Infant Feeding Myth #4: Rice cereal
Updated: Apr 30, 2020
MYTH FOUR: “You should start with rice cereal.”
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics: "For most babies it does not matter what the first solid foods are." They go on to say single grain cereals are usually offered first "BY TRADITION" then emphasize, "there is no medical evidence that introducing solid foods in any particular order has an advantage for your baby."
While we understand some of the reasoning behind why rice cereal gets recommended (one being that rice cereals tend to be low risk for causing allergy, another being that it is fortified with iron which could be beneficial for some babies) rice cereal comes with some big draw backs. We'll highlight the ones we consider to be the top two.
1. Rice cereal has been found over and over again to have elevated levels of ARSENIC. Early exposure to heightened levels can have long-lasting detrimental health effects. According to Signes-Pastor, et al (2018) the levels found in the urine of infants fed rice cereal is elevated and based on their findings they recommend that we should "MINIMIZE exposure during this critical period of development."
2. Rice cereal is a processed food which comes from a box. Throughout the rest of your child's life, all health professionals agree that we should avoid processed foods whenever possible. They are pretty much unavoidable in this day and age- but offering processed foods as a "first food" we strongly discourage mainly because at Feeders & Growers we believe it's easier to build healthy habits from the start than to break bad habits and then build new ones.
We recommend aiming for fresh, local, and seasonal foods as much as possible for baby’s first foods.
Let’s move on to our final feeding myth...