Home > Babies and Toddlers > Babies > Feeding Your Baby > Starting Solids > Timetable for Introducing Cereal to Infants
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Timetable for Introducing Cereal to Infants

Pediatrics Expert Advice from Henry Bernstein, M.D.

Q: When would you recommend starting to feed cereal to a newborn?

A: Although many grandmothers and neighbors may swear that a little cereal in their newborn's bottle helped him sleep better, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend introducing cereal and other solid foods until four to six months of age. Before that age, young infants need only breastmilk or formula.

In the first couple of months of life, a newborn generally feeds every 2 hours. If you are breastfeeding, offer up to 10-15 minutes on each breast; for formula feeding, offer about 2-3 ounces at each feeding. As your newborn gets older, she will tend to eat more at each feeding. If your infant produces 6 wet diapers a day and is gaining weight regularly, then she usually is getting enough food calories. Discuss your infant's feeding and growth with her pediatrician at each check-up.

Once your infant is between four and six months of age, she may start showing signs of readiness for solid foods. These signs include being able to support her own head, having good tongue thrust (can push food out of her mouth) and showing interest in the foods you are eating. When you feel your baby is ready and your pediatrician gives the go ahead, you can then start feeding her rice cereal, by mixing the cereal flakes with her breastmilk or formula. The familiar taste will help her accept the new food and rice cereal tends to be less allergy-provoking than some other foods.

Infants are just beginning new tastes and textures, so do not be surprised if she initially rejects your attempts. Be sure to try again in a few minutes. Once she gets used to the rice cereal, increase the quantity slowly. After rice cereal is accepted, you can then introduce oat or barley cereal followed by vegetables, fruit, and then finally meat. Introduce new foods one at a time in order to watch for any food allergies. Always wait a few days before introducing another new food. By doing so, you can watch for any diarrhea, bloating, rashes, or other signs or symptoms that may occur because of an allergic reaction to a food.

Soon enough you will be cleaning up pureed peas and carrots from the kitchen floor. In the meantime, enjoy breastfeeding or formula from a bottle until she is ready for solid foods.

More on: Expert Advice

Henry Bernstein, M.D., is currently the associate chief of the Division of General Pediatrics and director of Primary Care at Children's Hospital, Boston. He also has an academic appointment at Harvard Medical School.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

3 Fun Thanksgiving Games for Kids
Looking for some great Thanksgiving games to play with your kids? Print our free Pin the Feathers on the Turkey game, Pin the Hat on the Pilgrim game, and Thanksgiving Parade Bingo game for loads of laughs this Turkey Day!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top Family Movies in Theaters for the Holidays
Taking the kids to the movies is a special family treat for the holidays! Don't miss 2014's best family films in theaters from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!