When To Feed A Baby Cereal

When to feed a baby cereal. This article will tell when your baby is the the right age for introduction of cereal.

How do you tell if your baby is ready to be introduced to solids?

First, your child must be at least four to six months old according to the advice of most pediatricians. If you start too soon, several problems may occur. For one, a baby's digestive system is not yet mature enough to properly break down solid foods until they reach this stage. Other problems that may occur are allergic reactions, growth may slow due to lack of protein obtained from breast milk or an iron rich formula, they may gain too much weight too soon and will most likely drink less milk or iron-rich formula because they are too full.

Remember that every child develops differently. Your child may not be ready until they are a year old. This is perfectly natural and often recommended because a mother's breast milk or an iron rich formula provides a baby with the proper amount of nutrition during their first year of life. A child will not sleep better as a result of introducing cereal before bedtime, by the way. This is a myth and often why children are started on solids too soon.

Second, your child will begin showing subtle (or not so subtle, every child is different) signs. Some signs of readiness include sitting up without support, its weight has doubled since birth and shows interest in others eating (sometimes a lot of interest). More signs are they like to taste or sample, mimics chewing motion with their mouth and consumes thirty-two ounces of breast milk or iron rich formula daily while still showing signs of hunger.

NOTE: If your child's tongue has a reflux action thrusting food out, they are not ready for solids. This means they have not yet learned how to correctly move food from the front of their mouth to the back without gagging or choking.

Why do parents choose cereal as their baby's first solid food?

Cereal is used primarily to practice eating. It provides the necessary iron levels when mixed with breast milk or iron rich formula in order to meet nutritional needs for children aged six months and up. Prior to this stage, there is no real nutritional need. Rice cereal, oatmeal and barley prepared from boxed contents contain more nutrients than cereal prepared in store bought jars.

- What is the best cereal a parent can choose?

Statistics show American children have significantly low iron levels. To remedy this, the American Association of Pediatrics recommends starting with an iron rich rice cereal. This type of cereal is easily diluted, it is easy to digest and is the least likely to cause allergic reaction.

NOTE: Just because it can be diluted easily does not mean it is acceptable to use for bottle feedings. By using a bottle to feed your child cereal, you are causing a potential choking hazard and your are preventing the development of important motor skills. Not only is it important to consume cereal (at the right stage), it is also important to learn how.

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