10 Reasons to skip rice cereal!

I wanted to address a question that I get often about rice cereal. We skip it! Did you know it’s actually not recommended to feed your baby grains until 12 months? Starting cereals at 4-6 months is not even backed up by science or tradition. It’s simply perpetuated by food marketers intent on creating a market for industrially-produced infant foods.

Why? "Imagine dipping your spoon into a bowl of sugar and feeding baby a spoonful or two, that's essentially what you are doing when you feed your baby rice or grain based cereals." - Dr. Mercola 

Here are 10 reason to skip infant rice cereal.

1. Babies produce little to no amylase, which is the enzyme needed to digest grains properly. Infants produce much less pancreatic amylase (the workhorse of starch digestion) than older children do. NOTE: Breastfed babies do receive some amylase from mother’s milk to help digest starch; however, their bodies are much more equipped to digest healthy fats. (1) 

2. Rice cereal is nutritionally void. Any iron that is added can easily be obtained through fruits, vegetables, meats, and fish (once baby is 6 months or older). The nonheme iron that is added is not as easily absorbed by the body. 

3. Doctors used to recommend rice cereal as a method to get baby to sleep longer at night, but research shows that this method does not work. (2)

4. Rice cereal can possibly raise your baby's insulin levels and can increase risk of Type I diabetes according to the Journal of Medical Association. (3)(4)

5. Babies who are fed rice cereal are consuming 3 times more arsenic than adults in relation to body weight. This is true even is the rice cereal is organic. The FDA found that inorganic arsenic exposure in infants and pregnant women can result in a child’s decreased performance on certain developmental tests that measure learning, based on epidemiological evidence including dietary exposures (5)(6)

6. Rice cereal fills your baby's belly and keeps it from getting nutrients from other healthy foods. 

7. The undigested grains left in baby's digestive tract can cause an imbalance in gut flora and could potentially cause a whole host of issues such as allergies and weakened immune system. 

8. There are much healthier options to offer baby when they are ready for solid food (6 months or older) such as pasture raised egg yolk, homemade broth, avacados, and grass-fed butter, squashes, and sweet potatoes. Remember, just because you may not like a certain food, does not mean that baby will turn their nose up at it. My daughter will pound 1 avocado with nothing on it!

9. Babies need a good amount of fat for their developing brains and nervous system, especially in the first couple of years. Rice cereal does not provide this. 

10. Babies need a wide range of nutrients that are easy to absorb. Rice cereal is fortified with synthetic vitamins that are not easily absorbed.

So yea, I am telling you not to take your pediatricians dived and feed them rice cereal especially at 4 months! Babies do not need it.