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Your Baby Week Eighteen (Four Months Old)

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Updated April 28, 2014

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Rice Cereal
Experts usually recommend starting your baby on a dry, iron-fortified baby cereal.

Experts usually recommend starting your baby on a dry, iron-fortified baby cereal, such as one of these brands from Gerber, Earth's Best, or Beech Nut.

Photo © Vincent Iannelli, MD

Experts usually recommend that rice cereal be the first food that you give to your baby.

That is because rice cereal for babies is thought to be the baby food that is least likely to trigger allergic reactions. Single grain rice cereal is gluten free, and free of milk and eggs, other common allergy triggers.

Some brands of baby rice cereal do contain soy though. This isn't usually a problem because the ingredient isn't actually a soy protein, which typically triggers soy allergies, but is a soy-oil lecithin instead. Check the ingredients list if you are looking for a baby rice cereal without any soy.

Starting Rice Cereal

Once you and your baby have decided that it is the right time to start cereal, get your box of dry baby rice cereal and a feeding bowl ready. You will then mix about 1 teaspoon of cereal with 4 to 5 teaspoons of pumped breast milk or formula (or even water) to get the cereal to a "good" consistency. At first, that will mean that the cereal will not have much consistency to it at all. As your baby does well eating the cereal, add less liquid so that it is thicker.

After starting with just 1 or 2 teaspoons at a time, your baby will likely move up to 3 or 4 teaspoons of baby rice cereal once or twice a day.

Not Ready for Cereal?

If your baby continually pushes the spoon of rice cereal out of mouth with her tongue or simply doesn't seem to like eating cereal, then she may not be ready for baby food yet. You may want to wait a few weeks and then try again.

You could also try to change the timing of when you are giving your baby cereal. For example, if you are offering cereal before breastfeeding or giving formula, then maybe try nursing or giving a bottle first. Or try cereal first if she seems too full if you already tried it the other way.

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