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Babies’ diet, during their first 6 months, will probably consist of breast milk or formula. Their digestive systems are not ready to take anything but milk or formula before 4 months, but you may want to introduce them to some solid foods between 4 and 6 months. Some parents start the introduction to solid foods by adding cereal to their baby’s bottle. However, there is research that proves that’s not a good method. Some of the reasons why you shouldn’t put cereal in your baby’s bottle are:
- Cereal can raise their risk of choking
- Cereal can make the liquid thicker and that can develop a difficulty for your baby to differentiate solid foods apart from liquid foods, making it hard for your baby to start eating solid foods.
- If you were thinking about putting rice cereal into your baby’s bottle, another risk is that rice has higher levels of arsenic in it as compared to other cereals and grains. Arsenic is a carcinogen that is linked to different diseases. Even low levels can affect your baby’s development.
When you start thinking if you should introduce the solids to your baby, you need to make sure they are ready for it. Some signs will be: they can support their head steadily on their own, can sit upright without help and can grab objects. If you want to try feeding them some cereal, you should do it with a small baby spoon. You can mix 1 tablespoon of single-ingredient, iron fortified cereal with 4 tablespoons of baby formula or breast milk. Once your baby is sitting upright, you can offer them about a teaspoon of the cereal. As your baby learns to swallow and manage the cereal, you can increase the thickness over time. If they enjoy the food, you can try giving them a little more. If they are not interested, don’t force it, you can try again another day. Once they mastered cereal, you can try giving them pureed fruit or veggies with no added ingredients. It is better to give them one kind of fruit or vegetable at a time. You can also try giving your baby pureed meat. You should wait 5 days after introducing each food to check for a reaction.