Description: Although pediatricians recommend baby cereal, how healthy is it anyway? Learn the truth about baby cereal and what the best baby products are for your youngster.
In case you didn’t know this, babies usually start showing signs that may indicate a readiness for solid food. In these scenarios, we tend to consult your baby pediatrician, and their first advice would be to start feeding baby cereal food to your little one. Let’s go deeper into the scientific facts of this topic and settle this once and for all.
What Is Baby Cereal Made Of?
- 1 What Is Baby Cereal Made Of?
- 2 When Is It Recommended to Use Baby Cereal?
- 3 Why Is Rice Baby Cereal Not So Good?
- 4 About Your Baby’s Digestive System
- 5 Other Best Foods than Baby Cereal
Although at first glance, you would say that baby cereal is made all out of plain rice. Natural baby cereal that you find in the supermarkets or at any general store in your area also contains vitamins like folic acid (known as the vitamin B9), ferrous sulfate (known as iron), and the classic ascorbic acid (which stands for the vitamin C).
Manufacturers are starting to offer a more extensive selection of types of baby cereal, even organic baby cereal, which turns out it’s not so much better.
Baby rice cereal can be found made out of brown rice that is usually processed into a wat what is smooth for the baby’s palate, and it’s easy to prepare for the parents.
When Is It Recommended to Use Baby Cereal?
Most of the pediatricians will recommend you to start feeding your kid with baby cereal with iron around the age of 4 to 6 months. If your kid has problems with sleeping, then your pediatrician may recommend giving baby cereal for the first time even earlier, as it can bring balance into his sleeping schedule.
As it is similar to the oatmeal baby cereal used by moms all over the world, doctors are urging mothers to add some formula and rice baby-cereal to their baby’s bottle as it will help in keeping him full while also help him sleep throughout the night. When to feed baby cereal to your little one is up to you, but it’s indicated to be done at least once a day.
Why Is Rice Baby Cereal Not So Good?
A piece of general knowledge that you should possess is that you can naturally find arsenic in our soil and water, which is something healthy. What is not so typical is the fact that it can become highly concentrated because of the farming practices involving using herbicides and pesticides in the fields.
This practice can lead to the contamination of the soil and water with excessive arsenic, which then floods the rice fields as it is brought over by the irrigation water. It is how you can end up with arsenic in baby cereal without even realizing it.
Even though there are manufacturers who claim to grow rice organically, the rice is still susceptible to large amounts of arsenic, as the growing environment brought by pesticides is necessary for this day and age. According to results, both brown and white rice have been discovered to contain arsenic.
As opposed to homemade oatmeal cereal for baby, eating the rice that is grown in industrial quantities by private manufacturers can be a threat.
About Your Baby’s Digestive System
The only negative aspect, and why you should be extra careful over the baby cereal ingredients, is that your baby might not be so ready for eating grains just yet.
Our bodies have amylase, an enzyme that is mandatory for digesting starch and grains, like baby cereal. This enzyme is produced in minimal amounts when we are a baby, and it keeps producing more substantial quantities as we age.
By the time the baby reaches around three months old, you should know that his salivary amylase levels will be at about 66% percent the average amount that is found in the saliva of an adult. So the baby is not yet ready to eat baby cereal for 4-month-old.
Only at around 8 months old, the pancreatic amylase will reach full levels.
Rice Cereal Is
Baby eating cereal is not whole grain for apparent reasons, as we just discussed above. Baby cereal is being highly processed only until the point where it is converted into flakes that are light and are ready for immediate consumption. The reason behind this process is to truly offer a convenient food that can be done in a matter of minutes by just stirring it into the formula or milk while at the same time stripping the few nutritional values that it had.
Low in Nutrition
Baby cereal for 5-month-old or even the rest of the versions is notorious for the lack of nutrition it brings. That is why a significant majority of the baby cereal manufacturers have come to the standard solution of fortifying the baby cereal with synthetic vitamins.
The levels of Omega-6s are pretty high, as they are known for causing diseases and inflammations. The upsetting news about it is that the organic version may even contain soy lecithin, and soy lecithin can cause several allergies if introduced to a newborn baby.
Full of Folic Acid
As we have touched on this issue earlier in the article, baby cereal products have high levels of synthetic vitamins, which can prove to be hard to digest and maybe not so bioavailable as you would say. While it is known that folate is a pretty necessary nutrient for our bodies, folic acid, on the other hand, is the more dangerous replacement.
Regardless if we are talking about baby cereal for 6 months old baby or a different age, folic acid can cause health issues or thyroid damage.
Fortified With Iron
Baby cereal is being fortified with iron, in case you were not aware of this aspect, while dietitians and pediatricians will say that iron has a lower-than-desired level in our baby’s food.
Although it is true that eh breast milk may not be so high in iron, there are scientists out there that believe this happens with a good reason. If all the newborn babies suffered from delayed cord clamping right after their birth, they would receive an excellent iron source.
In the U.S, the amount of iron that was found in baby formula is two times as much as Europe uses. But as it is known, if you will start indulging in foods that have high levels of iron, this type of nutrition will be passed on to your kid, via your breastmilk.
Iron is an essential ingredient in baby cereal foods.
It will be yet another reason why baby cereal is recommended to kids, and that is for its tasteless, bland taste. Although most of the babies will indeed receive different flavors when they taste the breast milk, and that will also vary due to your diets.
Baby cereal will help you in introducing your kids to all sorts of healthy foods when he will grow up. You not be limited by the sweet carbs that are known for often leading to poor diet choices in adult’s lives.
Other Best Foods than Baby Cereal
So far, in our article, we have reached and touched specific points about the origins of cereal foods, what they are made of, and what effect they will have on our children if we use it as a diet option.
Maybe, after careful considerations, you will decide rice baby cereal will not be your choice for your baby.
In this case, we might suggest nutrient-dense foods (mostly animal foods), as seeds and grains might not be recommended until after the kids turn two years, of course, and if they are carefully prepared.
Right foods for the first time would be:
- Egg yolk that was gently cooked, maybe even a little bit runny. Cook it in butter and serve it mixed or chopped with other foods on the side. Perhaps you would want to bring in some sea salt for a good taste and a good source of minerals. Do not give the kid the egg white until after he turns 1.
- An organic beef liver that has been pureed or grated.
- Mashed fruits like ripe avocados or ripe bananas, as fruits are known to be high in pectin. More examples are pears, apples, plums, and peaches that should be cooled before feeding them to the baby.
Conclusion: Baby cereal is not necessarily the best option when you create your kid’s diet, especially before they turn one year, as the digestive system is a bit more sensible than an adult one.
How did you establish your baby’s diet, and what ingredients did you use?
We would love it if you could drop by in the comments and share with us your experiences and stories, and maybe other fresh parents will find your opinion helpful.
Author’s Bio: Richie is a journalist and a writer in our publication, as he just recently moved from Boston. He decided it’s time to follow his passion for doing journalism, and decided to leave his job as an IT programmer and start in a new city, with a new passion for lasting the ages.