For the first 12 months of your child’s life, breast milk or formula will be his or her main source of nutrition. Your baby’s stomach will be still so small that a dense form of nutrition is necessary. Between the ages of 4-6 months, however, you may decide to begin feeding your baby organic baby cereals.
Organic baby cereal comes primarily in the form of oatmeal or rice cereal. Many varieties have added nutrients for your child to continue to receive dense nutrition. You may find cereals enriched with iron, DHA, or choline. Or even a combination of the three. Some cereals even have probiotic added, which helps promote beneficial gut flora. Many organic baby cereals are rich with B-vitamins as well as vitamins A, C, and E. Some have 25% daily value of 6 B-complex vitamins and zinc! The bottom line is, there are many options out there that will be beneficial to your baby.
With all this excellent nutrition, the sooner your start your child on organic baby cereals the better, right? Well, not necessarily. There are a few things you must consider before you start your child on any solid food.
A child younger than 4 months of age should not be given solid foods. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding as the only source of nutrition until about 6 months of age.
When a baby is ready to start solid foods like organic baby cereals, he or she will often begin to take an interest in food. You may find him watching you eat, or she may begin reaching for your food as you eat. These are often signs that you baby is interested and quite possibly ready to begin eating food of their own.
There are several physical developments that must take place for your baby to be able to safely eat organic baby cereal. He or she needs to be able to hold their head up well. Your baby also needs to be able to sit up well. They do not necessarily need to be able to sit on their own, but be able to at least hold themselves up with support. Finally, your baby needs to be loosing their “extrusion reflex” meaning they are able to bring food from a spoon to the back of their throat to swallow. If you attempt to feed your baby and all the organic baby cereal comes dribbling right back out of their mouth, they likely are not losing this reflex and not ready for solid food.
As the parent, you know your baby best. This list will give you some ideas of when your child might be ready for organic baby cereals, and the types of cereals you can find. But only you will know when your child is truly ready, and which cereal is best for them.