Baby’s starting solids is an exciting adventure! It can also be super overwhelming for new moms to navigate the baby cereal aisle. I’ve compiled all the information you need to make the best decisions on baby cereal for your family.
My favorite cereal for babies is the Organic Clearly Crafted Oatmeal. It is high in iron, which is very important for all babies but especially breastfed babies, and it keeps a baby fuller longer than traditional rice cereal. My full review is below!
I hope this guide on the best baby cereal can help you pick the best cereal for your little one.
This post may contain affiliate links. Full disclosure here.
When To Start Baby Cereal
Around the age of six months, the joy of feeding newborns begins. Previously, it was suggested that rice or oatmeal cereal be introduced around the age of four months. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics currently advises that parents introduce solid meals to their children at the age of six months, or when they reach developmental milestones.
How To Introduce Cereal To Baby
To offer your infant her first single-grain cereal, follow these steps:
- Make sure they have all of the required signs of readiness. This will not only ensure that your child is fed safely, but it will also make the process more fun for you.
- Plan to feed your baby after they’ve had full breastmilk or formula feeding. In this manner, their stomachs will be mostly full, and they’ll be willing to sample a little cereal. (Trying to introduce food to a hungry infant will almost certainly result in a fight!) You’ll just feed your kid once a day at first, and it’s entirely up to you when that time is.
- Follow the directions on the label of the baby cereal you’ve chosen. To get started, you don’t need much! For the first two feedings, 1 spoonful of cereal combined with breastmilk or formula until it’s a runny consistency would suffice. You should use the same temperature of the milk to combine with your baby’s meal if your infant is used to consuming warm milk or formula.
- Ensure that your child is sitting up straight. This would be best done in a highchair, but they could alternatively sit on your lap. Because so much of your child’s food will not make it into their mouth at first, you’ll want them to wear a bib.
- Feed your baby using an infant spoon. Do your best to get the spoon into their open mouth, but be aware that it will be a little messy at first as they adjust to the situation. It won’t be long before they’re eating with their mouths wide open!
- Keep an eye out for your baby’s signals that they are full (or are just are no longer interested). It’s time to be “all done!” if your baby turns their head, gets irritable, or won’t open their mouth to feed.
Does Cereal Need To Be Baby’s First Food?
Some parents prefer to start with a different cuisine or exclude baby cereal entirely from their child’s diet. Starting with other pureed meals is very acceptable and may even be preferable for some babies. According to WebMD, both pureed veggies and fruits are appropriate initial foods, and there is no rule that says baby cereals must come first.
If you don’t want to go the cereal route, here are other fantastic first meals to try:
- Blended Red Meat (great source of iron)
- Sweet Potatoes
Just keep in mind that all of them should be pureed and put into a runny consistency that your baby can ingest. By combining it with your baby’s warmed breastmilk or formula, you may get it to a consistency that he or she can handle. You should also avoid giving your newborn any of the top allergy foods, such as the ones mentioned above unless your doctor advises otherwise. When your baby is a little older, you can introduce these.
Heavy Metals Arsenic, Lead, Cadmium & Mercury In Baby Food
You don’t expect to bring home a side of heavy metals when you go to the grocery to buy baby food, yet that is exactly what is occurring. Healthy Babies Bright Futures & Partners analyzed 168 baby food items, including 61 brands, in their most recent baby food analysis. The findings were alarming for parents since they indicated that hazardous metals are commonly found in infant food.
- One or more of the four dangerous heavy metals–arsenic, lead, cadmium, or mercury–was found in 95 percent of the infant food tested.
- There might be a number of pollutants in a single container:
- 4 metals were discovered inside 26% of baby meals tested, 3 metals were discovered inside 40% of baby foods tested, 2 metals were discovered inside 21% of baby foods tested, 1 metal was discovered inside 8% of baby foods tested, and 0 metals were discovered inside 5% of baby foods tested (9 foods)
- Arsenic was discovered in 73% of infant meals.
- In 94 percent of infant meals, lead was discovered.
- Cadmium was discovered in 75% of infant meals.
- Mercury was discovered in 32% of infant meals.
Heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury have been known to be harmful to human health for hundreds of years. It’s much more harmful when it comes to youngsters. Both in pregnancy and after delivery, they can impair a growing baby’s brain and neurological system. Arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury can harm an otherwise healthy baby’s brain development.
To emphasize this point, 23 peer-reviewed papers have been published in the last seven years highlighting the hazards of heavy metals to children. The levels of lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury in a child’s meals and supplements are important.
The Best Baby Cereals
|Baby Cereal||Main Nutrients|
|Organic Clearly Crafted Oatmeal Cereal for Happy Baby||Iron|
|Gerber Baby Cereal Organic Rice Cereal||Iron|
|8x Organic Carrot Quinoa Infant & Baby Cereal||Omega-3, -6, and -9|
Prebiotics and Fiber
Vitamins A, B, and E
|Grain Brain Organic Quinoa Flakes||Iron|
|Earth’s Best Organic Infant Cereal||Zinc|
Vitamins B6 and B12
Everyone from physicians to grandmothers has advised you to start with plain rice cereal for years. Following new findings against rice cereal, doctors now recommend that you just offer your infant food that is simple to digest and high in iron. That’s why a single-grain cereal is ideal for a first meal, and my favorite single-grain cereal is Happy Baby’s Oatmeal Baby Cereal.
Oatmeal appeals to me since it is a little more filling than rice cereal. You may make it thicker, which is good for babies with reflux since it will be easier for them to keep it down.
This oatmeal has a lovely silky smooth and fluffy texture to it, and it mixes easily. You may use both breast milk and water to achieve excellent outcomes.
Oatmeal is more nutrient-dense than rice cereal. It’s a complex carbohydrate, not a white carb like most cereals. This provides your infant with the benefit of increased energy and a longer sensation of fullness. Getting accustomed to these types of carbohydrates early on prepares kids for future better choices.
It’s all about nutrition when it comes to eating at such a young age. The need of feeding a baby’s body outweighs the importance of taste. The nutrition in this organic oatmeal baby cereal is plenty, and the flavor isn’t terrible either! In addition to protein and fiber, this cereal has the following nutrients:
- Iron: One serving of Happy Baby Oatmeal provides 45 percent of the daily iron requirement. This is more than the 40% seen in most other infant cereals. This vitamin is important for brain development and is scarce in breast milk, therefore it’s a great option for nursing mothers.
- Fiber: One grams of dietary fibre will protect your baby from becoming constipated or bloated, which is a frequent occurrence when they first start eating cereals.
- Protein is crucial during the first year of life. It aids in the formation of our whole body’s structure, from cells to large muscles. One serving of this oatmeal has 2 grams of protein, which meets 17 percent of a baby’s protein requirements.
- Carbohydrates: One serving of Happy Baby Oatmeal has 9 grams of carbohydrates, which equates to 9 grams of pure developing energy for your baby.
This is one of my all-time favorite brands, and their baby cereal is no exception. Happy Baby gives their food a lot of thought. GMOs aren’t present in this cereal. The resealable pack is devoid of harmful substances such as BPA.
There are no additional salts, sugars, colors, or artificial tastes in the food. It’s also allergy-friendly because it’s gluten- and dairy-free.
On the back of this cereal, there are only three ingredients. That implies it’ll be pure and kind on a baby’s belly who’s just starting out in the world of real food.
All that’s left are milled oats and some fantastic nutrients. While it isn’t the most delicious item you can cook, it’s a decent place to start for a baby’s first food. You may confidently feed your kid this delicious meal on a daily basis!
A baby cereal review wouldn’t be complete without a look at Gerber baby food, right? For decades, this has been a mainstay in many families. While some individuals avoid single grain rice cereal because of arsenic concerns (see note at bottom), others prefer a relatively easy-to-digest grain such as white rice. Gerber is an excellent, inexpensive baby cereal choice if you want a basic alternative to start your kid on.
Now, I say this knowing full well what the other alternatives are, but white rice is the greatest option for certain newborns. Despite all of the nutritional debate, white rice is quite simple to digest. Yes, it’s uninteresting. Yes, it isn’t the healthiest grain available. White rice, on the other hand, is a fantastic option for babies who simply need a little help keeping things down. It’s soft on children’s stomachs and unlikely to trigger an allergic reaction. Because this cereal is organic and has been tested for arsenic levels, arsenic contamination isn’t a major problem.
This is an excellent choice for your baby’s very first solid food. It provides excellent nourishment for a 4- to 6-month-old infant when mixed with a little breast milk, formula, or water.
- Iron: One serving of this cereal provides 45 percent of a baby’s daily iron requirement. This is critical when your infant learns to rely on solid meals to meet his or her iron requirements.
- Gerber’s unique VitaBlocks Blend contains Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, and 6 B vitamins. Each of these vitamins will help your baby’s immune system, as well as the rest of his or her body systems, grow properly.
- Calcium: There’s no better time to get calcium than while your bones and teeth are exploding! This cereal provides 25% of your baby’s recommended calcium consumption. Calcium is necessary for the development of healthy bones and teeth in newborns, as we all know.
- Zinc deficiency can result in children’s growth being stunted. This vitamin is also necessary for the immune system’s development and function. This cereal provides 30% of a baby’s daily nutrition.
- Choline is an essential vitamin for brain and eye function. Because this vitamin is so vital to the brain’s natural functions, it’s a fantastic addition to baby cereals. Each serving of organic Gerber cereal contains 15mg of choline, which provides your baby’s brain a boost.
This cereal appeals to me since it is organic. It’s also non-GMO, contains no salt, and contains no added sweeteners. Now that the frightening thing is out of the way, we can concentrate on flavor and texture. This is drab, drab, drab! If you don’t add any taste with fruit or vegetables, a newborn with an experimental palette will undoubtedly reject it. The texture is OK, not as fine as other rice cereals, but it melts easily. Allowing the rice cereal to soak in the liquid for a few minutes results in a smoother end product, according to my research. Take care of the backup, termed cereal-induced constipation, as you would with any rice cereal.
Although the 8x Organic Carrot Quinoa Infant & Baby Cereal isn’t well-known, it doesn’t mean it’s not well-made. This product is expensive, so it’s probably best suited for a newborn who only consumes rice porridge once or twice a day. This cereal is an excellent choice for the first food for your child because of its affordability and nutritional profile.
Quinoa is a true superfood, including all required and non-essential amino acids, proteins, vitamins, and iron. As a result, it’s an excellent first (and always!) food for your kid. I can’t say enough good things about quinoa. It’s the ideal supplement to a breastfed baby’s diet since it closely resembles what they’ve been eating. It’s also a great beginning grain because it’s hypoallergenic and gluten-free, which means it won’t upset your baby’s stomach.
WutsupBaby’s grainy cereal has it all, and the inclusion of carrot just adds to the healthiness.
- Omega-3, -6, and -9 Fatty Acids: This cereal contains omega-3, -6, and -9 fatty acids. These are crucial for brain and eye development, as well as supporting cellular function.
- Prebiotics and Fiber: There is no need to add anything to this cereal to improve its digestion. Quinoa’s inherent prebiotics and fibre are preserved by dehydrating it in a drum. This allows it to be quickly absorbed and reduces the risk of constipation.
- Quinoa is a complete protein, so it will assist maintain your baby’s muscles and organs as he or she grows.
- Let’s not forget the good stuff: vitamins and trace minerals. Vitamins A, B, and E, as well as magnesium and zinc, are all abundant in this cereal.
Quinoa and carrots are the only two components of this cereal. Both are organic and non-GMO. No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives are used. There are no salts, sweets, or anything else to come in the way of a basic, healthy meal. Be aware that the carrots do contribute some flavor, so be prepared. It isn’t as bland as other breakfast cereals. Also, the texture is quite fine and powdery, which I prefer in rice cereal. A cheerful infant means fewer lumps.
The pricing is a major drawback here. It can only be found in these travel packs. They’re practical, but they’re also pricey. For a baby that likes to eat a lot of cereal, this is not a good option.
The dietary requirements of older newborns differ from those of younger babies. From the moment a baby is ready to begin solids to the time they have mastered solids, they will require a variety of meals to fill them up and feed them. For nutritional intake, older babies rely on food rather than milk. This quinoa-based baby cereal is great when single grain cereal becomes boring and the baby’s dietary variety expands.
Quinoa has long been considered a superfood. It has long been known to be nutrient-dense. This grain is especially beneficial to babies since it provides a complete protein on its own. It contains all of the necessary and non-essential amino acids, which are critical building blocks for our body, particularly our muscles and brains.
It has a nutritional composition that is identical to breast milk, so it will provide your kid with all they require as they get older. As a result, it’s an excellent food for weaning. You’ll know your kid is getting equivalent nutrients without having to nurse or bottle-feed.
This cereal’s organic quinoa provides your infant with 100 percent plant-based nourishment. The cereal’s easy digestion is due to the absence of synthetic nutrients. It also contains a plant fiber that works as an active prebiotic and aids in the digestion of this grain.
Plant-based nutrients are also easier for your infant to absorb. So, while quinoa may appear to be a sophisticated cuisine for your infant, it is actually a great diet for older babies.
Even though the sole ingredient is organic royal quinoa flakes, this cereal is packed with nutrients. Here are a few more amazing things you’ll find in this cereal:
- Iron: This grain is a natural source of iron, with a concentration of 17 percent.
- Fiber: Compared to most other single grains, this grain has a higher fibre content. Important for babies who may experience constipation as a result of solid food consumption.
- Vitamins and minerals: This cereal contains nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, and calcium. None of them are artificial.
- There are no allergens! This cereal is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and egg-free. While I like it for older babies, it may also be a wonderful meal for younger ones.
This Grain Brain baby cereal is a fantastic option if you want to avoid rice or oatmeal cereals or just want to try something different!
We’ve discussed how advanced and complex grains are beneficial to an older child’s palette and nutrition. This multigrain cereal has plenty of grains, texture, and flavor. Despite the fact that it is more complicated, it is still extremely simple for infants to digest. It also has a finer texture, making it easier to incorporate into almost any dish. A fantastic option for a baby cereal aficionado.
Oats spelt (a type of hulled wheat), and barley make up this infant cereal. Oats are a simple, complex carbohydrate that is easy to digest. Add in spelt, an ancient wheat grain that tastes like a healthier, nuttier wheat grain, and you’ve got a winning combination. All three are high in fiber, which should help to balance the iron’s tendency to cause constipation in babies. All three of these are filling and will easily satisfy an older youngster.
This cereal contains essential nutrients that an older, more active infant would require to get through the day.
- Zinc is a fantastic mineral that aids the immune system of your body. It aids in the formation of proteins and DNA, which is critical while a newborn is growing at such a rapid rate. This contains 25% of the daily zinc requirement.
- Vitamins B6 and B12: These vitamins assist to maintain the neurological system, but they’re also utilised to help turn food into energy, which your toddling infant requires! In Earth’s Best, you’ll discover 25% of each B vitamin’s recommended daily consumption.
- Iron: Your blood cells can’t perform what they need to do if they don’t have enough iron. Iron deficiency can cause a baby’s growth to be stunted, preventing him or her from reaching the next developmental milestone. One dish of cereal provides 45 percent of daily iron requirements.
- Protein: Two grammes of protein may not seem like much, but it accounts for 9% of a baby’s daily requirements. This will aid in the development of their muscles and bodies.
The fact that Earth’s Best baby cereal is actually beneficial for babies is one of the major advantages of using it. They provide all of the nutrition tots required without the use of preservatives, salt, sugar, flavorings, or colors. This infant cereal is also good for the environment. It is totally organic and does not include any problematic GMOs. There are no pesticides that are harmful to the environment or to your developing child. That is to say, it is beneficial to everyone, including you. You can buy all of this for a fair price, and you can be confident that your kid will enjoy the flavor and thicker texture.
A Note About Rice Cereal
Now that I’ve disclosed my favorite infant cereals, I’d like to explain why rice cereal only appeared on the list once. Perhaps you’ve heard of the arsenic issues with infant cereals. Arsenic is taken from the irrigation water needed to produce crops, thus it appears as they grow. Rice contains some arsenic, and the amount of arsenic in it is determined by the arsenic levels in the soil and water where it is cultivated.
Rice crops absorb a lot of water, thus they absorb a lot of the inorganic arsenic that has been building up in the ground and water.
Arsenic, which may be found in baby cereal, is harmful because it can harm the central nervous system, which includes the brain and nerves. Later in adulthood, it may potentially create learning problems.
According to 2016 research, just three servings of baby cereal can increase newborn arsenic exposure. No parent wants to accidentally harm their child in this way.
Baby cereals manufactured from other grains, which are organic and non-GMO, offer no such danger. That is why I avoid white rice cereal made from inorganic rice.
Frequently Asked Questions – Baby Cereal
What cereal, other than rice, should I give my baby?
Oats, quinoa, barley, and even multi-grain cereal are all good sources of iron. The sort of cereal you feed your infant will be determined by his or her age and ability to chew and digest food. Single grains (such as rice or oatmeal) are healthier for younger babies, whereas multigrain or more complex grain alternatives are preferable for older kids.
Is rice cereal dangerous for babies?
Rice offers the benefits of being gluten-free and simple to digest, but you shouldn’t give your infant rice cereal more than once a day to avoid arsenic exposure.
Can I mix banana with rice cereal?
Yes, you can mix any fruit with baby cereal, and it is a good idea to to add those extra nutrients.
How long do babies eat rice cereal?
Normally babies do not eat rice cereal beyond 12 months. If your breastfed infant doesn’t have access to another excellent source of iron, stick to iron-fortified cereal to help them fulfill their daily iron requirements.
Is it OK to give rice cereal at night?
If you want to give your baby a bowl of cereal before bedtime to keep their belly full, you can do so.
Can I skip rice cereal and go straight to baby food?
Yes, you do not need to buy baby cereal at all.
Can a 3-month-old have oatmeal cereal?
No, your 3-month-old should not have cereal.
How do I introduce oatmeal cereal to my baby?
1 tablespoon iron-fortified single-grain baby cereal + 4 tablespoons (60 milliliters) breast milk or formula It should not be served from a bottle. Instead, after a bottle or breastfeeding, assist your infant to sit upright and provide the cereal with a little spoon once or twice a day.
Is it OK to put oatmeal cereal in baby bottle?
Putting infant oatmeal, rice cereal, or other cereal in a baby’s bottle is not recommended by the CDC.
Will Baby Cereal make my baby sleep longer?
Oatmeal is a natural source of melatonin, which aids sleep.
Does Baby Cereal help with reflux?
Reflux is an excellent example of a condition in which cereal might be useful. The inclusion of oatmeal or baby cereal can aid to weigh down and keep the swallowed liquids down, resulting in less spitting up and more calorie intake.
Best Baby Cereal Bottom Line
When you’re finally ready to feed your baby food, it’s one of the best moments of your life as a parent. There’s nothing quite like seeing your baby try for the first time to work out that mushy baby food.
It’s critical to choose the proper baby cereal because it’s one of the suggested foods to start with. You can either create your own using a baby food mixer or buy one of these fantastic baby cereals. The good news is that if your baby’s taste buds or stomach don’t like a specific cereal, switching to a different brand is simple.