Carina has been typing on the internets before there was a www in front of everything. This is why she’s cranky and wants to know when you’ll get off her lawn. She resides in a hopelessly outdated home in the Mountain West with a mathematician and three children hell-bent on destruction. Her laundry is not done, but her Twitter is totally up to date. Carina does not have a Tumblr, because get serious.

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Why Are You Feeding Baby Rice Cereal?

It’s time to stop feeding babies rice cereal.

I’m serious.

Put down that box of “rice cereal” and walk away.

Why Rice Cereal is Bad for Baby at TodaysMama

Rice cereal is BAD for your baby. Rice cereal is probably at the root of the obesity epidemic in children.

Why? Think about what you know about healthy, nutritious foods. We know we’re supposed to be eating whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Do you know what rice cereal is?

NONE OF THOSE THINGS.

Rice cereal is processed, pressed, milled, sealed, fillers, shelf-stable for months or years. I don’t eat that kind of food. Doctors tell you not to eat that kind of food. Why do baby doctors tell you to feed your baby that kind of food? It goes against everything you know about what food is: real, whole, unprocessed, fresh, in its original state, no added ingredients, no fillers, something that eventually decomposes. Rice cereal is white flour with iron added back in.

How They Make Rice Cereal

The box of rice cereal says it’s fortified with a dozen vitamins and minerals and won’t expire for another two years. Two years. How they make rice cereal: the whole grain of rice is stripped of its nutritious shell, processed, and vitamins and minerals are added to try to make it worth something again (because they took out what was good and integral, and had to add a synthetic version back in.) White and starchy–what you’re supposed to avoid. Vitamins and minerals that your baby probably can’t even absorb because it doesn’t come from real food.

Well, My Pediatrician Said…

But the AAP, the American Academy of Pediatrics said,

“For a baby’s first food, rice cereal is not as nutritious as other food options and only became popular in the past 30 to 35 years because it was thought to be the least allergenic of the cereals, Dr. Greer noted. Other options for a first weaning food include red meat, which Dr. Greer said contains the iron and zinc that breastfeeding babies in particular are lacking after six months of breastfeeding.”

Ask your pediatrician why their professional organization calls rice cereal “not as nutritious as other food options.”  Point your pediatrician to White Out, where they might be able to look at the evidence for themselves.

It’s Refined White Flour Cereal 

Giving your baby a spoonful of rice cereal is practically like giving your baby a spoonful of sugar. Refined carbohydrates are bad for all of us, let alone your baby.

Rice cereal makes no sense. And I’m not the only one. Dr. Alan Greene, a well-known pediatrician, has made it his mission to get the White Out of our babies’ diets. He thinks rice cereal is at the root of our nation’s childhood obesity epidemic, and I don’t think he’s wrong.

“Rice cereal isn’t just babies’ first food. In the US, this processed white flour is the number one carb eaten by babies from the first bite to the first birthday (It’s the #1 food carb, behind formula, but ahead of breast milk. And average babies get about twice as many carbs for the entire first year from rice cereal than from any solid real food.)…Processed white flour is the single largest food influence on taste preferences and metabolism during the entire first year. It’s no wonder we have a snowballing obesity and diabetes epidemic…Kids born in the 60s, and just before and just after, usually had parents who were still raised on real food. Many of these babies did come to prefer processed foods, but not in excessive amounts and their metabolisms were mostly able to handle it.

However, when they grew up and started to have children of their own, this generation was exposed to heavily processed food both in the womb and in their earliest direct food exposures. This was when the childhood obesity epidemic started to take off.

Obesity is a very complex issue, but we know that the it’s strongly  influenced in the womb. With the obesity epidemic starting in the 80s, the question isn’t just what was new about babies then, but also what was new about mothers then. For one thing, it was the first generation of mothers whose tastes and metabolisms were influenced by white rice baby cereal.”

-Dr. Alan Green

Rice cereal in your baby’s bottle?

The number of babies who actually benefit from rice cereal in their bottles is tiny compared with the number who get it. There are a lot of studies out there that show how putting rice cereal in your baby’s bottle is leading to obesity, constipation, and asthma. Unless your baby is literally vomiting so much they have stopped gaining weight, it’s probably a bad idea (and I’d really give a pediatrician who recommended it to keep a baby sleeping long at night, a kick in the butt and a pink slip.) If you have a doctor that recommends rice cereal in your baby’s bottle, ask them to back up their recommendations with evidence.

The Arsenic in Rice Cereal

And then there’s the whole arsenic thing, you know, where rice cereal has high rates of arsenic. Literally poison in our babies’ food.

What Should I Feed My Baby Instead of Rice Cereal?

What about actual vegetables and fruits? How about soft meat, like from stews, cut into bite sized pieces, and let baby feed himself? What about oatmeal, or steel-cut oats? Whatever fresh fruits and vegetables you have with dinner, like avocados, red peppers, pears, peas, broccoli, peaches, carrots, chicken, celery, beans, beef, barley, quinoa, squash, green beans, and actual whole foods.

So Why Are You Feeding Baby Rice Cereal? 

Why Rice Cereal is Bad For Your Baby at TodaysMama

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Comments (24)

  1. Laura 05/24/2016 at 3:53 pm

    and I feel like it stimulates pickier eating in some kids…it sort of ushers in the bland white foods some kids only gravitate to. Why not start with bright, flavorful foods to stimulate their enjoyment of flavors instead of bland and sweets?? just mush up, or grind up what you eat for dinner before adding too many spices and such…babies love color and flavor if they are aware of it from the beginning 🙂

  2. Gaynor Maciver 04/08/2016 at 9:29 am

    My babyvis four months and on oatmeal cereal. What is a substitue at this age for the cereal?

  3. Summer 04/08/2016 at 3:45 am

    We had to give our baby cereals and oatmeal in her bottles. Her reflux was so bad she would throw plain liquids up. Now that she’s getting better, we can usually stick to solids but sometimes she still gets a little oatmeal to help

  4. Cassidy 04/06/2016 at 10:25 am

    I have to give my baby rice cereal on his bottles. Because the rice starch in his formula isn’t enough to help with his acid reflux and my baby is still smaller than most babies his age. He weighs just the right amount at 6 months and is 100% healthy. But I do give him oatmeal in his baby food. He seems to enjoy it more. Obese kids come from.lazy parents who are most likely obese themselves. Has nothing to do with rice cereal. This is the dumbest blog ever and a horrible attempt to make you look better and other moms look worse. SMH.

    • Amélie 04/07/2016 at 6:21 am

      Go read “super nutrition for babies” you’ll find the same information than here. She did not “create” that to look like a better mom, there is a logical explanation on why cereales are bad, understanding science about that just make sens.

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  6. Ana 09/17/2015 at 8:47 am

    I feel like we are literally starting to save our kid’s life… I felt like how the heck am I going to give cereal to my baby and found your oatmeal recipes… I am so thankful you have no idea. God bless you guys!

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  9. GVT 01/28/2014 at 10:16 am

    Rice cereal and fast food have been around forever and are not the cause of childhood obesity. Kids are fatter now because of all these goofy parents believing this type of nonsense. Kids need fat, including saturated fat. Breast milk, human and animal, is full of it. Kids also drank whole milk back in the day when fat kids were RARE. However, kids also need plenty of exercise. TV and video games don’t count.

    • Jamie 04/06/2016 at 6:33 am

      You apparently have no clue what you’re talking about yes kids need fat I am a firm believer that the FDA has gotten everybody screwed up when it comes to what our diet should look like however you are not getting the good kind of fats from rice cereal are you kidding me? They need fats from egg yolk avocado meat that’s the kind of fat they should be getting it from I have no clue as to how you would possibly think any fats coming from flour is good for you.

      • Jamie 04/06/2016 at 6:34 am

        And just to add I give my kids home milk and all that other business because like I said I believe in a high-fat diet but usually people that believe in high-fat diets also know that empty carbs like rice cereal is absolutely none nutritious in anyway shape or form for your body

  10. shanna 01/12/2014 at 4:53 pm

    Could not agree more with this article! I refuse for my baby to be fed rice cereals. I read that It is just a filler and If you really want to feed your baby (after 6 months) choose something he will actually benefit from i.e. eggplant, zucchini, carrot. I strongly believe that this is linked to why so many of our parents (40-60y.o) are now battling with intolerances to wheat and gluten later on in their life – because they’re parents were told to start rice cereals at 4 months sometimes younger when they’re little tummies were just not mature enough to digest it.

    • Taysha R 04/14/2015 at 5:15 pm

      Rice cereal doesn’t contain gluten……so how does it play a role in gluten intolerances later on in life?

  11. Alison 01/08/2014 at 11:33 pm

    What about the Gerber Organic Brown Rice Cereal?

  12. robin 01/03/2014 at 11:35 am

    Really? I am sure it’s not the rice cereal making the kids now a days fat. 🙁 It’s fast food and laziness.. That sucks that it is processed but the babies need the fat for their brains. just like from the time they are one to the time they are about two to three years old they should drink whole milk.. they need that fat for their brains to develop… So boo hoo go find another reason why kids are chubby!!!!

    • joy 01/27/2014 at 9:25 pm

      Fat for their brains from Rice flakes? Rice cereal is not a necessity. Did cave men feed their babies rice flakes? Babies need folic acid for brain development! Ride cereals are mainly recommended for their iron content. Read it on the box!

  13. brittany 11/05/2013 at 7:58 am

    Pretty sure McDonalds, poor eating habits and prepared (frozen) foods have NOTHING to do with obesity problems…its all rice cereal…lol

  14. Payton 10/28/2013 at 9:23 pm

    Thanks for the article! I was very skeptical of rice cereal and this article pushed me over the line. No rice cereal for my baby! Thanks again!

  15. krisy chef 10/10/2013 at 2:48 am

    This is junk… maybe if babies are eating copious amounts of it each day! Its just a starter food. And yes arsenic can be found in all rice.. but we dont consume enough of it…maybe china should worry though!

  16. Holly Mac Neil 10/10/2013 at 1:21 am

    Blah, blah. And ah MAY zingly millions of babies before us ate it, millions after.

  17. Ashley Novak 09/10/2013 at 3:12 pm

    I heard from several people that there is arsenic and baby rice cereal if this is true why would WIC give rice cereal out to babies

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  19. allison Randall 05/28/2013 at 3:03 pm

    Yes! Thank you. I’ve been saying this for years, and even put it in an article elsewhere. Why would the first thing you feed a child be straight out of a box, manufactured in a factory?! My little girls enjoy pears, peas, broccoli, lentils and bananas. Babies actually don’t have the digestive enzymes to break down starches. They don’t get those until after their first birthday– about the time they get teeth (to chew grains). Thanks so much for this article. Spread the anti-cereal news!