When to Start Cereal for Infant

Updated on August 27, 2008
J.S. asks from Hillsdale, IL
30 answers

Hi moms - I was just wondering what age is to early to start feeding cereal to a baby. I am asking for another mom - I started feeding my oldest cereal at 3 months and my other son will be 3 months next week and I am planning on starting him them. My friends son is 1 1/2 months old.
Thanks for all your help :)

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So What Happened?

Thanks to all you moms for the great advice. I passed it on to my friend and she is waiting to start cereal for awhile. As for me - my son who will be 3 months next week had a Dr's appointment and I asked the Dr about cereal - and he said I could start as long as I mashed up some bran flakes to put with it. He said that the infant cereal has no fiber and since we are having constipation issues - this will help. I tired out first bit last night and he loved it! Before starting cereal my son was starting to eat about 8 - 6oz bottles of milk a day!

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T.

answers from Minneapolis on

As a mother to 4 children, and a licensed daycare provider who deals with children daily, I suggest not starting cereal until 6 months of age. This is what my pediatrition told me, what I have learned through my nutrition classes, and on-going Early childhood education. Children's digestive tracts are not fully developed to digest solids until 6 months, and they have a lot less likely-hood of developing a food alergy later on in life if you wait. Prior to 6 months, most children do not have the capability to move cereal around in their mouths to "learn" to eat solids, no matter how thin you make it. And I am of the oppinion NOT to add it to formula/breast milk bottles at night just to make them sleep longer for the above reasons. Hope this info helps and you decide to wait.

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D.M.

answers from Duluth on

I started when the Dr said or when they were not getting full from the milk.(which ever came first)..Varies with each child..

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R.B.

answers from Duluth on

I was at the doctor with my 10 week old (big baby boy who weighs 13 pounds, 13 ounces and is 24 inches long) yesterday and the doctor said to give him cereal when he is eating 6 ounces or more at a single feeding. Hope this helps!

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B.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

In response to the 'depends on the size/large baby' posts...

Both my kids were 'off the charts' large, they were both 20+lbs by 4mos old, and neither of them had anything but breastmilk until they were over 6mos old. They nursed frequently but that was all thier body needed.

Have her ask her pediatrician, but there is really no reason for a child under the minimum of 4mos to have any sort of solids.

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E.I.

answers from Duluth on

the new recommendations is NOT to feed ANY solids before 4 months old, and waiting until after 6 months is also recommended. sometimes kids are ready sooner, but if theres any spitting out of the food regularly, baby isnt ready. in my mind, (according to the rules of pediatritians) is to wait until baby is able to sit up on their own, without support.

www.askdrsears.com has fantastic information and specific signs of solid food readiness. :D good luck

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J.H.

answers from Minneapolis on

Have her talk to her pediatrician. It varies by who you see but most say between 4-6 months. Before 4 months there's really no need to start cereal and their digestive tracts are not fully ready for it until closer to 6 months. I started my daughter on cereal around 4 1/2 months but didn't start other solids until around 5 1/2 to 6 months. 1 1/2 months is definitely too early!!!

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C.R.

answers from Minneapolis on

According to the American Pediatric Association and the World Health Organization, babies SHOULD NOT be started on solids before 4 months, and it is preferable to wait until 6 months to protect your child from developing allergies to foods. Babies digestive systems take a little while to develop. This is why they can be so fussy for the first 3-4 months. Their little bodies have never had to digest anything before being born and it takes time for them to get used to all the sensations of digestion. Adding in cereal too soon can cause difficulties for your child and it's been proven that it has no effect on a babies ability to sleep longer or on the amount of formula or breastmilk they take. Even when you do add in solids, the majority of your child's nutrition should come from formula or milk, until your child reaches a year old. Solids aren't actually "necessary" until your baby reaches a year.

Regardless of what anyone says on here though, I would bring this up with your pediatrician at your baby's next well-baby visit (should have one at 3 months).

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L.B.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi J.. How's your 2 year old doing? If he's healthy and everything is going well with him and you started him out with cereal at 3 months then go right ahead and do it with this baby. You are the mom! You know what's best for your child. I'm a worrier too. Don't worry so much. You are a great mother! The fact that you are showing concern like this. Keep it up!

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K.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

It seems like for quite a while now most "experts" recommend between 4-6 months. One of the reasons is developmental...typically the ability to handle really eating the food physically starts around then. I've totally seen how different babies vary in this. Some are pretty ineffective until later, while others learn to gobble it down quickly:) Personally, if my baby keeps pushing out his/her tongue and making a complete mess, with little improvement, I would try again later.

The bigger concern is the allergy issue. The thought now is to give their immune system longer to develop, hopefully preventing allergies to foods down the road. The earlier you expose them, the higher the risk. That's why you start with the rice cereal...easily digestable and not a common allergen.

My son was at the top of the charts and sometimes off them from 1 month until now, at 3. His doctor had us start cereal after 4 months. She in no way was concerned about how much formula he was getting, and he was a PIG! I have NEVER heard that a baby can get too much milk or formula. It did not make him last longer between feedings, or sleep better. In fact, it took quite a while for it to become a major food source, rather than just some extra. Anyway, he is a healthy, thriving young man, so our doctor's guidance proved perfect. We did just start peanuts and nuts with him due to peanut allergies, and other food allergies in the family. So far we've seen no problems. A friend with similar family history exposed her son to Walnuts at just over 2 and he did have an allergic reaction to them. Pretty scarey!

Use your instincts along with the doctor's input. Everything these days seems over the top...some of it is just the current thinking, but some of it really has been researched and proven. Good luck!

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L.D.

answers from Minneapolis on

1 1/2 months old is definetly too young and 3 months old is also too young. The current recommondation is waiting until 5-6 months of age with the emphasis on 6 months. Although, many doctors still give the go ahead at 4 months.

Starting solids too soon can set your child up for food allergies and other digestive problems. Babies are not born with the ability to digest these foods. They actually have small holes in the digestive track that allows these foods to be absorbed without being digested.

There has been a lot of research showing the 6 months is the optimal time to start solids. These babies have a lower risk for food allergies. With allergies more prevalent then ever, I think it is important advice.

When you start cereal your baby should be able to sit unsupported (or with very little help). Have good head control. Shows an interest eating solids. Be able to take the food from the spoon; meaning they open their mouth and close their lips over the spoon. No scrapping the food off the top of their open mouth. Under no sercumstances should the baby receive cereal in the bottle, without the doctor's explicet directions.

Cereal does not help baby's sleep through the night. That is a MYTH. It can however make babies constipated.

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L.Y.

answers from Wausau on

Hi Jolene,
I wouldn't give anything but breastmilk/formula to the 1 1/2 month old. And definately consult his mom. I started my son on cereal once a day at 6 months. Until that point he was exclusively breastfed. When my daughter was 5 1/2 months I felt I had to allow her to have some cereal midday because I ended up going back to my sub teaching position a week early (teacher quit on Friday-school started on MOnday!). With both we waited until towards the end of six months to introduce veggies and fruits. Hope this helps.

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J.Y.

answers from Minneapolis on

I was told 4-6 months is the best time to begin feeding cereals. We started our son at 6 months and that worked great for us.

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M.G.

answers from Milwaukee on

We were told by our pediatrician to wait until 6 months. 4 to 6 months was the norm when my 4 year old was that age and we started him at 4 months, but now they are saying to wait till 6. This is especially true if there is a family of history of food allergies, which there is in ours, ds Dylan is allergic to milk, eggs, wheat, soy and nuts. Really hoping to avoid food allergies in my daughter. We will start her on cereal this coming weekend at just one week shy of 6 months.

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C.C.

answers from Cedar Rapids on

My 6yr old started at 1 month, my 3yr old started at 2 months, and my 1 year old started at 2 1/2 months. It all depends on the child. If your friend's baby is still really hungry and seems to always need a bottle, then it is probably time to start him on cereal. Really all the cereal is, is to help teach how to start eating off a spoon, and to help fill the belly a little more!! Your friend's baby will be fine starting now..

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L.M.

answers from Green Bay on

"The recommendations vary, but I have never heard anyone say younger than 4 months."

Really? Because my sister's pediatrician just told her to start her son on cereal at around 3 months. It depends on the baby. Her son was nearly 20# at 3 months, and was taking in WAY too much formula.

Too much liquid is bad for a baby and can cause excessive water retention. Cereal earlier than 4 months is pretty darn common for children who are "off the charts" in height/weight.

I hear a lot of the "digestive tract isn't ready" but I've never seen evidence to back it up, and the fact that pediatricians will advise cereal earlier than 4 months suggests says that this line is likely meant to manipulate mothers into doing what's "recommended" rather than what's best for their baby.

Both my sons were eating cereal before 3 months. Both continued to grow very well, and both reduced their intake of liquid, which was very important at the time because they were taking in 40-45 oz a day; much more than an infant of 3 months should take in.

Ask your pediatrician for advice, but do not abdicate the decision making power to them. Given that my pediatrician told me my son couldn't be teething at 4 months, and 2 days after that he popped out 2 teeth, my faith in mother's instinct as once again been reinforced.

That same pediatrician, btw, just told me not to buy any more baby food, that my son should be eating table food exclusively. He's 6.5 months old.

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M.F.

answers from St. Cloud on

If you are asking about baby cereal, I had to start mixing cereal with my son's bottle of formula at about 1 month, as he just could not get enough to hold him through for the four hours. My daughter started her little girl at approximately 2-2 1/2 months. As for regular breakfast cereal, most of the people I know have started giving cheerios to their baby's at about 6 months, dry and as a snack for teething. It really depends on when the baby starts teething. At 8 months my grand-daughter loves her dry cheerios. Once all the teeth are there and they are swallowing good without choking, milked down cereal in a bowl is good.

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D.W.

answers from Milwaukee on

hi my oldest son who is 14, started at 1 month, my 2nd child was around 4 months, and he is 9. and my girl i started around 4 months also, she is 5. it all depends on how hungry they are. that is what i think and alot of my aunts. and alot of other people i have talked to about this before. if the baby is eating more then just try and give the baby alittle bit.

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V.G.

answers from Minneapolis on

The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn't recommend starting solids until 6 mos, and neither does La Leche League. I'd tell her to wait at least until then, my kids have never had cereal we just went straight to food (but they are breastfed).

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A.P.

answers from Omaha on

well I was told 4-6 months and no fruits and things until after 6 months at least because their digestive system was still forming until then. I think at 1 1/2 the kid is way over due

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T.P.

answers from La Crosse on

Most doctor recommend between 4 and 6 months, however, I started my daughtet at 3 months because sh ewouldn't take a bottle, and the WIC consultants told me to start my son on cereal at 3 1/2 months because they were concerend about him not getting enough iron, so I guess it is whenever you child is ready, my son is 4 months now and he won't eat much of it, but I still give it to him and he seems to not have any major reactions.

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C.K.

answers from Minneapolis on

The recommendations vary, but I have never heard anyone say younger than 4 months. My Pediatric NP said between 4-6 months.

I started my son on cereal in his 4th month, and it went well for us right off the bat. He was "ready"--ate readily without gagging, etc., and no digestive problems.

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K.L.

answers from Madison on

The APA recommends not starting solids (including cereals) until 6 months.

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A.D.

answers from Minneapolis on

My pediatrician recommended I start my daughter at 5 months.

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D.R.

answers from Minneapolis on

every child is differnt, but as a mom to a child with sever food allergies, I know how important it is to wait till the child is ready to introduce foods and to go slow... Even though we waited till the recomended 6 months, I remember when we were introducing foods actually saying... oh, who ever heard of someone being alergic to rice, or bananas, or apples, or beans, etc... well I had a child who's little body couldnt tolerate any of those and more food protines till he was about 2. definatly talk to a doc before introducing any foods before 6 months to ensure that it is really needed. it gives the baby's body a chance to build up it's imune system.

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M.N.

answers from Green Bay on

Hi,
All a baby really needs is breastmilk or formula for the best part of a their first year. I did not start either of my children on cereal mixed with breastmilk until they were six months. I've read that waiting until six months of age can help avoid food allergies in the future... However, if you feel comfortable starting at three months it is your choice and your child... It might work for you:-) Good luck!

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S.K.

answers from Omaha on

Things have changed so much. My oldest is 18 EVERYONE started cereal at 3 months back then. Now it is recommended at 6 months. My 16 year old's Doctor said it best, I think. "Every child is different. A big baby will need food before a smaller one. Once a baby drinks 32 oz of formula a day it is time to give them cereal." That has always made sense to me. Some kids NEED that food early while others don't.

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L.A.

answers from Lincoln on

Some of this may depend on whether or not the 1 1/2 month old is breastfed or not. In general though, a baby DOES NOT NEED ANYTHING other than breastmilk/formula through the first 6 months. It is not, however, a bad idea to introduce the idea around 5 months to see how it goes. Then if it doesn't work, wait a few weeks and try again. By 6 months, he/she should be ready to go. This information comes mostly from breastfeeding books. However, as I said, in general, it's understood that solids aren't necessary until 6 months. Most pediatricians should tell you the same thing.

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C.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hello! My son is only 5 weeks old, but we have had to start him on cereal because formula does not seem to be filling him. I feed him about 1 tbs. of cereal mixed with enough formula to make it spoonable but not too thick, twice a day after his bottle and this has worked well. He sleeps now for 3+ hours. He was [email protected]____.com formula every 1-2 hours. My mother in law said that my husband was the same way as an infant. I hope this helps!

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J.F.

answers from Minneapolis on

At my daughter's 2 month check-up her Ped. said we should probably start cereal around 4 months. At the 4 month check-up her Ped. weighed my daughter who was at the 94% for weight and suggested holding off on solids until 6 months of age. It really depends on the child and his/her growth pattern. As others have mentioned, I have heard/read same information and suggest talking to the pediatrician. Good luck!

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