Baby Feeding

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

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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 their 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 should be feeding your child as they transition from milk to more solid foods.

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.

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 brands on the market right now.

The main differences between oatmeal and rice cereal

oatmeal

  • Oatmeal is made with oats. Rich cereal is made with rice grains.
  • Oatmeal has a nutty taste while rice cereal is much plainer in flavor.
  • Oatmeal tends to be higher in fiber, with more nutritional value.
  • Oatmeal can cause allergies in some babies, while rice cereal is far less likely to.
  • Rice cereal can cause constipation in babies, unlike oatmeal.
  • It’s easier to mix small pieces and fruit with the smoother texture of rice cereal.

So, let’s start with the basics – what is 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 flavour of nuts, which a lot of babies enjoy. Oatmeal is packed with nutritional goodness so it a great choice for transitioning your baby onto more solid foods.

Rice cereal is, quite simply, made from rice grains. This gives it a smooth texture 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 and intolerances.

FAQ’s About Oatmeal and Rice Cereal

When should I start feeding my baby cereal?

Pediatricians recommend introducing solid foods from around four to six months. At this stage your baby should find it easier to start digesting solid food. They’ll also be more able to feed themselves and start chewing and swallowing their food. However, this really does depend on when you think your baby is ready – after all, you know them best.

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

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.

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

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.

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 with 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 nutrients too. All have a different part to play in your baby’s health but all are as 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 (if they don’t, try adding some mashed or pureed fruit) and the texture and formula are easily digestible; a win-win.

List of the Best Baby Oatmeal Cereals

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

Oatmeal Cereal Nutritional Features

  • High in fiber, which stimulates bowel movement.
  • Contains plenty of vitamin 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:

  • Has a mild nutty taste, which makes it easy and enjoyable to eat.
  • Easy to digest.
  • It’s easy to make up – simply boil a ¼ cup of oats with 1 cup of water, stir regularly then add some mashed apple of banana.
  • Due to the high fiber content, it can relieve constipation if your baby is suffering with 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:

  • 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 baby 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

baby eating cereal

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 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 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.

List of the Best Baby Rice Cereals

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

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 requirement.
  • Rice provides a good amount of energy to keep your baby’s strength up.

Pros:

  • Easy to mix with small portions of fruits and vegetables.
  • Easy to digest.
  • Gluten-free, so suitable for all babies.
  • 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:

  • Don’t be too alarmed, but eating large quantities of 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.
  • 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.

Parents’ Opinion

While the reviews aren’t quite as glowing as what’s found on oatmeal 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 night time 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 keeps their daughter more regular.
  • Some parents found that they were able to use their cereal in a bottle to make it easier to feed their children.

The Verdict: Rice or Oatmeal Cereal?

There are no bones about it; oatmeal is definitely our preferred choice.

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 between 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 back up. It’s a good course of fiber and complex vitamins that your baby’s body needs.

However, if neither are 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.

Final Thouhts on Rice vs Oatmeal Baby Cereal

Now we’re at the end of our guide, we hope you’ve learned and understood a bit more about the differences between oatmeal and rice cereals. As mentioned above, our recommendation would be oatmeal – any one of the brands on our list are worth a go. However, the choice really is yours now that you’re armed with the information you need.

Truth is, choosing between the two isn’t quite black and white. There are intolerances to think about (especially gluten), allergies, constipation, and taste, among loads more factors. Every baby is different and we can’t tell you what’s best for yours; we can only advise. If you’re worried about anything at all or want to learn more, don’t be afraid to consult with your pediatrician.

We hope this guide has been useful and informative. If you have any questions then feel free to pop them in the comment section below – our expert moms and dads are more than happy to help! And if you have anything else you’d like us to review, let us know and we’ll see what we can do.

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