Introducing Cereal to Your Baby
Despite what your mother or grandmother tells you, your baby will probably
not sleep through the night if you give him cereal before he is developmentally
ready. Introduce cereal when your baby is 4 to 6 months of age. Your baby should
be able to sit with support and hold his head up. He should also show a desire
for food by opening his mouth and leaning forward or turn his head away to show
he is full.
- Start with rice cereal as babies are least often allergic to it. You can
try oatmeal and barley later.
- Choose a time when you and your baby are well rested and comfortable.
- Feed a small amount of breast milk or formula before offering the cereal.
- Mix about one tablespoon cereal into a bowl and add about two tablespoons
breast milk or formula to the cereal. Mix well. Feed with a small spoon.
- Never put cereal into a bottle. The cereal can clog the nipple and cause
your baby to suck in a lot of air.
- Do not use a cereal feeder for cereal or baby food. The bottles encourage
a baby to eat too much solid food before they realize they are full.
- Offer cereal 1-2 times daily.
- Start with a very thin mixture of cereal and liquid. Gradually thicken it
as your baby learns to eat with a spoon.
Remember: Your baby should get most of his nourishment from your breast milk
or formula. Solid food at this age should be in small amounts about 1-2
tablespoons. Too much solid food will reduce a baby’s appetite for breast milk
or formula and can quickly result in an iron deficiency.
Karen Elliot, ElliottK@missouri.edu
Regional Specialist, Nutrition and Health Education
Jackson County, Missouri
University of Missouri Extension