Infant Cereal: A Fortified First Food
New moms and dads know that choosing how to feed their baby can be a big decision! Here are some tips for managing the transition as your baby starts showing signs of readiness for solid foods, and how to use infant cereal as an ideal starting point!
What to Feed an Infant (0-4 months)
- Your baby’s instinct is to turn toward a nipple to find nourishment, and since baby’s digestive tract is still developing, liquid food like breastmilk or formula will provide all of the necessary nutrients baby needs as she grows and develops.
- For more information and advice about breastfeeding and formula-feeding, talk to your pediatrician or research on a trusted site like BabyCenter to learn more about what to expect. Here’s a great article about how to tell if baby is getting enough breastmilk, for example.
Transitioning to Solids: Try Starting with Infant Cereal
- Around 4-6 months, your baby may start to show signs of readiness to try solid foods, such as holding her head up, sitting upright in a chair, or a tongue-thrust instinct. Many families start to introduce complementary foods like infant cereal in addition to breastmilk or formula, especially if the baby is perceived as fussy.
- According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it’s important to introduce babies and children to a wide variety of tastes and textures, and that’s where Beech-Nut® can help! We offer three types of infant cereal and dozens of Stage 1 fruit & veggie purees to start offering to your little one to encourage an interest in diverse foods.
- How much food should you start with? According to our friends at BabyCenter, here are some guidelines: At feeding time, start with about 1 teaspoon pureed food or infant cereal (such as rice cereal or oatmeal cereal), and mix it with 4-5 teaspoons of breastmilk or formula. (The consistency will be very runny!) Later on, you can increase to 1 tablespoon of pureed food, or 1 tablespoon of cereal mixed with breast milk or formula, twice a day. If you’re giving cereal, gradually thicken the consistency by using less liquid.
- Ensure your child is in an upright position to help make swallowing easier.
The Benefits of Infant Cereal
- Our cereals are fortified with nutrients that will support baby’s development, such as 45% of baby’s daily value of iron, which is crucial for early brain development. Other nutrients include calcium, folate, and zinc to support baby’s immune system. These nutrients can help supplement baby’s needs as she is transitioning off breastmilk or formula, for example.
- The cereal is completely cooked already; you just need to mix it into something liquidy such as breastmilk, formula, water, or pureed food to add in additional nutrients.
- Some parents believe the heft of cereal & added texture will help fill baby’s belly and help her sleep through the night.
- Beech-Nut® infant cereals are packaged in a convenient BPA-free plastic canister that helps you measure, pour, mix, and store the cereal. Here’s what to do to serve our cereal:
- Pour desired amount into cap and transfer to a bowl. Start with a tablespoon or so and then add more cereal as baby’s appetite grows over time.
- Stir in breastmilk, formula, or water.
- You can microwave the blend if desired. Warm it at medium power (50% power) for 15-30 seconds, and then stir. Always test the food yourself before feeding to baby, to ensure it’s not too hot!
Using our Infant Cereal is Easy as 1, 2, 3!
Infant Cereals from Beech-Nut®
- Stage 1 Rice Cereal: single-grain rice is known for being very smooth and gentle for baby. This texture is easy to swallow and is often the first food chosen.
- Stage 1 Oatmeal Cereal (also in Organic): whole grain cereal is mild in flavor and easily accepted by baby.
- Stage 2 Multigrain Cereal (also in Organic): a blend of whole wheat, oat, and rice flour. Heartier texture to help baby continue to explore new tastes.
Part of the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC™) program in your state? You can see which Beech-Nut® infant cereals are eligible in your state by looking at our WIC™ food finder tool. Depending on your state, rice, oatmeal, and/or multigrain cereal will be available to you.