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Why I Never Fed My Baby Rice Cereal

Rice cereal is one of those foods that’s questionable when giving it to babies. It doesn’t make you a bad parent if you have given your baby that food, but it is good to know everything you can about rice cereal. Being educated as a parent is the best thing you can do for your baby.

With my oldest I really just did what my parents and grandparents told me because I didn’t know what I was doing as a new parent and figured they knew better than I did. But, the second time around was different. When my youngest son became old enough to eat solids, I read everything I could and I came to the conclusion I would never feed him rice cereal and I truly never did.

If you are on the fence about it, here are reasons why I never fed my baby rice cereal and reasons why you may not want to either. Once you know the reasons behind my decision, you can decide what is best for you and your baby.

Why I Never Fed My Baby Rice Cereal

Why I Never Fed My Baby Rice Cereal

It doesn’t help babies sleep longer

There seems to be some myth that giving cereal in bottles will help babies sleep longer. However, more and more studies are showing that it doesn’t help babies sleep longer. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics cautions that doing this could put your baby at risk for excess weight gain, because her or she can wind up getting more calories than they need (you can read about that here). All baby typically needs for the first six months is milk from the mama (or formula).

Rice cereal can be a choking hazard

In order to get your baby to suck down rice cereal in a bottle, you usually have to cut a bigger nipple. How can this be good for baby? It could actually cause choking especially if you try feeding your baby this way during nap and sleep times.

It’s just a filler

If we’re being honest here, rice cereal has little to no nutritional value, it’s simply something to use as a filler. Most moms give their babies rice cereal because they think it’s a great first food and sometimes to help add iron into their diet. But studies have shown otherwise. Meats, fruits, and veggies are actually good first foods (and can be a better way to get iron).


Rice cereal isn’t all that healthy

Again, this article isn’t to make anyone feel bad, it’s all about the fact. Rice cereal has been proven to be not that healthy for your baby. There are tons of sugars and grains in rice cereal that aren’t great for baby. Not to mention, many contain chemicals to help extend it’s shelf life. One dangerous chemical found: Arsenic. Don’t believe me? Read the advice from the AAP here.

Next time you grab a box of rice cereal look at the ingredients, they do contain many in which you probably can’t even pronounce. If you can’t pronounce it, do you really want to feed it to your baby? I sure don’t!

Photo Credit: Walmart
  • Rice cereal can be an early cause of early obesity- As I mentioned early, the AAP cautions it can cause excessive weight gain. Not only are you basically handing your child sugar when you give them rice cereal, but it can lead to obesity and even diabetes later in life. In fact, a 2010 study published in Arch Intern Med found that those who ate white rice 5 or more times a week had a 17% increased risk of type 2 diabetes compared with those who ate it less than once a month. Avoid it if at all possible to help give them a healthy start to life.
  • Formula & breastmilk is best- Keep in mind that the standards for when you feed baby solids is now 6 months. Most babies can’t handle food until they reach that point. Even then, starting them out with wholesome, organic foods like fruits and vegetables can be exactly what they need to get started on a healthy lifestyle.
    Why I Never Fed My Baby Rice Cereal Featured
  • Again, this article isn’t mean to be a “parent shaming” post. I realize that rice cereal has been a standing tradition and something our parents used when we we were little (mine used it with me).

    But we have to remember that as time has changed, our foods have become more processed then ever and if our food industry isn’t going to set standards on foods for our children, maybe it’s time we do it ourselves.

    If you don’t choose to avoid rice cereal altogether, then consider doing your research on certified organic options that can be much healthier for your baby.

    So what do you think? Do you feed rice cereal to your baby?

    Want another great read? Check out 10 tips for being an awesome mom!

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    Wednesday 23rd of November 2016

    All 3 of my kids had horrible reflux and with the first, did cereal, with the second, meds, and the last we found that plain goats milk did the trick. Just added vitamin powder to the milk once a day and he cleared right up. Just wanted to state that I didn't come up with this idea on my own, it was recommended by our pediatrician. And the last baby never ate any type of baby food. Just went from milk to whatever I was eating at around 7 months old.


    Monday 20th of February 2017

    Completely agree. I used it with my first but I'd never do it again. I've started my other two on tasteless food like Avo and weatbix. And mostly veggies until she creates more of a taste my middle son also has an amazing wide spread choice of different foods and my first who got started on that disgusting fruit shit and was fed mostly premade baby packet food is a terrible eater.


    Monday 29th of August 2016

    My wife and I had preemie twins this past April (they were 10 weeks early). We spent a lot of time in the NICU (73 days for one, 84 for the other). Rice cereal was the major factor that got us out of there, although I still would generally agree with your article.

    We had to use rice cereal because they had swallowing issues. It isn't a choking hazard and actually helped them swallow (their poor swallowing reflexes made them choke often on breast milk). Nursing homes use the same concept for older people that have a hard time swallowing. The thicker consistency actually helps them. Our doctors and nurses compared it to trying to chug a bottle of water compared to a milkshake. You have to move a lot slower with a milkshake because of it's thickness, which makes you less prone to choke.

    With all that said, the first couple weeks of them at home and on rice cereal were terrible. Their bodies and digestive system were much too small for the rice cereal and any gas/poop was met with terrible crying. It was soooo much better when they were finally cleared to have breast milk without the rice cereal as that passed through their system much easier. If it wasn't for their swallowing issues we definitely wouldn't have used it - good insight from your article on the rest of the points!


    Monday 29th of August 2016

    It tastes like wet cardboard, so we started with regular oats, cinnamon, raisins, and yogurt--which they still eat for breakfast every day.


    Saturday 27th of August 2016

    I fed all my kids rice cereal starting at 4 problems at all...their pediatrician gave me the go ahead because my kids were healthy and had no health issues. With that said I'm so glad there is so much research for this...honestly there is nothing wrong with rice cereal. These kids are going to grow up eatting things like McDonald's, hot dogs, candy, and yup even our friend CORN which also has no actual nutritional value either. Btw may I please state that when you start your kids on baby food you should ALWAYS start them on veggies and feed them the same food for at least 3 days before tryng a new food....if you start on fruit, baby will likely not eat veggies because they have aquired a taste for the sweet stuff. Just is crazy how people will mommy shame just because they read something somewhere. Do what is right for your kid....not what is right for you or because you "want" to. It is all about the baby...all mommy's get kudos from me no matter what because it is so hard to be sure what you're doing is "right". Do what you do, and do it with your child's best interest at heart.


    Thursday 1st of December 2016

    Ha, fun stuff! 3 days of the same food in a row... My kiddo would just plainly not accept that. He'd eat anything, but never more than once a week. Second time around (even freshly prepared each time), he'd just spit it out and look very disappointed at me. So I just boiled whichever veggie we were eating for him. Never had trouble with him.

    In addition, our kid hated the rice stuff too. He loved the texture and liked to play with a mouthful or 2, but that was it. Also, this is just plain rice flour in breastmilk, because reasons.


    Saturday 3rd of September 2016

    Why exactly are kids necessarily going to grow up eating Mcdonalds and Hot dogs and Candy??? All of those things are TERRIBLE for you! I don't feed my daughter those things except for VERY rarely on a special occasion like a birthday or a party. I don't think saying it's ok to feed kids rice cereal (which is full of sugar) bc they're going to be eating fast food later anyways is a good argument....


    Saturday 25th of June 2016

    It also cause constipation. I've experienced with my son and now give him oatmeal and fruits and veggies