The Truth About Baby Cereal (And What to Feed Instead)

Baby cereal is recommended by pediatricians, but is it healthy? Learn the truth about infant baby cereal, plus find out what first foods are better alternatives.

Baby cereal is recommended by pediatricians, but is it healthy? Learn the truth about infant baby cereal and the best first foods for baby in this post.

Somewhere around 6 months, your baby may be showing signs of readiness for solids. But, is the pediatrician recommendation of baby cereal as first food really the best idea?

Let’s delve into the science behind baby’s digestion, when to introduce solids, and the best first foods for baby. You’ll see that rice baby cereal is not the best choice for baby!

What’s Really in Baby Cereal?

Let’s first take a look at what baby cereal really is… because it’s not just plain rice. Since it’s usually made from white rice, there really isn’t any nutrition in it. As a result, it’s fortified with synthetically produced vitamins, like ferrous sulfate (iron), folic acid (vitamin B9) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Some manufacturers are offering organic rice baby cereal, but it’s not much better. The baby cereal may be from brown rice but it’s processed into a flake so that it’s quick to prepare (which spikes blood sugar levels) and smooth for baby’s palate.

Most pediatricians recommend starting rice baby cereal at about 4-6 months old for baby’s first food. Some doctors will recommend it even earlier as a way to help newborns sleep. Mom’s are urged to add a little rice baby-cereal and formula to baby’s bottle as a way to keep him full and sleep through the night. There are a few problems with this recommendation though. Even Gerber, the popular baby food manufacturer recommends against putting rice cereal in your baby’s bottle!

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Supplementing With Baby Bottles

If your baby is colicky and fussy at night, this could be related to digestion or latent food allergies (source). Lulling them to sleep with rice baby cereal is only putting a band aid on the issue. And if you’re breastfeeding and safely co-sleeping with your baby, nighttime feedings don’t require you to get up and lose a lot of sleep soothing a soothe a crying baby. I remember our nighttime feedings while co-sleeping were restful, peaceful, and no harder than nuzzling my baby a little closer.

Newborns stomachs are only the size of a hazelnut at first, and don’t hold much milk at one time. Their bodies aren’t designed to stay full for 8 hours at night (Source). In fact, in this study babies who were fed rice baby cereal before 4 months slept less than the babies who weren’t fed solids!  Food is supposed to energize us. When your baby is excessively sleepy after eating solids, it may mean that his body is diverting energy resources to digestion because he is overfed. (Kinda how you feel after overindulging at Thanksgiving dinner!) (Source).

Why Rice Baby Cereal Is Not Good

High in the toxin arsenic

Arsenic is naturally found in soil and water, however it can become concentrated due to conventional farming practices. When pesticides and herbicides are used on fields, the runoff contaminates the soil and local water with arsenic. This irrigation water is then flooded over the rice fields for long periods of time.

Arsenic accumulates in the soil and water, and rice absorbs more arsenic compared to other crops. Even organically grown rice is susceptible to high levels of arsenic contamination because of the necessary growing environment, and the high levels of pesticide runoff in our modern environment. Both white and brown rice were found to contain arsenic…

Concentrations of arsenic were twice as high in the urine of infants who ate white or brown rice than those who ate no rice, according to research published in JAMA Pediatrics. Arsenic levels were highest in babies who ate rice cereal, often given several times a day to introduce babies to solids.

High levels of arsenic damages the nervous system. It can cause poor concentration and memory, and reduced intelligence. Furthermore, moms who eat a high arsenic diet while pregnant have babies with much higher rates of respiratory complications.

Your Baby’s Digestive System May Not Be Ready for Grains Yet

Amylase is the enzyme that’s necessary to digest starches and grains, like rice baby cereal.  Babies are born producing small amounts of salivary amylase and as they age continue to produce more and more. By around three months old, their salivary amylase levels are at 2/3 the amount normally found in adult saliva. However, their pancreatic amylase, the powerhouse of starch digestion, does not reach adult levels until 8 months of age. (Source, SourceSource).

Rice Cereal Is…

1. Highly Refined

Baby rice cereal isn’t whole rice for obvious reasons, but it’s not even just ground. Rice cereal is usually highly processed until it’s converted into light flakes, which are “instantly” ready for consumption. This is done to make a true convenience food that’s easy to just stir into milk or formula, but it also strips the rice of the little nutrition it does have.

2. Low in Nutrition

Rice baby cereal is naturally devoid of nutrition, so manufacturers add synthetic vitamins back in to fortify it. It’s high in inflammatory and disease causing Omega-6s (source), and even the organic rice cereal can contain soy lecithin. Soy lecithin isn’t as scary as it sounds, however introducing soy to an infant can cause allergies and gut damage later in life (source).

3. Full of Folic Acid

I’ve mentioned that rice baby cereal is high in synthetic vitamins that are hard to digest and not bioavailable, but folic acid can be even more damaging. Folate is a necessary nutrient, while folic acid is it’s synthetic, manufactured replacement. It can cause thyroid damage and health issues for the estimated 50% of the population with MTHFR mutations (Source, Source).

4. Fortified With Iron

Rice cereal is fortified with iron, and pediatricians and dietitians argue that a baby’s diet is too low in iron. It’s true that breastmilk is low in iron, but some believe that it’s for a reason. If all babies had delayed cord clamping at birth, they would get an awesome iron stores until they were ready to eat pureed red meats, an excellent source of iron.

In Europe, formula contains half the amount of iron found in US formula (Source). If you indulge in high iron foods, like pastured beef and liver, then this nutrition is then passed through the breastmilk to baby in the right amount. (Source). Iron is a necessary nutrient, high levels of synthetic ferrous sulfate, which is hard to digest, is not. In fact, in one study, babies who were given high doses of iron fortification, the same amount found in US infant formula, scored significantly lower on IQ tests 10 years later.

5. Bland

Another reason why rice baby cereal is recommended, is because it’s a bland, tasteless food. However babies can taste different flavors in breast milk when you vary your diet, so they’re used to some flavor. It’s also helpful to introduce different flavors to your baby so they grow up liking all sorts of healthy foods, not just bland sweet carbs, which can lead to poor diet choices later in life. (Source).

Best First Foods for Baby

So now that we’ve covered why rice baby cereal isn’t the best first food for baby, what is? Nutrient dense foods– animal foods, in particular– are perfect for your little one. Grains and seeds shouldn’t be given until after age 1 (even better 2) and only if properly prepared. Here are some foods to start with that will nourish your baby’s brain and development. Be sure to opt for pastured and toxin-free animal products. (source)

  • Gently cooked egg yolk (can be a little runny), cooked in butter and served chopped or mixed with other food. Add a little unrefined sea salt for taste and minerals. Don’t do egg white until after 1 year.
  • Organic beef liver grated or pureed
  • Pureed pastured/organic meats
  • Mashed ripe fruit like avocado and banana. Fruits high in pectin like apples, pears, peaches and plums should be cooked, cooled and then fed to baby.
The Surprising Best First Foods for Baby by Mama Natural

Here’s more info on best choices for baby’s first foods.

Around 9 months, Include:

  • Mashed veggies like carrots, peas, winter squash and green beans. Best served with a little organic butter, coconut oil or cream.
  • Some organic whole yogurt can be introduced as well as foods like sweet potatoes served with coconut oil or butter.

How About You?

What foods did your baby first try, and did it include rice cereal? Let us know in the comments below!

Genevieve Howland

About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 130,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.


  1. I think this is just ridiculous! I put cereal in my babies bottles when they were a month and guess what??? They are healthy, highly functional young adults! My son had his first child and her mother calls the pediatrician for everything! Even to see it she can feed her an extra oz at 3 months old and the Dr said yes but no more than 5 ozs!!! She doesn’t allow her to have cereal at 3 months which is ridiculous! I babysat my grand baby the other day and spoon fed her cereal and gave her a 6oz bottle for bed and she slept all night! 4 ozs isn’t cutting it! She is satisfied but an hour later she’s hungry again! If anyone hasn’t noticed they are poisoning everything we eat, the air we breathe so now we need to put babies in a bubble so nothing happens to them??? All that will do is make that babies immune system weak! Since when a Dr knows our babies more than we do? They have a one-size fits all chart and babies are not all the same! For the love of God please stop it! If you research something long enough it all ends with cancer! This fear mongering is ridiculous!

    • First of all, you have guts to go against the mother’s wishes and do what YOU think is right for someone else’s baby… If you were my mother, I don’t know if I would be able to trust you as a babysitter ever again. Second of all, there is a lot of evidence about rice being extremely harmful for babies and dull of undesired chemicals that a baby’s digestive system cannot stand or process, especially at 1 month. I’m glad your kids “survived” and thrived, but I wouldn’t give rice cereal all the merits… There are a lot of better alternatives and if now there is more research and information available, why not trust it? Then of course everyone will do whatever they want, lots of things said in this article I would take with a grain of salt, but I would still try to avoid garbage filled ingredients for my baby…

    • @shiloh, you a disgusting sick individual I hope you never see your granddaughter again and should have all minding right’s provoked.

  2. I am surprised you say to avoid egg white until after the age of one. Egg is a common food allergen, and the latest evidence indicates delaying the introduction of allergens makes an allergy more likely.

  3. Lol this is really not good advice. Babies are not allowed to have salt – dangerous! Regarding liver – thats accumulating other waste products from the animals as well!

  4. Mostly good information. I exposed my son to egg whites early (around 5 months) along with other foods that commonly causes allergic reactions such as nut butters and dairy. My son loves eggs but I would never give him a runny egg, it’s too risky in my opinion. We started with very small amounts and he had a very minor rash at the beginning but now no issues. He absolutely loves nut butters, eggs and cheese at 10 months. Also I’ve read several sources that says to not add salt to any foods and advises parents to read the labels of prepacked foods to verify sodium content. My son loves meat, especially chicken, he turns into popeye whenever he has a higher protein day, I’ve been giving him meat since he was 6 months and he hasn’t had any issues. Oddly the only thing that he’s ever had an issue with is tomato’s and tomato sauce. I’d love for him to try liver but it’s difficult to find organic pasture raised liver. All babies are different and somethings may or may not work for your baby, just stay positive and make sure it’s organic 🙂

  5. Isn’t it dangerous to add any kind of salt to baby’s foods? Their bodies supposedly can’t handle salt. :/

  6. Is this true about quinoa infant cereal too?

  7. This is exactly what I was hoping I could feed her ♡

  8. My first babe never had “baby cereal” because I could not find the actual point of it. Breast milk is designed to meet baby’s needs. And she was breast fed. And we were lucky enough to have a great run of it. Her 1st foods were sweet potato, carrot, pears, peas, and bananas, in super mashed or puréed form. And in part, I attribute her eating almost anything to these factors: Starting with breast milk and veggies and fruit. Babe 2, will be similar.

    • First time mom here:) so did you do that for like 5 days at a time? My nurse keeps pushing cereal and I am NOT doing it…she then said after rice cereal do oats then gluten! Like what!? That seems so dumb to me??? Anyways…every new food I introduce she said should be given once at night before bed, for 5 days for his gut to create enzymes to break that specific food down? Is this what you did? Give those specific foods for like 5 days and then introduce a new one?

      • I know this comment is old but try to give baby food in the daytime that way if bad reaction it’s not in the middle of the night. I’m sure one day of observation is enough. That’s what I have done for both of my kids. I’ve been lucky and haven’t had kids with severe allergies so I have mixed foods and have only waited like one or two meals before giving varied foods.

      • Most of the latest research of peer-reviewed studies say you should introduce gluten early because the chance for a gluten allergy is significantly lessened.

  9. Unfortunately rice baby cereal was the very first food ever for both my children as babies. With this information, which I’m seeing in more places than just here, I am wondering if any of their issues may be caused by the rice cereal and/or other now known to be negative choices in food. I also recall the cereal serving as basically a staple in their diets for months of their lives. My older child hasn’t had as much Heath issues as my younger one has had, possibly due to the fact that I managed breastfeeding for a longer period of time with my first child than with my second one. My second child never really had any baby-fat, has suffered multiple neurological/mental coping/learning issues throughout her childhood. Now at the age of 20 years, has already recently suffered a gall bladder attack with numerous gallstones, just me tshirt after having a baby of her own, at which during common but not so common complications of gall stone existence and removal of the organ, had just been informed she has an irregular heartbeat and now that has to be looked into. She is who introduced me to the information about these feeding issues. Hopefully, with the knowledge shaping a healthier diet for her infant, things will be different for this little one. It sure would be terrible for my daughter to have very many issues with her child to deal with while having her own existing (hopefully no more developing or worsening) health issues.

  10. Why do feel rice is good? Did you not read about the arsenic content?
    Salt is not necessary, true. And liver is the sewage system of an animal.
    But rice is no good either. Grains are heavily toxic now. Most people cannot digest wheat anymore.
    Highly highly sprayed and hybridized.

  11. Rice does not have much nutrition anyway. Why give them something like that ? My baby started with oatmeal and sweet potato no need for this processed rice.

  12. Hi. Can’t agree more with the article. My baby is turning 1 year old and for the past months (!!) Since she started solids she’s been so constipated – and when I say constipated I mean screaming each time she made, problems like hemorrhoids, extremely extremely hard bowl movements.. we found out that it was mainly the oatmeal cereal we gave her, once we stopped that it got way better. My question is, now that she’s turning one, is there any grain that I can replace it with so she feels fuller?

    • Try some organic applesauce. Also, since your baby is one year old, they can move to table food. Give mostly veges, avocado and fruits with small amount of organic oatmeal for breakfast or dinner if having trouble sleeping at night. I found that adding applesauce to the diet really helped. You should not be feeding so much cereal that the child is getting constipated. That’s too much or is not offset sufficiently with veges and fruits.

  13. Sorry you believe this is extreme — unfortunately, most are used to eating processed foods, grains, which are damaging to the gut lining, so now believe this is extreme. Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride is a specialist In her field, you must listen to her lectures to understand why this is not extreme. Have a lovely day ..

  14. Arsenic in rice is a very well known fact, and it’s in US soil. I have heard that there’s not the same problem in the soil in other countries.

    • Actually a lot of rice that is consumed in the US is from Asian countries…

  15. Our first food was asparagus, in honor of her great grandpa who grew it by the bushel.

  16. My little one is currently 17 weeks old (4 months) and I got him tasting steamed puree pear and carrots separately. He loves the pears more but will tolerate carrots.

    • Love this! I’ve told many that I’m avoiding cereals and rice and going strictly into Whole Foods and they look at me like I’m crazy. My little one is 4.5 months old and has tried carrots, green beans, sweet potatoes and avocado. His pediatrician told me typically he suggest adding foods around 6 months but sometimes there are those little ones who won’t wait. So I was given the go to start at 4 months. He also told me that cereals weren’t necessary as they provide NO nutritional value.

  17. What about the babies who need thicker formula due to gas reflux. My baby would spit up an entire bottle(can’t breast feed due to my milk coming out sour and she wouldn’t latch. She had to be looking at my face) without something to thicken it up. And donor breast milk isn’t something we can afford or find in our area.

    • There are other thickening agents that aren’t cereals. Looking into those is a good idea. I am a bit troubled by the sour milk statement, were you evaluated by a lactation consultant?

  18. Natural and Healthy has not gone hand-in-hand with WHO. This is what this blog offers. Just read WHO history of recommendations. mothers & families ought to follow their instinct. Read blogs like this or you could over to WHO for advise.

  19. You have been so helpful! i am so thankful for your blog. If those who need info from WHO ought to go over to them for guidance. I choose to follow my heart and it has suit my family and motherhood your guidance. i have looked up for answers in your blog for Various topics and along with likewise research I am raising my children well and safe. Thank you!!! for creating this and making it available. Have you consider writing a book/ manual?

    • They have a great book! Calle the mama natural

  20. Is this this same for oatmeal cereal?

    • Yes

      • So you don’t recommend oatmeal? What do you recommend instead?

        • The above article has lots of suggestions!

  21. You shouldn’t add salt to baby food until they are at least a year old, if not later, their little liver and kidneys aren’t developed enough to process salt.

  22. Hey Team,
    What about the mothers that went thru cancer and had a mastectomy? I can’t breastfeed my baby and I want to stop giving him formula as soon as possible.

    • Look into donor breastmilk. There are lots of Facebook pages devoted to breastmilk donation.

    • I had a matectomy as well and gave my son formula until he was 1. Donor breast milk did not appeal to me at all. At four months I began introducing organic oatmeal based baby cereal mixed with formula (I never gave him rice cereal), baby yogurt, as well as puréed fruits and vegetables; and purée meats at the 9 month mark I believe. On his first birthday we started on whole milk and Greek yogurt and retired the formula altogether. He is now 18 months and eats full meals cut up into baby size bites. All the best,

    • The formulas here in NA are awful, I had to supplement at the beginning while coping with a childhood trauma issue, and wanted to vomit at the smell every time we opened a can! It’s all chemicals, and my baby hated it and had gut reactions to it, bloating and rock hard tummy.
      So, I found a GREAT option that you can order online and have shipped from EU. Some of their other products are able to be bought in Healthy Planet.
      HOLLE is an organic baby food company, and offers sensitive hypo-allergenic formulas, with real ingredients. I went with the Goat Milk option, as even in adults we can digest goat products much easier than cow (due to our bodies being more similar in size and number of stomachs), and I can’t thank them enough for this option! My baby loved it, and it looks, smells, and tastes great, so there’s no wasting left-over half bottles if she got full, as I just drank it instead of dumping revolting similac etc.
      Luckily we’re still breastfeeding at 8m, but she still gets the goat formula when making a bottle for visiting people to feed her, and she happily guzzles it down with no skin or digestive reactions the way she did on similac/enfamil.
      Hope that helps any Mama’s who can’t breastfeed exclusively!

  23. What did you mix red meat with?

  24. Eggs whites are now recommended before a year. Supposedly, it helps lessen the possibility of being allergic.

    • I followed this advice and one of my babies refused the food all together and the other had an aggressive allergic reaction. I wish I would have stuck to the egg yolk only recommendations.

  25. I agree with your article! It was very informative. My two month old is not gaining weight as fast as my pediatrician would like, he wants me to supplement or start solids. I know she is fine and would rather wait (she is my seventh child and they ALL did this) , however I don’t want to go against his advice. Is there something safe I can feed her if my milk supply is insufficient? Thank you!

    • The more you nurse your baby, the more milk you’ll produce. Supplementing can hinder your output. Check out this article for more tips and tricks. Two months is way too young for anything other than breastmilk or formula.

      • I totally agree with this comment. Babies at that age are not yet able to digest food, giving them at this age could lead to allergies later on. The more often you Fred baby at the breast the more milk you will produce, smaller feeds more often lead to milk with a higher fat content. Supplementing will mean your baby will take less from the breast therefore you supply will be less. Trust your judgement you know your baby better than anyone else Dr included.

      • These kind of comments are really negative towards women that are not producing enough. I had to supplement because I was simply not producing enough (about 100ml per feed). I tried to only breastfeed and my boys were getting dehydrated, so supplementing was our only choice and I don’t think that is anything to be shamed about. My boys are growing well, did not overeat formula, are now eating solids, and are reaching milestones well ahead of schedule.

    • Your pediatrician is not God. You as the mother know what is best for your baby.
      There is no reason you should not have enough milk. It’s supply and demand. More demand, more supply. If you have had 6 children and “they ALL did this” then go with your maternal wisdom. Doctors have hardly any nutritional education in their long training. Their training is not about nutrition and natural living. It’s about selling pharmaceuticals and products, procedures and vac.

      • Wow so well said ! Thx ??

  26. My daughter is 3 months and 11 days old. She is strictly breast fed at this point and gaining weight, my family says that I should be starting her on baby cereal. I want to ask the doctor but I don’t have an appointment for her till the end of next month and they never return calls unless its an emergency. Should I start her on cereal? When should I introduce baby food to her? Sorry first time Mommy here.

    • First, if your pediatrician will not return your call, you may consider finding a more responsive doctor or make an appointment for a consult. We have two premature daughters and worked with a dietician who specializes in babies, who say absolutely no solids until 6 months. You stick to what you feel is right for your baby! Your family should not peer pressure you into any thing with which you’re uncomfortable.

  27. My baby is 7 months and no teeth yet . Is it normal?

    • Absolutely, some babies get teeth early while others take their time.

  28. No rice. His first food potato

  29. Such great info! I have a 7 month old and am doing BLW. She LOOVES to eat and is getting so much better at picking up her food! So far we have given her all sorts of soft cooked veggies/fruits,eggs and she loooves these little pancakes I make using only banana, egg, and a little cinommon. When would you recommend introducing grains – should we wait until she is 1 or would it be ok to introduce them before then? Also I am curious about giving her meat. I usually don’t purée foods for her. How would you recommend giving her meat if we are doing BLW?

  30. I want to clarify I did notice the links to random blog posts but I am specifically referring to citations of scientific data and source citations for the recommended substitutions provided herein. Thank you

  31. I’m curious where are the resources used to cite information for this article? I don’t see them listed or cited. I’m curious as I find much of the advice and information given to not only be false but wildly awful advice. It’s concerning that many moms will read this and blindly follow. I’d like to investigate your resources, please kindly provide them.

    • There is lots of information out there supporting the claims made in this article regarding rice cereal. An online search generated articles from the FDA, Mayo Clinic and multiple universities. The information is out there, you just have to find it.

      • I’m sorry but if you’re putting out an article and are aware of better sources the onus is on you to provide those sources. Obviously people can research further and I don’t doubt that most do, but your response was ridiculous. Also, if you have an RDN on staff, why would she not write the blog post? Would at least give more credibility. I don’t generally comment on these things but I’d hate to think first time moms are blindly following your advice.

        • It’s not, it’s up to you to decide whether or not to look it up,… if you want to know what to feed your baby, you shouldn’t trust just one article.

    • Exactly. Thank you!

    • This “article” is for a natural blog, not a medical journal. Do the research. If you agree, you agree. If you don’t, you don’t. Take everything on the internet w/ a grain of salt. And if you are someone looking for alternatives to rice cereal, this blog post is right up your alley, if not keep it moving. It’s as simple as that. Why cause a fuss?

      • It’s good to provide sources so people can read it up on it. There is no need for you to turn away someone who is asking for sources. Wouldn’t you feel better knowing that what you are reading is backed by multiple research from other subject matter experts?

        Blind loyalty is dangerous. Don’t get complacent in your echo chamber.

        • Its a BLOG… It’s not for a one stop shop of information… Do YOUR due diligence and research.
          Nobody is being complacent, we don’t all demand to be spoonfed the research links, we just go do it. LOL
          Lord have mercy and bless you all.

  32. Hi, good article. Could you suggest some ready to eat foods that would be good for a 10 months old while traveling or vacationing. Are mum mum bars and ready to eat purees and Gerber cereals safe to give everyday along with formula?

    • There are lots of tips in this article be sure to read to the end!

  33. Very informative. However, the idea of starting my little one on dead animal remains so early in life disgusts me. Wish there were more plant based alternatives. Also, meat is super hard on the digestive system and is a terrible idea as “first food”

    • I agree with this and would love to see more plant based sources of food. However, since we live in a more carnivorous society, we have to make our own informed decisions. Would love to see this blog offer a duel approach to the nutritional recommendations to appeal more to vegans and vegetarians. I found that lacking in the Mama Natural book as well but generally loved reading it for its non-food recommendations.

      • I might be wrong, but I believe Mama Natural follows a wise traditions diet, which was started by the dentist, Weston A. Price. He traveled world studying cultures with less than 2% tooth decay to see what they did differently. The common themes were plenty of rich, fatty animal products (like liver, butter, and milk), seafood, fermented foods, and fermented whole grains. While a plant based diet is conscientious with our modern, unethical animal treatment, Weston A Price would have argued that no indigenous culture is vegan and a vegan diet does not contribute enough fat soluble vitamins to promote healthy bones and teeth in children. Though obviously as a culture we definitely need to eat more whole plants and less chemicals!

    • I plan on giving my daughter organic red (it is sweeter than white) quinoa when she is old enough, it is a complete protein if you want to go a more vegan route.

      • It’s not just about the protein-non meat sources may lack vitamins and minerals-particularly vitamins A, D, E and K, which are the fat soluble vitamins, but some B vitamins as well. So you may have to choose- some meat versus processed/fortified “commercially prepared” foods to get those vitamins. Personally, I prefer to prepare all of my food myself (no commercially processed food) including a little meat but that is an individual call.

      • Very discouraging for women who had lactation issues due to mental health. I have a big baby due to his genes. He was born 11.14oz. At 3 months he is now 17.14oz and 28.25 inches tall. He eats well and also has acid reflux. What do you supplement for axid reflux?

  34. I follow paleo diet and wanted my child to eat that way too. When stated giving him food at the end of 5 months once he sat on his own and showed interest in food. He ate egg yolk first. We gave him the same food for 5 days. We def him once and mid roning. He’s always been healthy and thriving. I was able to errant feed even having pcos up to 2 years. 4 years later he is still a paleo eater so not looking forward to when he’s in school.

  35. In the late 80’s my pediatrician insisted that babies should not eat solid food until 6 months old, and then you introduce orange vegetables, then green and so on. Fruits came next, then proteins, and then grains, never rice in the beginning. All of this was on rotation too, never the same food 2 days in a row. This prevents allergies, blood sugar problems, hormone imbalance, and obesity. Now, my children ranging 21-30 are very healthy and we are reaping the benefits of following his advice.

    • Very interesting!!! Thanks for sharing!

  36. Can you please priovide the scientific research articles behind your article.Most of your sources are just other websites or blogs.Thanks!

  37. I tried rice cereal early on and my son didn’t care for it. I did get the oatmeal baby food and mixed in either banana, peach, pears, sweet potato, green beans.

  38. I learned the hard way about Rice Cereals with my son after he suffered eczema when we started him on Baby Cereal. We quickly learned from our Naturopath about how processed Rice Cereal is and how real food like fruits and Veggies were much easier for a baby to digest. We switched to mashed bananas and his eczema cleared up and we never fed him rice cereal again. Thank you for this article! I’m sharing it with the new moms I know 🙂

  39. Great article. I have a 1 yo and we never have cereal. My best friend has a 5 month old and her doc told them to start rice cereal at 4 months. I’m so thankful we have a doc that supports babylead weaning. I wish my friends doc was the same but I don’t want her to think I’m that “my way is the right way” kind of Mom. Our doc said there’s no reason for anything other than breastmilk or formula if you have a baby that’s growing and is healthy. We started with carrots and other soft veggies… only because I didn’t want him to get used to sugars (from giving fruits first) And our kiddo loves veggies now! It’s the first thing he goes for at meal times. He also loves eggs and he does love his fruits for sure. We also never really gave him purred baby foods. Whose to say whose right but for us we just believe there’s no nutritional value for cereal when you can start with real foods. ?

  40. Just in case you were unaware cosleeping can also be just having the baby in your room in a separate pack and play or crib. Doesn’t have to be in your bed. It is defined as when the baby sleeps ‘nearby’.

  41. Like many women, I followed my mother’s advice and that of other Mommy friends. Almost everyone was breastfeeding, making their own baby foods, skipping enriched rice cereal or making their own version at home, and buying organic, local produce. Both my toddler and baby started with poi (my father carried poi in his luggage to CA for us) and pureed veggies mixed with breastmilk or the cooking water at 6 months when they started reaching for our food, then organic egg, pureed organic chicken and grass feed beef around 10 months, and the little one, like his brother, will start grains, yogurt and fruits around 12 months. But I knew moms who gave oatmeal and yogurt around 9 months, lots of processed baby snacks, and packaged toddler meals once their child had enough teeth to chew. My mom made our baby foods but couldn’t afford organic and didn’t know much about the difference in the early 80s, but she thinks food was safer back then. My baby seems to want chunks instead of purees at 10 months with only 4 teeth – 3 of which haven’t fully emerged yet. But his tiny fingers aren’t coordinated enough yet, and we don’t give processed snacks or cereal like Cheerios. I found some recipes to bake chunks or biscuits, but we don’t use infant cereal…I’m thinking I could substitute rice flour, and maybe rice flour from Japan would have lower arsenic than from the US?

    • If the food is soft enough to gum, teeth aren’t necessary. Think avocados, soft fruits and cooked soft vegetables.

    • Hey Rae, I also struggled with the dilemma of what to give her for teething and cereal since all those packaged crackers are void of nutrients and I’m holding off on grains until at least 1yr. Sadly my MIL wasn’t supportive and openly trashed all my decisions, even sticking to breastfeeding and not listening to her Pablum in formula “advice”. So I had to do a lot of my own researching, but luckily had some holistic nutrition background as a base. There’s a great book, Nourishing Traditions for Baby and Child Care, that I had from my courses (lent it out cpl years ago and never got back for using my own baby boo!) that is worth looking at, they also have a lot of free info on their websites.
      I ended up making this recipe for teething “cookies” and my baby LOVES them, then I just pull half the batch out a bit early so they aren’t as hard, and use those to crumble into a bowl, add my bone broth or BM/formula, and she has easy cereal! Hope it helps!

  42. I am completely wheat and grain free myself. I also don’t eat any refined sugars or processed foods. ( Dr. William Davis, Wheat Belly.) I want my baby to follow this diet as well so I don’t want to do the glucose test while pregnant, which I found is not necessary, that you can do a blood test instead. But that also includes then, no rice cereal or oatmeal. I plan on breastfeeding for about 1 year. When should I start introducing foods and do I have to puree or can I just serve soft foods, and what would some good soft foods be to start with? I saw avocados and banana’s avocados are fine but to many banana’s have to much natural sugars to give all the time as it will result in a spike in blood sugars. Thanks!

    • Check out this post about baby led weaning.

  43. My twin boys will be 4months soon. I was wondering about mixing breast milk with starter foods like Avacado ,banana etc. and just doing this from 4-6 months as a way to test for allergies and being gentle on there stomach until I’m confident there bellys are good with those foods. And then removing breast milk from(still breast feeding ofcourse just no longer mixing it with food after 6 months. What do u think ?

    • Discuss with his pediatrician and get their thoughts. Many physicians are advising that parents wait until six months to start on solids.

  44. My doctor has recommended that I express breast milk and add rice cereal to it to help my daughter with her severe reflux. I had wanted to avoid feeding her rice cereal but will do anything to help her feel better and to be able to keep food down. Have you come across this before and do you have any suggestions?

    • We have a lot of good info here:

    • We did rice cereal in bottles starting at three months because my first daughter had such severe reflu. That she wasn’t gaining weight and was diagnosed with failure to thrive. Once we started putting cereal in her bottles the spit up aka projectile vomiting stopped immediately and she started gaining weight. I’m not saying it’s the best option but it worked for us st the time and helped our daughter and now she’s a healthy almost 6 year old. Follow your instincts and do what’s right for your baby.

  45. Thank you for your article. What about oatmeal?

  46. What is your source for adding salt to baby foods?

  47. Hello,
    Can a seventh month old have oatmeal? If so, how much each day and which one do you recommend? Thanks.

    • A seven-month-olds tummy can’t digest grains just yet. Waiting until at least age one is ideal and starting with a soaked sprouted oat is your best bet nutritionally.

  48. This article talks about rice cereal. What are your thoughts and opinions on oatmeal cereal for infants?

  49. Normally I really appreciate all the advice you give Mama Natural, but I’m really uncomfortable with this article. My mom is German and a nurse who has practiced both in the states and in Germany. Germans have for some time introduced baby rice cereal to their infants as a first food, followed by bananas, squash, yogurt, etc. Meat is not recommended for quite some time after introducing first solids. Most Europeans would be very uncomfortable giving their babies anything other than rice to start out with.

    • Go with what feels best to you. The key is to give babies nutrient-rich foods for their growth and development. My sense is that the rice served in Europe that you are referring to isn’t powdered, instant and enriched.

      • Many in Ireland and UK are choosing not to give their babies baby rice as a result of more information and studies. What we get is instant and enriched; no nutritional value for immature digestive systems.

    • Thank you Genevieve for this article. I love reading them. I live in Canada, I have a 6 m and 1/2 baby. I’m from France and I got two sisters who also have babies. One lives in the U.K., one still lives in France. We were all given different advice regarding feeding our babies. A lot depends on the country, the doctor and if you have a history of allergy in your family. In Canada, I was told to give baby cereals at every meal at 6 months but not my sister in France. I was there when I introduced solids a month and a half ago. France is not big on cereals, but it is on formula! At around 7 months, they recommend 210 ml of milk in the morning, 130 g of vegetable and low carb + 2 teaspoons of meat/fish or 1/4 of hard boiled egg+ 65 g of fruit+ milk for lunch, 65 g of fruit + milk as a snack, and 130 g of vegetable + milk in the evening. Milk is usually formula but a doctor told me that it was fine to feed a baby cows milk cut with water, that they just make women feel guilty to sell formula. I breastfeed her and give her organic cows milk for breakfast. I was also told to give gluten early so she doesn’t become intolerant. I’ve been giving her little pieces of bread that I make with organic flour. I saw my doctor in Canada last week, she is at the 50% percentile and so far so good.

    • Fortunately in Europe they dont allow 90% of the chemicals the farmers in the us use to produce their crops. So for example in the u.s. last year arsenic was at an all time high when it came to rice, they even reported that at those levels could cause cancer. In Europe they are lower than the u.s. has been in 13 years and have been. The soil and crops from Europe are just simply more earthy and healthy then anythimg grown here in the u.s.

  50. Thanks! You confirmed my instincts about rice cereal. Our guy had butternut squash, avocado, bananas, abs yogurt as first foods. I’m a little skeptical about the near recommendation as first food. Totally see the nutritional benefit, especially well sourced liver, but if they don’t have teeth, I can’t imagine their digestive systems are yet developed for dealing with meat…where did this recommendation come from? Thanks again!

  51. I’m not really sure why you are recommending adding salt to a baby’s food. Added salt and sugar should be avoided until at least age 1, or older if possible. Even a small amount of salt can wreck havoc on a baby’s kidney function and blood pressure. Please see this study for reference

  52. Awesome article!! Thank you <3. Both my boys were EBF until they showed an interest in food (7 months for 1, nearly 6 months for the others), and we did nutritious, subtly flavored food very similar to what we had for dinner each night. They never had grains until 11 or 12 months old, and by then they had a few teeth to help chew. We never did purées or standard baby food, just very small, minced finger foods. They ate what they wanted and how much they wanted. They were BF, so any food they ate was a bonus 🙂 I never had to worry about 'finishing' a jar or pouch, and they got to self-regulate and learn what it was like to feel full, then stop when they had enough- it was so easy ;). Thank you so much for writing this article, more people need to know these things!

  53. You may want to reconsider your recommendation for delaying the introduction of certain foods. Substantial research has been conducted on introducing peanuts and other highly allergenic foods and shown reduced risk for food allergy. Delaying introduction of certain foods beyond 1 year can significantly increase a child’s risk for food allergy. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology’s recommendations for introduction of solid foods are a great resource and evidence-based.

  54. Hi, I was wondering, what are your sources for recommending meat products as a first baby food? Most pediatric organizations recommend that meat be given after 7-8 months

    • I agree and would love to know. Meat takes very lo g to digest. I dont think i would introduce this to my child at such an early age.

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