Should i avoid feeding my baby rice cereal? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 04-15-2009, 12:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Please help! Is there any reason not to feed my baby rice cereal? I cannot find any info online on this. Will my baby, who is older than 6 months, be missing out on vital nutrients like iron if I start her on vegetables? I cannot find a clear answer. I am exclusively breastfeeding her until I find the answer. Thanks!:
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#2 of 7 Old 04-15-2009, 11:23 AM
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This is better posted in LWAB, but in the mean time...White rice cereal has nothing in it but starch...brown rice has a small amount of fiber. Either may be fortified with vitamins, I suppose, since they're not particularly valuable in themselves.

There is iron in breastmilk, and it is well-absorbed, so you need not worry unless you have some particular reason you think she is iron deficient. Besides, what did mothers do before the era of force-feeding infants Gerber rice cereal?!?

Our son didn't really eat foods (and get a significant percentage of his calories from them) until 10.5 months. I let him try stuff starting around 6.5 months (a bite of my banana, some pureed plums, etc.), but he wasn't ready until much later. Grabbing for things (food, spoons, objects) is different than intentionally wanting food.

So if your little one is presented with food and enjoys it, I don't think there's anything wrong with some brown rice cereal in moderation, but there's no NEED for it. Also, save money and grind up some brown rice in a coffee grinder, if you have one, rather than buy cereal!
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#3 of 7 Old 04-15-2009, 11:52 AM
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do a search on this forum for rice cereal and you should find lots of info. There is no good reason to start w/ rice cereal. It is fortified w/ iron but less than 10% of that is absorbed- besides the fact that grains are hard to digest. Feed your baby real food- assuming she is showing all readiness signs- pincer grasp- lack of tongue thrust- able to sit on her own.

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#4 of 7 Old 04-15-2009, 11:53 AM
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As a food, I don't see much value in rice cereal. I think it became popular because it was consider low allergen, easy to digest, etc. They add a bunch of vitamins which makes it more nutritious but also makes it taste gross - I tasted it when my son was a baby, LOL

With the girls I never fed it at all but I did get some baby oatmeal which I think it more nutritious... but I didn't feed it by itself, what I use it for is to thicken purees that I find too runny.

I have to confess I bought it during a whole foods brain fart moment where I was lulled into tossing things that seemed healthy and nutritious into my cart because I think they play subliminal messages over their music to get you to toss things into your cart. That's the only explanation I have for walking out of there with some of the things I walk out with. The particular stuff had probiotics and other such things in it...

Overall - you can skip the cereals or use them, I don't think it makes a difference. It's just food. Like I said, though, I use it to thicken. If you buy the baby food fruit purees (which I do, on occasion) they seem to feel babies are only capable of eating food that can be consumed through a straw. So I thicken it up a bit...

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#5 of 7 Old 04-15-2009, 04:17 PM
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skip the starches. They are unnecessary for babies just learning to eat. Better choices are soft fruits and veggies, and soft meats.
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#6 of 7 Old 04-15-2009, 05:16 PM
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A lot of mamas here start their babies out on foods like avocado, sweet potato or banana. (Unless you're my child, whose first food besides breast milk was a dill pickle that he stole off my co-worker's plate at the age of 7 months and proceeded to chow down on.) Rice cereal is moderately useless, in my opinion. It's processed, it tastes gross, it can be very constipating and the iron in breastmilk is much more easily absorbed. (Just a side note: delaying cutting the umbilical cord for a few minutes after birth results in fewer cases of iron deficiency at six months of age. There's a good study that came out of Australia a few months ago on that.)
I think that it's good to watch your babe for signs that she's ready for food -- like other posters mentioned, losing the tongue thrust, sitting unsupported, and most importantly, being interested in food (rather than, say, wanting to play with the spoon). I started offering my son food at six months, but he had zero interest in it until a little over seven months -- then all of a sudden he was all about it.

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#7 of 7 Old 04-15-2009, 08:20 PM
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When we were close to starting solids I went to a class taught by a pediatric nutrionist. She suggested starting infants on whole fruits and vegetables like fruit and vegetables. Cooked + water to make a loose puree. She also stated that there was no medical research to support starting babies on rice or other grains, that was a made up idea in the 50s because it was bland, that carbs early on were linked to glucose issues later on, and on and on. The US is pretty much the only place where we do this. More common is to give avocado, sweet potato, or banana. She said that her professional group supported introducing grains after 8 or so months.

When we did introduce grains, we ground brown rice in our food processor and cooked it. Instant rice cereal. Make a pot, freeze it in ice cubes, and it is good to go. Super Baby Foods has a good technique. Our 22m son still eats oatmeal mixed with 7 grain cereal every morning for breakfast. has good allergy charts for standard introduction. Super Baby Food has good recipes in it. It is somewhat out-of-date on allergy issues though so be forewarned.

Finally, iron is important but if you take an iron supplement and bf your iron supply will help the baby for longer than 6 months. We did a simple blood test at 9m to check DS's iron supply and it was fine. There are lots of high iron foods you can use and the iron in fortified cereal is really hard on the tummy and bowels. Plus, the standard supplement for babies stains teeth.

We started solids at 6.5 months or so and he was fine for a month. But in retrospect, he wasn't ready. He just wasn't really interested. He went through a solids strikes for more than 2 months as a result.
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