Welcome to Part 5 of my 8 part series: A Dietitian’s Guide to Infant Cereal. My goal in writing this series is to provide you with the education you need about these cereals to make an informed choice about when and what cereals you’d like to feed your baby. To stay connected with me and receive updates on this series, subscribe via RSS, or like Smart Nutrition on facebook!
So you’ve been making your own pureed baby food this whole time, and that’s great! There are numerous benefits to making your own baby food:
- All the ingredients are handpicked by you
- The food options are endless: you aren’t limited to the foods the manufacturers have chosen for babies
- Control over the texture: you can gradually change the texture to challenge your baby’s developing eating skills
- You’re going to save a ton of money!
You might as well make your own baby cereal too, right?
Home Made Baby Food, Yes… Home Made Baby Cereal, No?
First, let’s back it up and talk about why we start babies on solid foods. It’s because…
- their iron stores from the womb are running out and they aren’t getting enough iron from their liquid diet (breastmilk or formula)
- they’re developmentally ready to start learning how to eat
This all happens when a baby is 4-6 months old.
So the ideal food to feed baby when they are first starting out on solids is high in iron. Some foods that are naturally high in iron include:
- cooked egg yolks
- cooked meat, poultry, and fish
- legumes such as black beans, chickpeas, lentils, edamame beans, or tofu
These are all great options to make at home! Check out this recipe for a homemade beef stew for baby.
Missing In Action – Iron
Store-bought baby cereal, however, has iron added to it. This is the main reason these cereals make the list for recommended first foods for babies. So, if you make your baby oatmeal from the steel cut oats you found in the breakfast aisle at the grocery store, you’re missing the whole point of feeding infant cereal.
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