One of the first foods you will likely introduce to your child is either rice cereal or baby oatmeal. First time moms often have a hard time determining when the right time to introduce oatmeal vs rice cereal for babies might be, and what the risks and benefits are for each food. At about four months old, your baby can begin to explore each of these foods with mommy or daddy’s supervision. Below, we look at each product and give you our take so you can determine which you might want to try with your baby. Of course, always consult your pediatrician first to ensure you take every precaution with your child.
What Age Can You Provide Oatmeal or Rice Cereal?
You should always discuss with your pediatrician to ensure you aren’t putting your baby at risk, but most babies can begin to try oatmeal vs rice cereal around four months. Some moms will even give it to their babies as early as three months, but some babies’ stomachs aren’t quite ready at that point. The best timeline for most babies is between four and six months.
Oatmeal vs Rice Cereal for Babies: Health Benefits
While neither product offers a lot in terms of nutrition, oatmeal does have plenty of fiber. This helps babies who might be constipated get things moving in a more natural way. Trace amounts of sugar and a few compounds that help with inflammation also add to the health benefits of oatmeal, though these benefits are very minor. Rice cereal, on the other hand, offer babies iron and zinc, and are more easy to digest than oatmeal at earlier ages. Many moms will even mix rice cereal in with their baby’s milk as a way to introduce the food to them, and to get them used to the taste.
Oatmeal vs Rice Cereal for Babies: Types and Brands
There are plenty of options when it comes to oatmeal vs rice cereal for babies. With oatmeal, you will see everything from rolled oats, instant oats, steel-cut oats, and oat flour. Many of these are not a good choice for babies early on, and you should stick to baby-brands like Happy Baby or Earth’s Best Organic, as they are easy to mix with milk or water, and don’t require and actual cooking time to make.
As for rice cereal, you would want to look into brands like Gerber Organic Baby Rice Cereal, or Earth’s Best Rice Cereal. Just like the oatmeal, you can mix milk, formula, or water with the rice cereal to give it a taste and texture that your baby will like.
Concerns Over Oatmeal and Rice Cereal
While allergies should always be discussed with your pediatrician, chances are very low that your baby has allergies to either rice or oatmeal. If your baby has a gluten sensitivity, it’s best to go with oats, as they are gluten free. Rice cereal does contain gluten. Be careful, however, as some oatmeal is processed in facilities that also process barley and rye, which do contain gluten.
Otherwise, there are few risks with either oatmeal vs rice cereal. Rice cereal can constipate babies, so be sure to monitor your baby’s bowel movements. If she isn’t going often, you might want to transition to oatmeal, or stick to milk or formula only. Once your baby starts taking an interest in your food, you can safely assume he or she is ready to try oatmeal vs rice cereal.