If your little one is learning to eat rice cereal, you might be wondering how to transition to baby food. One way to do this is by mixing rice cereal with baby food. Combining rice cereal with baby food gives your baby additional nutrients. It’s also an excellent way to help your baby get familiar with new flavors and textures.
When Should Babies Eat Rice Cereal?
You might be wondering how many months old babies should be when they start eating rice cereal and other solids. Rice cereal and baby food are considered solid foods. Your baby can begin eating solids when they are about six months old.
Signs Baby Is Ready For Solids
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are specific signs you should look for to know whether your baby is ready to eat solid foods. These include:
- Your baby should be able to hold their head up on their own.
- Your baby should be able to respond by opening their mouth when food is nearby.
- Your baby should be able to swallow food from a spoon.
- Your baby should be double their birth weight.
As always, you should consult your child’s pediatrician if you have any concerns about feeding your child solid foods. Your child’s pediatrician can offer expert advice and help with any issues that might turn up.
Preparing Rice Cereal
When you’re making your baby’s rice cereal, you should mix the rice cereal with water. You should follow the rice cereal packaging guidelines to know how much water to add to the mixture.
You can adjust this if you would like to make thicker or thinner food for your baby. When you add baby food to the rice cereal, you may need to make adjustments depending on the baby food’s consistency.
How to Mix Rice Cereal with Baby Food
After your baby adjusts to eating rice cereal, you can start feeding them rice cereal mixed with baby food. There are several benefits of combining the two as your baby begins eating solids.
When you mix baby food and rice cereal, you have a couple of options. You may purchase prepared baby foods like pureed fruit or vegetables, or you can make them yourself. If following the baby lead weaning approach, you can introduce a variety of solids along side rice or whole grain cereals.
There is no specific order to follow when introducing your baby to different types of foods. You can start with whichever protein, fruit, or vegetable you would like to.
The recommendation is to add as little as one tablespoon of baby food to a single serving of rice cereal. Over time, you can add more baby food to the infant cereal if preferred.
Some Benefits of Mixing Rice Cereal with Baby Foods
As mentioned, there are several reasons that you should mix rice cereal and baby food for your baby. This may be an essential part of your baby’s journey of trying additional solids.
Trying New Textures
First, mixing rice cereal with baby food can help your baby get familiar with different flavors and textures. Mixing something familiar with something new helps draw the curiosity to the new item on the menu.
If your child only eats rice cereal, they will only be familiar with a single flavor and texture. Different types of fruits and vegetables help expose your little one to even more textures and flavors, essential for a baby’s development.
Next, mixing rice cereal with baby foods or coating a new solid is helpful for your baby to get additional nutrients.
While fortified rice cereal contains several nutrients like iron and calcium, different fruits and vegetables contain an even greater variety of nutrients.
If your baby doesn’t like rice cereal, no need to worry! You can start your little one with any puree or safe solid if you follow the baby lead weaning approach to feeding your six-month-old.
Precautions to Take When Feeding Baby Baby Food
Be Mindful of Allergic Reactions
When you begin the solid food journey with your baby, it’s okay to try a variety of new types of food at each meal. When you’re introducing a common allergen, it is critical to avoid trying any other new foods at that meal.
For example, focus on feeding your baby a high protein food like eggs exclusively rather than trying both eggs and peanut butter on the same day.
The purpose of this is to help you identify any adverse reactions, such as an allergic reaction.
Once you are sure that your baby doesn’t respond poorly to a specific type of food, you can continue to build on the list of foods your little one enjoys.
For some families, keeping track of what foods your baby consumes and how they react to each food can help you to identify any adverse reactions quickly.
Avoid Adding Extra Salt or Sugar
If you choose to make baby food at home, be careful about what you add to the purees. Babies don’t need additional sugar or salt in their foods.
Added sugar can cause tooth decay from an early age, and added salt is not good for your baby’s kidneys.
Try to season foods with spices or fresh herbs rather than with extra salt or sugar. Having a variety of flavors helps your little one’s palate grow!
Prepare All Foods Safely
If you make your baby’s food at home, you should also make it safely. You will need to remove any pits from the fruits and vegetables because they can pose a choking hazard.
Additionally, be sure to wash your hands, fruits, and vegetables well, prepare foods on a clean surface, and cook foods thoroughly.
Finally, be cautious to avoid cross-contamination to avoid food poisoning! Keep raw meats away from all other foods when preparing meals.
Signs of a Baby Food Allergy
When you’re feeding your baby a new flavor of baby food, you should look for the following reactions, which are signs of food allergies:
- Flushed skin
- Rash or Eczema
- Mouth or face swelling
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Difficulty breathing
If you notice these issues while feeding, stop mealtime and seek immediate medical attention.
How Long Should You Mix Rice Cereal with Baby Food?
Most babies will only eat rice cereal for a short time, maybe even as little as a few weeks! It varies by baby, as all babies are different and develop at their own pace.
Typically, babies will begin to refuse rice cereal as they explore solids. Solid food items are more interesting as they come in various shapes, sizes, and textures. Plus, babies get to try what their loved ones are eating.
If your baby loses interest in baby food and rice cereal, it’s normal and nothing to worry about. This is a sign that your baby is developing and is ready to try solids.
Alternatives to Rice Cereal
It’s important to feed your baby more than just rice cereal. Rice cereal does not have enough health benefits to be eaten exclusively.
Foods rich in protein like eggs, meat, chicken, whole-fat dairy, and even tuna are excellent first foods for babies.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise against feeding too much rice cereal, as it poses an arsenic risk. For this reason, you should also offer your baby oats, barley, and a variety of other multi-grains.
As with rice cereal, you can mix baby food with any of the mentioned alternatives. All of the guidelines mentioned previously apply.
Feeding your baby a variety of infant cereals along with fruits, vegetables, and proteins can help them get used to a wide range of textures and flavors.
Familiarizing your little one with rice cereals and other foods is a great way to add more nutrients to your baby’s diet and get your baby interested in new flavors and textures.
Be sure to follow any recommendations from your baby’s pediatrician to ensure your baby eats safely.
If you have any concerns, talk to your baby’s pediatrician.