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Oatmeal vs Rice Cereal: Which Is Best For Your Baby?

Oatmeal vs Rice Cereal: Which Is Best For Your Baby?

Introducing cereals when you’re used to breast feeding or using formula can be a bit daunting.

What do you feed your baby? What’s best for their health?

Between oatmeal vs rice cereal, which one should you choose? Okay, you might not necessarily ask the last question, but it’s definitely an important thing to think about if you haven’t already.

Both rice and oatmeal cereals have their pros and cons.  

This article is going to delve even deeper into what some of these might be so that you can be an informed decision on what you’d be feeding your child as they transition from milk to more solid foods to settle the Oatmeal vs Rice Cereal Debate once and for all.

As ever, when choosing your baby cereal it’s really important you study the ingredients list carefully to look out for anything that might affect your baby.

Both rice and oatmeal cereals have different nutritional benefits and one won’t be right for everyone, but if you consider how they’ll fit into your lifestyle and routine then you’ll be on to a good start.

Main Differences Between Oatmeal vs Rice Cereal

The main differences between Oatmeal vs Rice Cereal are:

  • Oatmeal is made with oats, whereas rice cereal is made with rice grains.
  • Oatmeal has a nutty taste, whereas the rice cereal is much plainer in flavor profile.
  • Oatmeal can cause allergies in some babies, while rice cereal is far less likely to.

So, let’s start with the basics – what is baby oatmeal cereal? It might sound obvious but it’s made with oats.

It’s a great starter cereal and is quite unique in its taste – it’s been said to take on the flavor of nuts, which a lot of babies enjoy. Oatmeal is packed with nutritional goodness so it is a great transition food choice for transitioning your baby onto more solid baby food options.

White rice cereal is, quite simply, made from rice grains. This gives it smooth diet textures and a plain taste; perfect for mixing with small pieces of fruit and vegetables. It’s much better for babies with allergies as it’s less likely to trigger intolerances.

By the end of this article, we hope you’ll understand more about both rice and oatmeal cereals and have a better idea of some of the best rice and baby oatmeal cereal brands on the market right now.

2021 UPDATE: In the past few months more evidence has come out about widespread toxicity in rice based baby foods. This obviously ALSO includes rice cereals. Check out this page where we are tracking the latest developments.

Oatmeal vs Rice Cereal – Which Is Better For Your Baby?

Like we’ve already mentioned, both oatmeal and rice cereals have their pros and cons but it is important to note that they are quite different from one another.

Our expert moms and dads have gone away and done their research, and have analyzed the benefits of each so you don’t have to. Read our in-depth review carefully as there’ll be tons of useful information for you to take away.

Oatmeal Cereals


Oats have been proven to be incredibly healthy for babies. They’re packed with nutritional value that helps aid growth and development; this is really important when your child starts experiencing solids for the first time. The benefit to oatmeal is that when it’s made up of water, it creates quite a thick formula that’s very satisfying and keeps your infant feeling fuller for longer.

Oatmeal is packed with vitamins and minerals too. All have a different part to play in your baby’s health but all are equally important as each other. The high fiber content can help your baby if they’ve previously suffered from constipation, and eating just a ¼ cup full of oats provides 80% of your baby’s daily iron requirements – that’s pretty impressive.

The only real downside is a lot of oatmeal cereals can contain gluten. This will cause a reaction if your baby’s intolerant, so be sure to keep a close eye on the ingredients list as this might be something you want to avoid.

Overall, starting off with oatmeal is a tried-and-tested way to give your baby the best chance at getting along with solid foods. They should enjoy the nutty taste of this solid food (if they don’t, try adding some mashed or pureed fruit) and the texture and formula are easily digestible; a win-win.

Prefer to do it yourself? Steel-cut oats are a great option to cook at home (make sure to pick non-genetically modified). Relatively inexpensive and can be cooked in a crockpot overnight (so not quick oats, but more nutritional value as a homemade oatmeal cereal or substitute oatmeal baby cereal).

Bob's Red Mill Quick Cooking 100% Whole Grain Oats | Amazon

100% Whole Grain Oats, 112 Ounce. Organic Whole Grain Oats, Keeps best refrigerated or frozen.

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03/05/2024 03:41 pm GMT

List of the Best Baby Oatmeal Cereals

The following oatmeal cereals can be found on the market and are favorites of ours:

  • Holle Organic Oatmeal Porridge Rolled Oats Cereal (Check Price)
  • Happy Baby Organic Oatmeal Cereal (Check Price)
  • Happy Bellies Oatmeal Baby Cereal 
  • Oatmeal Gerber Cereal (Check price)
  • Beech-Nut Complete Stage 1 Oatmeal Cereal
  • Katyluck Oatmeal Baby Cereal 

Oatmeal Cereal Nutritional Features

  • High in fiber, which stimulates bowel movement.
  • Contains plenty of vitamins A, C, B1, and B2, which are all incredibly important for your baby’s health and growth.
  • It’s rich in minerals to stimulate healthy growth, strong bones, and neurological functions.
  • Oatmeal is a great source of energy to help with your baby’s growth spurts.
  • There’s a low risk of oatmeal causing an allergic reaction.

Pros of Oatmeal Cereal

  • Has a mild nutty taste, which makes it easy and enjoyable to eat.
  • Easy to digest as solid food.
  • It’s easy to make up – simply boil a ¼ cup of oats with 1 cup of drinking water, stir regularly then add some mashed apple or banana.
  • Due to the high fiber content, it can relieve constipation if your baby is suffering from this.
  • It could be helpful in easing infant reflux, as the weight of the cereal helps to keep the milk in your baby’s stomach.
  • It helps to teach your baby how to swallow.

Cons of Oatmeal Cereal

  • It can contain gluten, so keep an eye on the ingredients list.

Parents’ Opinion

Oatmeal cereals seem to be incredibly popular with moms and dads – there are tons of positive 4 or 5-star ratings online, so we’ve tracked down some of the best:

  • Many moms and dads started their babies on rice cereal, but their babies didn’t take to it. When switching to oatmeal their babies seemed much happier after the change.
  • Lots of parents mixed their oatmeal with mashed banana and pureed apple to increase the taste and flavor; something their babies loved.
  • It was also noted that some babies stopped being constipated after being on oatmeal for a little while.
  • Another reviewer raved that their baby started to feel fuller and went to sleep for a lot longer each night as a result.

Rice Cereals

There are loads of benefits to rice cereal. It’s easy to digest, gentle on a baby’s stomach, and gluten-free; perfect if your baby has an intolerance. Rice grain cereal is a great source of energy, especially if it’s made with brown rice. Once fed, your baby will get a steady release of energy throughout the day, which will help with their growth spurts.

The texture of rice cereal is very smooth and non-gritty. This is positive when your baby is used to the smooth liquid texture of milk, so the transition between the two should be fairly simple.

If your baby is struggling a little bit to eat it, breast milk or formula can be added to help mimic the taste. The flavor of rice infant cereal is generally very plain, so you might like to try adding some small chunks or pureed fruit to add extra nutrients, goodness, and taste.

The biggest downside is that all rice contains arsenic and in adults, this is not normally too much of a problem.

However, while your baby is still growing and developing you must avoid feeding them rice cereal too often. Keep an eye on your baby whilst they’re on rice cereal, too. If you find they’re becoming constipated or are having allergic reactions, you might want to switch to oatmeal cereals.

Gerber Baby Rice Cereal Basic Flavor Variety Pack | Amazon

This organic single grain rice cereal features Vitamins C, E, Zinc & 6 B vitamins for healthy development, plus calcium for healthy bones & teeth. No artificial colors or flavors.

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List of the Best Baby Rice Cereals

Here are just a few of our favorite rice cereals on the market right now:

  • Holle Organic Rice Cereal
  • Beech-Nut Complete Rice Single Grain Infant Cereal
  • Happy Family Happy Bellies Brown Rice Baby Cereal

Rice Cereal Nutrition Features

  • Rice flour is a great source of energy, protein, and B-complex vitamins. These are vital in aiding your baby’s growth and development.
  • Breast milk can be added to increase the amount of nutrients.
  • Rice cereals contain calcium carbonate, which is a great source of calcium for strong bones.
  • Can provide your baby with up to 45% of their iron nutrient requirement.
  • Rice provides a good amount of energy to keep your baby’s strength up.

Pros of Rice Cereal

  • Easy to mix with small portions of fruits and vegetables.
  • Easy to digest as infant rice cereal.
  • Gluten-free, so suitable for all babies.
  • It has a smooth texture, which makes transitioning from milk really easy.
  • When milk is added, the taste is similar to breast milk so your child is more likely to eat it without fuss.

Cons of Rice Cereal

  • Don’t be too alarmed, but eating large quantities of baby rice cereal can expose infants to increased levels of arsenic. This is typically found in all rice, but exposing children to it can cause problems. Be cautious with the amount you give your child.
  • There’s a higher chance of allergic reactions in infants who are fed rice cereals.
  • It has a very plain taste – this could be a pro or con depending on your child’s preferences but adding milk or pureed fruit should help with the flavor.

Other Parents’ Opinion

While the reviews aren’t quite as glowing as what’s found with regular oatmeal infant cereals, parents who like rice cereal seem to swear by it. Here are what some of them are saying:

  • Parents are impressed by the taste and smooth, non-gritty texture.
  • One mom raved that rice cereal helps her baby stay full longer in the nighttime and mixes well with milk and baby food (such as sweet potato and others) for a perfect before-bedtime snack.
  • Another parent gave a 5-star review as the multi-grains in the rice cereal keep their daughter more regular.
  • Some parents found that they were able to use their cereal in a bottle to make it easier to fit in your child’s feeding schedule.

The Verdict: Rice or Oatmeal Cereal?

There are no bones about it; oatmeal is definitely our preferred choice. Especially if you can buy an organic, non-GMO variety like Holle oatmeal porridge here There are very few cons associated with it – the taste and the texture is loved by babies and it’s a great source of slow-releasing energy. Just a small cup has tons of nutrition and vitamins they need to thrive as they grow, so the transition from milk to more solid foods should be smooth.

That’s not to say rice cereal shouldn’t be thought-about though. Your baby may not react too well to oatmeal or they might not like the nutty taste. If that’s the case, rice cereal might be a good backup. It’s a good course of fiber and complex vitamins that your baby’s body special needs.

However, if neither is working for you then there are other alternatives too. Anything that has complex carbs, like butternut squash and sweet potato can be mashed up to create a tasty, easy-to-eat meal.


Question: Does Earth best organic rice cereal have arsenic?

Answer: The level of arsenic in Earth’s Best Organic Whole Grain Rice is as low as 149 ppb to 274 ppb and 1.7 to 2.7 micrograms in inorganic cereals.

Question: Is Rice Cereal Gluten-Free?

Answer: Rice is naturally gluten-free, so conceptually, rice cereal should be gluten-free. It is necessary to keep in mind that some rice might contain wheat, so always check the ingredient list to avoid any allergic reaction.

Question: When can you add cereal to a baby’s bottle?

Answer: Including semi-solid food like rice or oatmeal, cereal can be a great part of the transitioning process between formula and solid baby food when an infant hits the 4-6 months old.

Question: What are the signs your baby will be ready to start feeding on cereal?

Answer: When your baby is ready for solid foods alongside breast milk or formula, they’ll start to sit up, keeping their head steady. They’ll also begin to look at food and start co-ordinating how to pick it up and bring it to their mouth. They’ll begin to swallow, too – which is a sign to look out for. All of these signs are worth keeping an eye on as they’re a handy indicator that it might be time to start slowing introducing solids.

Question: How many times a day should I feed my baby cereal?

Answer: As a general rule of thumb, once you switch to cereals you can start to feed your baby around 3 to 4 tablespoons of cereals a day. This can be combined with 1 to 2 tablespoons of fruits and vegetables to create a healthy, filling meal.

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