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Baby Cereal - The Ideal First Food for Infants

When your pediatrician gives you permission to start introducing solids to your newborn, typically around 4-6 weeks, one of the more popular first dishes to attempt is baby cereals. These small, soft, gooey concoctions are typically made with a combination of different cereals, such as rice, wheat, oats, and whole grains. There are many varieties of baby cereals available, and the type you choose should be determined by your baby's nutritional needs. This will probably be determined by the ages of your babies. Young babies may require a more liquid and digestible cereal, while older babies may benefit more from a firmer, more solid food.

Baby Cereal

 

One of the best known varieties of baby cereals is rice cereal, which has many nutritional benefits. First, it contains high levels of calcium, iron, zinc, and other beneficial vitamins. Also, rice cereal is a great source of protein, with proteins found in egg whites, beef, fish, and poultry. If you're concerned about iron deficiency during pregnancy, rice cereal is a great source of iron.

 

Another version of this classic baby cereal is made with flax seed, which has similar properties to rice and is a good source of dietary fiber. Flax seed is also high in omega 3 fatty acids. Other beneficial ingredients are: pectin, which help to regulate gas and stomach acidity; magnesium, which promote bone growth and development; and folic acid, which provide vital protection against birth defects. Baby cereals that are made without all of these healthy ingredients are often a bad idea. You want to start your baby on a wide variety of healthy foods so they grow up healthily. Look for cereals that are made from whole grains or other whole foods, include vegetables and have a milder flavor.

 

Many parents wonder if starting solids at a very young age is healthy or not. The fact is, when babies begin eating cereal, they're receiving all of the nutrients they'll need. Whether it's rice cereal, flavored rice cereal, or a rice-based product, you're providing your baby with everything they need for a balanced diet.

 

However, it's not enough to just serve baby cereal as a dessert after a meal. Even though they've already absorbed the majority of the nutrients in the food, you should still offer them a couple of tiny cups of water to dilute the food a bit. If you don't, you're leaving them on a very tight schedule with their nutrition. It can take up to four months before your baby can absorb all of the vitamins and minerals in a standard commercial brand of formula. In order for your child to get all of the nutrients they need, you need to start them on a solid food routine at an early age.

 

A good way to start them on solid foods is with pureed fruits and vegetables. Bananas, apples, carrots, squash, beets, peas, okra, carrots, spinach, carrots, corn, potatoes, and even avocados are all excellent choices when blending into the pureed baby cereal. While many parents fear that these meats will stick to their babies' teeth, there have been very few studies conducted where this has been proven. In fact, many experts suggest that blending these meats into a pureed product is one of the best ways to ensure your child is getting the right amount of nutrition.

 

Some parents worry about giving solids to their child because of the high amounts of calories and fat that are found in some of these products. Although there may be some truth to the fears, the types of fats that your baby will be consuming through their first year of life are much lower than what you would typically find in traditional foods. Furthermore, most baby cereals contain the vitamins and minerals your infant needs for healthy growth. It is not necessary to give your baby the "whole" equivalent of your everyday meal. Quality infant cereal can contain all of the nutrients your child needs and still be lower in calories than many adults prefer.

 

One last benefit to giving your baby cereal is that it can help introduce stronger nutrients into their system. Unlike breast milk, which will only provide baby with the basic nutrients they need, the cereal will help stimulate their intestines and help increase the amount of nutrients that are absorbed by their bodies. A quality infant formula or breast milk can contain only twenty to thirty percent protein, whereas baby cereals can go up to fifty percent. As a result, you will be providing your child with an ideal first food from their first meal of life.