How to Add Rice Cereal to Baby Formula

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How to Add Rice Cereal to Baby Formula
How to Add Rice Cereal to Baby Formula

The process of adding rice cereal to formula or breast milk is a common transition measure that parents can adopt when they want to include solid foods in their baby's diet. In general, infants can start formula rice pudding cereal between 4 and 6 months of age. These ages may vary depending on what the pediatrician or health professional recommends, and taking into account whether your child has met certain developmental goals.


Part 1 of 4: Make sure your baby is ready

Add Rice Cereal to Formula Step 1
Add Rice Cereal to Formula Step 1

Step 1. Go to your baby's pediatrician or health care professional

Talk to a healthcare professional before giving your baby solid foods. The doctor can determine if your baby has developed enough to tolerate solid foods. This is the time when you can ask questions and bring up any concerns you have about solid foods.

  • In some cases, your baby's intestinal tract may not have fully developed or he may not be able to feel full, which could cause him to overeat.
  • Don't feed your baby solid foods until the doctor recommends it.
Add Rice Cereal to Formula Step 2
Add Rice Cereal to Formula Step 2

Step 2. Wait until your baby is 4 to 6 months old

Your baby's digestive system won't be ready to process cereal until he is around 6 months old. Giving your baby cereal at a very early stage will increase the chances of her choking or inhaling the rice cereal mix and sending it to her lungs. Early exposure to cereal can also put your baby at risk of developing food allergies.

  • Your baby may be ready to try rice cereal at 4 months of age. Your doctor can help you choose what is best for your baby.
  • If your baby has a reflux problem, you could give him rice cereal before he is 4 to 6 months old. However, you should talk to your pediatrician before doing so.
  • Also, before including rice cereal in the baby's diet, he should be able to spoon-feed.
  • Feeding your baby solid foods too early can make him overweight.
Add Rice Cereal to Formula Step 3
Add Rice Cereal to Formula Step 3

Step 3. Your baby must have met the necessary developmental goals

In addition to being old enough, your baby must meet certain developmental goals before feeding him cereal. He should sit on support, be able to control his head and neck, push with his elbows in a lying position, place hands or toys in his mouth, and lean forward and open his mouth when hungry or interested in food. If your child is 6 months old, but hasn't met these goals, you may need to put off eating rice cereal.

  • It is essential that you wait until you meet these goals. These will help ensure that your baby can safely swallow the rice cereal.
  • Babies also have an extrusion reflex that causes them to lift their tongues and push objects that are placed on their lips. This reflex usually disappears between 4 and 6 months of age. If your baby has this reflex and you try to feed him cereal using a spoon, this can be frustrating and tricky.

Part 2 of 4: Adding the Rice Cereal to a Baby Bottle

Add Rice Cereal to Formula Step 4
Add Rice Cereal to Formula Step 4

Step 1. Consult with the pediatrician

Do not put rice cereal in your baby's bottle, unless the pediatrician recommends it. This is usually only done to treat babies with gastroesophageal reflux (GER). Eating cereal from a bottle can make it harder for your baby to learn to spoon-feed and can increase the risk of overeating and being overweight.

  • You can reduce reflux by holding your baby upright (that is, on your shoulders) for 20 to 30 minutes after feeding.
  • Give her a premixed "anti-reflux" formula. These formula milks contain rice starch.
  • Give him a hypoallergenic formula that does not contain cow's milk or soy, and see if your baby's reflux improves. Give it to him for a week or two.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend feeding your baby rice cereal from a bottle. However, the pediatrician is the best source to determine if your baby should consume rice cereal in this way.
Add Rice Cereal to Formula Step 5
Add Rice Cereal to Formula Step 5

Step 2. Put rice cereal in the bottle

At first, add 1 teaspoon of rice cereal for every 1 oz (30 ml) of formula milk; that is, 6 tsp. Get the bottle ready just before you plan to feed your baby. The mixture will continue to thicken if you let it sit.

  • Your doctor may recommend a different ratio of rice cereal to milk.
  • You can add up to 1 teaspoon of rice cereal to the bottle.
Add Rice Cereal to Formula Step 6
Add Rice Cereal to Formula Step 6

Step 3. Give your baby a bottle at night

The bottle with rice cereal should be your baby's last food for the night. This may help you get more sleep, as your stomach will feel more satisfied. Cut a large hole in the nipple of the bottle, as the mixture will be thicker than formula alone.

  • Don't give your baby rice cereal at every meal. Rice cereal is mostly carbohydrate and does not provide the same nutrition as formula or breast milk. Giving your baby rice cereal at every meal may decrease the amount of nutrients they get.
  • You can cut a small “x” or “y” on the bottle nipple, or you can use a larger nipple to easily introduce the milk with rice cereal.
Add Rice Cereal to Formula Step 7
Add Rice Cereal to Formula Step 7

Step 4. Monitor your baby's reaction

Pay attention to the way your baby swallows the rice cereal. If the mixture is too thick, your baby will have a hard time swallowing it and may get tired during feeding. Identify if your baby becomes constipated or begins to gain too much weight. These are the common side effects of drinking milk with rice cereal.

  • Modify the amount of rice cereal you give your baby based on what you have observed.
  • If your baby is constipated by rice cereal, you may need to give him oatmeal.
  • If you are trying to cure your baby's reflux, you should start to see results in 2-3 days. If you don't notice improvement in that time, rice cereal is probably not a suitable solution for your baby.

Part 3 of 4: Giving Your Baby Rice Cereal Using a Spoon

Add Rice Cereal to Formula Step 8
Add Rice Cereal to Formula Step 8

Step 1. Combine the rice and formula

Read the directions on the package to prepare the rice cereal. Generally, you should add 1 tablespoon (about 15 g) of rice cereal for every 4 tablespoons (60 ml) of formula or breast milk. For example, if you currently give your baby 8 tablespoons of formula, you should add 2 tablespoons of rice cereal.

  • Beat the mixture with a spoon until it has the appearance of skim milk or the consistency of soup.
  • If you have bought a rice cereal that already has formula milk, prepare it following the directions on the package. In some cases, you may just have to add water.
Add Rice Cereal to Formula Step 9
Add Rice Cereal to Formula Step 9

Step 2. Serve the rice cereal mix and formula milk with a spoon

The mixture will have the consistency of milk, but you should feed it to your baby with a small spoon. If your baby eats the mixture through a spoon, you will also prevent him from overeating and ingesting too many calories.

Your baby is used to drinking formula from a bottle; therefore, your instincts will tell you how much to drink based on the volume. However, if you add cereal and feed your baby with a spoon, this can make it harder for him to know when to stop eating

Add Rice Cereal to Formula Step 10
Add Rice Cereal to Formula Step 10

Step 3. Give a small amount at first

The first mixture that your baby consumes should be diluted. You can thicken the mixture over time. Initially, give your baby a teaspoon (5 ml) of the mixture when you finish nursing or bottle feeding. Increase the amount of the mixture little by little, from one to four tablespoons (15 to 60 ml) twice a day. This process will give your baby time to develop his ability to swallow.

  • Place the spoon close to your baby's lips and let him first smell and taste the cereal in the spoon. At first, your baby may refuse to eat.
  • If your baby is not interested in the mixture or refuses to eat it, feed it again the next day. You can also give it a more diluted mixture.
  • Your baby will likely spit out some of the cereal with his tongue from time to time, which is a natural reflex.
  • You can also give him formula or breast milk from the bottle, spoon him the rice mixture, and then finish his feeding with formula or breast milk from the bottle.
  • You can start to thicken the mixture when your baby has tolerated it adequately for 3 to 5 days.
  • Your baby will likely vomit the first few times after trying the rice cereal. Don't worry about it, just give him the rice cereal again the next day.
Add Rice Cereal to Formula Step 11
Add Rice Cereal to Formula Step 11

Step 4. Identify allergy symptoms

If the baby is allergic to the mixture, he could have bloating, vomiting, diarrhea or increased gas. If your baby suffers from any of these symptoms, stop giving the mixture until you see the doctor. See a doctor immediately if your baby has hives or difficulty breathing after consuming the mixture.

  • Your baby is more likely to have an allergic reaction if a close relative suffers from allergies, eczema, or asthma.
  • When you talk to your doctor about feeding your baby rice cereal and solid foods, tell him about your family history of food allergies.

Part 4 of 4: Consider Your Other First Food Choices

Add Rice Cereal to Formula Step 12
Add Rice Cereal to Formula Step 12

Step 1. Avoid the arsenic found in rice

Rice cereals are generally made from processed white rice. Compared to other grains, rice has a higher concentration of arsenic. Arsenic is a carcinogen (that is, it causes cancer) that can cause your child to suffer from health problems later in life. If you are concerned about exposing him to arsenic, you can give him a cereal made from other grains (eg, oats, quinoa, wheat, and barley).

  • In addition to reducing your baby's exposure to arsenic, whole grain cereal has more fiber and more nutrients than white rice cereal.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends cereals made with oats, as an alternative to those made with rice.
Add Rice Cereal to Formula Step 13
Add Rice Cereal to Formula Step 13

Step 2. Give her another first food

Rice cereal is the most common first food; however, you can also provide other foods for your baby. Finely chopped meat and pureed vegetables can be your baby's first food. Mashed avocado and cooked pears are good choices for a solid first meal.

  • It is a tradition to give a baby rice cereal; however, you can safely try other solid foods first.
  • Regardless of the solid food you provide, you must make sure that it does not contain sugar or salt.
  • Wait 3 to 5 days to return to a new food.


Always check with your baby's doctor if you are unsure or have questions

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