Baby’s first introduction to food is usually rice, barley or oatmeal cereal this is due to the high iron content. Some mothers that do breast feed their babies will start giving barley cereal as this will help keep the stools soft. So in most instances babies first food would be a cereal. Remember, always consult with your pediatrician regarding introducing solid foods to your baby and specifically discuss any foods that may pose allergy risks for your baby.
Can I Give My Baby Cereal? Answer: Yes
For many years baby rice cereal was considered to be the best food to start with, but what is also become more common is to start off with cereal, then to move onto other foods such as vegetables or fruits. If you are considering to start your little one on cereal, then do pick a single grain iron fortified variety such as rice, barley or oats do not consider giving a wheat cereal as they are known as a common allergen for many babies today.
Preparation of a cereal
Many parents do start with rice cereal. You can mix a small amount of cereal with formula, breast milk or you can even use water to create a creamy consistency. Never sweeten the taste by adding foods such as mashed bananas, apple puree or juice. If you start off tempting baby with sugar, before you know it your little one will soon want everything you offer to be just as sweet.
Do help your baby to sit upright and then proceed to offer the cereal using a small spoon and offer the cereal once or twice a day. Once your baby does get the hang of swallowing a runny cereal, you can then proceed to mix it with less liquid and you can gradually increase the amount that you offer. You could also consider offering a variety of single grain cereals such as oatmeal or barley.
Barley is considered to be a nutritious and versatile grain that can be offered to babies as it is easy to digest. You can make barley into a cereal, cooked into soups, stews and into pilaf. Barley is considered a great baby food as it easily blends into a soupy and cereal like consistency and is full of nutrients that your baby requires and needs.
The shape and size of barley can make for a great finger food. So when your baby is starting to have finger foods, you can cook pearl barley as this is a great food that will help baby’s pincher grasp pinching. Barley is a great source of Vitamin A, Folate and protein.
Oats are a very healthy grain to offer to baby as a first food. It is easy to digest and is less binding than rice, oatmeal has fiber, calcium, protein and even has some B vitamins which will help with your baby’s growing body. Oats are considered not to be an allergy risk but do contain traces of gluten. However oats do not contain the same gluten as in wheat, but they could possibly become contaminated with the gluten from other grains such as wheat.
It is common for oats to be processed together with other grains that do contain gluten. If your family does have a history of celiac disease, it would be wise to ask your pediatrician about introducing oats to your baby. The best type of oats to start baby on are steel cut oats as they are minimally process, rather they are cut into small bits so they retain their natural levels of protein, calcium, fiber and more. The only problem with steel cut oats is that they are more difficult to grind into a powdery texture. This can be achieved using a blender.
It has been noted that rice cereal was traditionally the first food offered to babies. It has also been found that rice cereal is low in protein but high in carbohydrates but does contain zinc, and other vitamins it is also iron fortified. It is also easy to digest and makes it easier for baby, and it will not suffer from constipation or bloating.
Rice cereal is still very popular today as baby’s first food. In many countries baby’s first food is still rice cereal. Even though there is a lot of controversy regarding rice cereal today, stating that it is not that nutritious as other cereals. So it is every mothers choice on which cereal is the best for their baby.