Introducing Solids to Your Baby, Starting with Corn Cereal

By Melissa Rifkin, MS, RD, CDN

Introducing Solids to Your Baby, Starting with Corn Cereal

Melissa Rifkin is a Connecticut-based Registered Dietitian with over 15 years of experience working in the clinical setting and running the popular, nutrition-education Instagram account, @confessionofadietitian. Melissa hopes to show that healthy meals and snacks do not have to be time consuming and can be made to work for the whole family. Melissa is mom to Max, 2, and infant, Leo, and uses her platform to share practical tips for managing motherhood and feeding kiddos. 

If you have a little one at home and you are stumped on how to start introducing them to solid foods, you’ve come to the right place! As a mom of two little boys and as a Registered Dietitian, introducing new foods to my kiddos has been one of my favorite stages of parenthood so far. Not only do I understand the nutritional importance of eating a balanced diet packed with a variety of foods, but I have seen, firsthand, how exposing new eaters to a variety of textures and flavors can promote healthy eating habits. When choosing first foods to introduce to your infant, there are many options, and I will explain why I recommend corn cereal as a first food. 🌽👶🏽

You have likely seen rice cereal recommended as a popular first food option for new eaters. (You may have even started your solid foods journey with rice cereal, yourself!) In the 1930’s, it became common to introduce infant cereals to new eaters around 5-6 months of age. This practice was based on research that found iron levels in infants decreased between 6 months and two years of age. (More on that topic here!) Rice cereal fortified with iron grew to the default option for infants. Further, it was an unlikely grain to pose food allergy risks.

Meet Beech-Nut Golden Corn Maize Cereal

This new, ground corn flour baby cereal is a Stage 1 food for infants and can be offered at around 4 months and up, or when advised by your child’s pediatrician. When mixed with breastmilk, formula, water, or Beech-Nut baby food puree, it features a creamy, easy-to-digest texture for babies just starting solids.

Beech-Nut’s Golden Corn Maize cereal also contains 60% of the recommended daily value of Iron, 25% of Zinc, and 20% of Vitamin D. Lastly, Golden Corn Maize cereal contains no artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, nor added salt.


Which Infant Cereal is better—Corn Cereal vs. Rice Cereal? 


When comparing grains you may introduce to your infant, it is important to note not all grains are created equally. When comparing corn and rice, there is a nutritional difference.

corn flour 


Essential Amino Acids for Babies (Protein)

Protein is an essential nutrient required at all stages of life. The quality of protein can be determined by the variety of amino acids it contains.1 A “complete” protein is one that contains all 10 essential amino acids (“EAAs”). EAAs are considered essential because they must be consumed through our diets, as our bodies are not able to make adequate amounts of them themselves. According to Dr. Michael Lustgarten, a Professor of Nutrition at Tufts University, corn contains 75% higher total amounts of EAAs than brown rice, when measured in 100 calories of their whole grain formats.2

“Branched chain” amino acids, which are all considered to be nutritionally essential, are also found in higher amounts in corn compared to brown rice. These specific amino acids are important in the role of muscle protein synthesis within the body.3

When it comes to quality of protein, corn is a superior grain compared to brown rice.


Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease in Children

Corn cereal may also be helpful in improving reflux symptoms in infants. Many children diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) experience symptoms such as vomiting and poor weight gain. Current recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics endorse the thickening of formula or milk as a treatment for infants with GERD.4 Thickening is often achieved with rice cereal, but 2008 research indicates thickening with cornstarch may also help alleviate GERD symptoms by reducing vomiting.5 Additional research needs to be conducted to determine how formula thickened with corn cereal or cornstarch can help with other GERD symptoms, like increasing weight gain.

When your child is ready to start solids, corn cereal has a place in his or her diet. The combination of nutrients, texture, and ease of preparation makes Beech-Nut’s Golden Corn Maize cereal a great, go-to option for new eaters.

  1. Hoffman JR, Falvo MJ. Protein – Which is Best? J Sports Sci Med. 2004 Sep 1;3(3):118-30. PMID: 24482589; PMCID: PMC3905294.
  2. Dr. Michael Lustgarten, Scientist II, Nutrition, Exercise Physiology, and Sarcopenia Laboratory, Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston MA 02111
  3. Newsholme EA, Blomstrand E. Branched-chain amino acids and central fatigue. J Nutr. 2006 Jan;136(1 Suppl):274S-6S. doi: 10.1093/jn/136.1.274S. PMID: 16365097
  4. Lightdale JR, Gremse DA; Section on Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition. Gastroesophageal reflux: management guidance for the pediatrician. Pediatrics. 2013 May;131(5):e1684-95. doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-0421. Epub 2013 Apr 29. PMID: 23629618.
  5. American Academy of Pediatrics; Section on Ophthalmology; American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology And Strabismus; American Academy of Ophthalmology; American Association of Certified Orthoptists. Red reflex examination in neonates, infants, and children. Pediatrics. 2008 Dec;122(6):1401-4. doi: 10.1542/peds.2008-2624. Erratum in: Pediatrics. 2009 Apr;123(4):1254. PMID: 19047263.