochester on

I agree with you 100%. Babies can't tell the differnce. What if the child has a food allergy? This could be a bigger problem. If you start mixing to many food items at the beginning it will be hard to pinpoint the problem. M.



answers from Albany on

Sugar? Why not give the kid a can of pepsi?!? I haven't read that here but I cannot fathom it. But then again I have read some very ridiculous things here I wish I had the guts like you to question.

Anyway, for me, when it was time to introduce a new food I would mix it with whatever the cereal du jour was. So after 5 days of just rice cereal I'd introduce apples, alone or mixed with rice. Then 5 more days I'd introduce sweet potatoes alone or mixed with the rice. Then oatmeal maybe mixed with whatever I had previously introduced. Then oatmeal & bananas. You get the point.

Rice cereal was the first food I used and it was probably the only cereal I gave them without a fruit or veggie. By the time I'd had introduced oatmeal & barley, they already had several fruit & veggies under their belt, so why not mix 'em?

I do not see anything wrong with that at all. Sugar - bad, fruit & veggies - good.



answers from New York on


I have 2 young boys, 5 and 3 but I still remember the excitement of being able to start some solid foods to the baby's diet!

One thing my pediatrician told us that I will never forget when I asked with my first "is it time to start juice?". He asked why did I want to add juice to his diet... and I said isn't that the next step? As a first time mom... I really had no idea. I just knew most moms bought juice boxes like crazy and offered it very young.

What he said was that juice is really just wasted calories. Why add sugar? If you want to add flavors go ahead and mix some of the stage 1 foods and you'll also be helping him/her get to the next texture stage... but juice is really just wasted calories and starts them on the road to bad eating habits.

I have to say I thought it made a lot of sense. And to this day my 5 year old drinks 100% water because that's what he was given since day one. Once at a party he asked to try soda, and to my excitement, he didn't like it! He even asked for a juice box once and he still prefers water.

I believe a big reason for the surge in child diabetes in this country is because of the diet most kids are exposed to. We have become a society of fast food, and too much sugar. They often drink to many calories in the day, sometimes their daily caloric requirement is fulfilled with their drinking. Add their food intake and is it no wonder a large majority of kids are overweight?

I hope that helps... I believe when you know better you do better... if you're unsure don't be afraid to call your pediatrician. They get paid enough - they can consult over the phone!

Good Luck!



answers from New York on

This actually is in response to Monica O who responded to your request.....

The reason many of us have gotten involved with Arbonne as a business is because of the help it provided us with our children by way of use of the products and the time it gives us to be with our families more!! I dont know any mom who wouldnt appreciate this and I feel I'm sharing useful information. Especially after MSNBC has just done a documentary about how our over the counter prducts such as Johnson and Johnson's, Aveeno, Etc have chemicals in them linked to reproductive problems in ur babies later on in life!! Arbonne's products are PROVEN safe and pure and can in NO WAY harm babies!!
I know you said u arent being rude but it sorta is. This truly has been life changing for me to be a part of this company . I have had great success both financially and timewise with Arbonne and have been using and loving these products. If anyone is not interested in the benefits of SAFE products, then by all means dont try it!! There is no obligation by what I'm saying. I plan to continue to share my experience just like the rest of you all do. Just wanted to share my WHY on the whole ARBONNE thing!!

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