How to Feed a Baby Rice Cereal
Most pediatricians agree that babies are ready to start solid foods at around six months of age. Some babies develop more quickly than others do, so a range of 4-6 months is more accurate. How do you know if your baby is ready? He or she must be able to sit up with little support, hold the head upright without wobbling, push food from the front to the back of the mouth with the tongue and show interest in being spoon fed by opening the mouth as a spoon of food approaches. You can start feeding your infant rice cereal when these requirements are met. Here's how to start incorporating this food into baby's diet.
Preparing the Rice Cereal
Pediatricians recommend that parents start with rice cereal because it is fortified with iron and is unlikely to cause food allergies or sensitivities. To start feeding your baby rice cereal, first mix one tablespoon of cereal with enough breast milk or formula to create a smooth texture with the consistency of cream. Some babies may need the mixture to be thinned out a little more with liquid. There is no need to heat the cereal; in fact, doing so can produce hot spots that can burn the baby's mouth.
Feeding the Baby
Choose a time when your infant is hungry to introduce rice cereal. He should not be so hungry that he tries to eat quickly. Give your infant some breast milk or formula first to prevent this. Sit the baby upright for feeding. Using a small, narrow spoon, feed small amounts of rice cereal to your infant. It's normal for some of the food to be spat back out; it takes time to learn how to chew and swallow solid foods.
Things to Remember
Avoid using a dropper, syringe or bottle to feed your infant rice cereal. Though once thought to help babies sleep through the night, this can actually lead to overeating or choking. It also doesn't teach your infant how to eat solids with a spoon. Never force your baby to finish a bottle or solid foods. Throw leftover cereal away after your child is finished eating.