Most infants do not need any solid food added to their diet until some time between 4 to 6 months of age.  When we decide that it is time to add solids we usually start with cereal mixed with breast milk or formula.  Oatmeal cereal is currently our recommendation to be the initial cereal choice, and we would always use the dry cereal rather than buying the jars of already prepared cereal (which have quite a bit of sugar added to them). Start with just a few teaspoonful of cereal once or twice a day for the first week or so, and if the baby is very fussy when taking the feeding, don't force the issue but instead just keep offering it on a regular basis until the baby decides to accept it more readily. Within a few weeks most babies will take the feedings eagerly and at that point you can increase the amount offered to as much as the baby wants to take, usually around a ¼ cup per feeding.  You can mix the cereal to a soupy or stiff consistency, whichever one the baby seems to prefer.  Some babies do very well with a little plastic coated spoon, others prefer a thinner, flatter metal spoon.  Offer the cereal at about room temperature, but it would not be harmful for it be warmer or cooler.  Don't save the mixed up cereal from one feeding to the next, since baby's saliva on the spoon could cause it to spoil.  Offer the solid feedings between usual breast or bottle feedings.  Don’t expect an infant to be very enthusiastic about trying something new when they think they are starving or when they are full from a milk feeding.  You may find that your baby's milk consumption may decrease as they start taking good amounts of cereal, but will not be a drastic reduction. One possible way of adding solids is outlined below, with the solids coming one to two hours before or after a breast or bottle feeding.

Of note, we almost always suggest infants start with iron fortified oatmeal cereal first.  Once they are doing okay with that they can try barley cereals as well. Only introduce one new kind every week or two. Wheat cereals should be avoided until at least 6 month of age to reduce the risk of food allergies.   Also the cereal should always be made with breast milk of formula instead of just water or juice.

1st AM feeding Breast or Bottle
1-2 hours later Cereal mixed with breast milk or formula
Next feeding Breast or Bottle
Next feeding Breast or Bottle
Next feeding Breast or Bottle
1-2 hours later Cereal mixed with breast milk or formula
Last PM feeding Breast or Bottle

 

 

You can view a printable version of this page for your convenience here: cereal.pdf