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Do babies really 'need' rice cereal when they start solids?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

When I eventually start my twins on solids instead of just formula, do they really NEED rice cereal at all? I mean, can I just give them vegetables and fruits (avocado, peach, sweet potato, banana, etc...)?

 

For some reason, it seems almost ludicrous to me to give them white carbs when I could just keep them on some formula and some fruits/veggies.

 

Any research done on this topic??

post #2 of 27

Absolutely not! Rice cereal especially is nutritionally useless. In fact, there is a pretty big movement called BLW (baby led weaning), which is the concept that you can skip cereals and purees altogether and go for whole foods (sometimes, like with carrots for example, cooked to softness for safety).

 

The first place to look would be to get the "bible" for BLW:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Baby-Led-Weaning-Essential-Introducing-Foods/dp/161519021X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1289419172&sr=8-1

 

Here are some other links that might be helpful:

http://www.babyledweaning.com/

http://baby-led.rhgdsrv.co.uk/pdf/blwleaflet.pdf

http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/babyledweaning.htm

http://babyledweaning.blogware.com/blog/GettingStartedFingerFoodBasics/FingerFoodBasicsMonth1

 

There are some distinct signs of readiness that you can look for in your babies to see if they are ready to start on solids. For one, over 6 months is pretty important for digestive purposes. As well, the baby should be sitting independently, not have the infant tongue thrust anymore, and be able to self-feed. Personally I waited until my daughter was able to pick stuff up with the pincer grasp, as she stopped missing her mouth when she mastered that. wink1.gif

post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 

So THAT'S what baby led weaning is!! I thought it was the baby weaning itself off breast milk and ONTO purees and other mushy stuff.

 

Okay, I feel much better in knowing this!!!!! Thank you!

post #4 of 27

Sure! There are a lot of us here in LWAB that practice BLW; I am sure others can share their experiences too!

 

I will tell you this-- my Cecilia is not a big eater. We've been at it for about a month now, and she eats around 1 piece of food (e.g. one cube of butternut squash, etc) per sitting. But that doesn't bother me at all, because she still nurses all the time and gets her nutrition that way. I figure she'll start eating more when she's good and ready. ;-)

post #5 of 27

We did BLW with DS. Of course, this meant lots of "advice" from relatives regarding solids.

 

Examples:

 

"He's grabbing my fork. He must be hungry!" *I hand DS a fork and he bangs away without caring about food* 

 

"If you ever want to get any sleep you'll start cereal ASAP" (at 8 weeks)

 

 

DS didn't start "eating" until he was 9 months. We bought one of those mesh feeder things and would put banana in it prior to that. It would squish out of the holes and he enjoyed it...but I think it was just because it was fun. (We used it to keep him busy while WE ate) We would try once a month or so to offer him foods. Sometimes he would gum something (like a wedge of ham at Thanksgiving when he was 7 months) but he mostly just didn't care until 9 months or so.

 

Hope that helps smile.gif

post #6 of 27

No way! We skipped the rice cereal completely... started with mashed banana, then moved onto avocado, natural applesauce, potato, pear sauce, etc. Over the past week or so, DS has been unhappy with the consistency of purees, but doesn't seem quite ready to handle table food, so I've been adding organic brown rice cereal to his purees, but I would never give him straight rice cereal. That stuff is disgusting.

post #7 of 27

I agree.. NO WAY!  We did Wholegrain Oatmeal over Rice Cereal.  I mixed bananas and steamed apples with it,  And because we just were crazy at the time, I made it extra chunky and just plopped it on his tray and let him go to town using his hands (he refused to let us feed him until he was 9 months old).  You should see the pictures --- what a mess!!!!!  But he's smiling in all of them, and of course he's wearing one of those full coverage plastic bibs (still didn't help). 

 

DS is 16 months old and has never had rice cereal smile.gif

post #8 of 27

I've never done rice cereal either.  We do buy the Earth's Best multigrain baby cereal, because it works nicely to thicken up certain things, like yogurt, that are a challenge for self-feeding at first.  smile.gif

post #9 of 27

Nope. No reason. Just easy to digest for people who are starting their babies on solids way-to-early anyway.

post #10 of 27

I live in Germany and the midwives and docs here (we have pp insurance-covered midwife care here) are now advising that some babies are ready to start solids at 4 months.  There are studies that have shown that introducing some foods early actually reduces allergies.  It depends on the baby, though.  My daughter definitely showed an interest at 4 months and could sit upright for swallowing.  She really enjoyed her first mealtime.

 

The docs and midwives never once mentioned rice cereal to us.  We were told to start with pastinak thinned with breastmilk or formula when we thought she was ready.  After that, we were advised to try carrots, pumpkin, and potatoes (sweet and regular), then move on to other veggies and fruits.  I do use rice cereal on occasion to thin the taste of strong fruits like kiwi (still a bit too sour for her, but with rice cereal she loves it) and started with that because it is gluten free.  Now that she's OK with the rice cereal that is easier to digest, I generally go for spelt cereal instead. (She's 5.5 months now.)

 

As we felt our daughter was ready for solids kind of early-ish, we've gone for a modified baby-led weaning.  I want her to eat real food, but she's too little for chunks.  I carry a fine cheese grater with me and use that to prepare her food.  Apples and pears are particularly good - I can make a fine "spaghetti" from them that she easily slurps, but it's definitely not a puree (and not cooked - I don't want to cook the vitamins out if I don't have to).  I give it to her on a spoon, but as she grows I'll use larger graters and let her feed herself.

 

As for the sleeping, Lene slept longer the first night she had rice cereal, but after that it was business as usual.  I don't have the feeling that it helped - she still is up every 3 hours to eat.

post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by BethHH View Post

 

The docs and midwives never once mentioned rice cereal to us.



I will say that we mentioned solids at DS's 8 week appt (because MIL kept saying we needed to start him on rice cereal so I asked so I could say, "The doctor said..." instead of just "No") She said 4 months was the earliest and to start with veggies. *shrugs* MIL was SHOCKED that she didn't say rice cereal.

post #12 of 27

The only reason that my pediatrician recommends the rice, oat or mixed grain cereal is for the iron. I don't do formula but I'm assuming maybe it has added iron? I actually do have to be cautious about iron levels in my kids as my oldest son was severely anemic by 6 months. Otherwise, nope. Just go for good ole food!

post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 


This is EXACTLY what I did!!

 

My Mom wanted me to start them on rice cereal at 2 weeks so they would sleep through the night, and I kept telling her that 2 week old babies are not supposed to sleep through the night.

 

Finally, I asked the doctor and she said absolutely NOT. That settled that argument!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AFWife View Post





I will say that we mentioned solids at DS's 8 week appt (because MIL kept saying we needed to start him on rice cereal so I asked so I could say, "The doctor said..." instead of just "No") She said 4 months was the earliest and to start with veggies. *shrugs* MIL was SHOCKED that she didn't say rice cereal.

post #14 of 27

No need at all. With my youngest we skipped baby food all together and at a year she decided she was ready for table foods and went from full time breastfeeding to table foods. We had one month of overlap and then she was off and running with only table foods and that's what she wanted so we went with it. It was like she went from baby to toddler overnight, lol. (gotta say, she was my healthiest of all 3 and has the healthiest eating habits as well as my only child without food sensitivities)

post #15 of 27

Absolutely not!  Rice cereal is a ridiculous first food- nutritionally void and not particularly easy to digest.  Great first foods are squash, sweet potato and pear.  Give this informative article on BLW a read to learn more about the history of food introduction and why you might want to ditch the purees! 

post #16 of 27

My DD is 3.5 and she never once had a puree or rice cereal.  at around 6 months she started self feeding we don't have a history of food allergies so she ate a form of what we were eating.  I just put it on her tray and she would do with it what she wanted to.  I cut it up small so she wouldn't choke on it if she did accedently swallow it but that never happened.  She is now a very active 3.5 year old that feeds herself and is a good eater.

 

Big Momma

post #17 of 27

We're about to start introducing solids at 6 months - this is so helpful! DS has been so curious about food - watching us eat or sucking on some foods like raw carrots. We plan to do some BLW but also some purees of fruits/veggies.

So my question around cereals is whether you can give them simply cooked grains (oatmeal or some other grain cooked in the same fashion. I was thinking of amaranth or millet for the high iron content) at the age of 6 months. Everywhere I read suggests grinding the grains prior to cooking to the consistency of these rice cereals. It doesn't say anywhere at what age you don't have to grind them anymore. My instincts make me question if grinding is even necessary. anyone have experience with this??

Thanks! 

post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by fullofhope08 View Post

We're about to start introducing solids at 6 months - this is so helpful! DS has been so curious about food - watching us eat or sucking on some foods like raw carrots. We plan to do some BLW but also some purees of fruits/veggies.

So my question around cereals is whether you can give them simply cooked grains (oatmeal or some other grain cooked in the same fashion. I was thinking of amaranth or millet for the high iron content) at the age of 6 months. Everywhere I read suggests grinding the grains prior to cooking to the consistency of these rice cereals. It doesn't say anywhere at what age you don't have to grind them anymore. My instincts make me question if grinding is even necessary. anyone have experience with this??

Thanks! 



we did blw with some purees when it was more convenient. i also skipped the cereals and opted to try for regular oatmeal instead. not much luck with that at 6 months. i think it was a consistancy thing at that point and my babe who only really gagged on "real" food once was gagging like crazy on the oatmeal. same thing with rice. i think it might just be too easy for the whole grains to get caught in the throat. anyway, she HATED it. so we just held off on regular oatmeal but i could see that grinding it would help....but then you might as well just buy like, the earth's best oatmeal cereal, no? i also wanted to boost the iron so i would just add the earth's best stuff to any runnier foods (soup, yogurt...) to thicken it a bit which made it easier for her to eat and then we got the bonus iron.

post #19 of 27

We gave DD rice cereal at two months, but I only made two teaspoons and she would only have one or two bites. DD had reflux issues and I brought up the idea of rice as an alternative to increasing the dose on her medicine (She would nurse every 90 minutes for 10 minutes and still spit half of it up). Her pedi liked the idea, but made sure I knew she was NOT ready to have solids. Rice once a day helped get her off medicine and keep her food down. DD didn't have her first solid food until she was four months when she stole a french fry off DH's plate.

post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kristine233 View Post

No need at all. With my youngest we skipped baby food all together and at a year she decided she was ready for table foods and went from full time breastfeeding to table foods. We had one month of overlap and then she was off and running with only table foods and that's what she wanted so we went with it. It was like she went from baby to toddler overnight, lol. (gotta say, she was my healthiest of all 3 and has the healthiest eating habits as well as my only child without food sensitivities)



This is what we've done with all 4. They pretty much eat what we eat, when they're ready to eat it.

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