Up until the age of six months, babies should be exclusively fed formula or breast milk to satisfy their hunger, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. According to West Virginia University Extension Service, dry rice cereal is often the first solid food introduced to babies because it is the least likely to cause allergic reactions. If you are offering your baby rice cereal for the first time, keep in mind that the introduction of solid foods is a slow process that requires patience and careful attention to any signs of allergic reaction.
Pour 1 tbsp. of rice cereal into a small bowl. Add 4 to 5 tbsp. of baby formula or breast milk to the rice cereal in the bowl.
Blend the rice cereal and milk together with a plastic or rubber-coated baby-feeding spoon. The consistency of the rice cereal should have a watery consistency. If the rice cereal is too thick, add more milk.
Sit your baby upright in a feeding chair or high chair. Secure a bib, loosely around your baby’s neck to protect her clothing from cereal stains.
Dip the spoon into the rice cereal and fill it half-full. Lift the spoon up to your baby’s mouth and move it gently along the outside of his lips.
Wait for your baby to open her lips and slide the spoon gently into her mouth. Remove the spoon from her mouth when she takes the food with her lips and tongue.
Continue the process of filling the spoon and inserting into your baby’s mouth when he swallows and opens-up for more. Follow the rice cereal feeding with a bottle of formula or breast milk to wash it down.
Once your baby exhibits no signs of intolerance for the rice cereal, such as vomiting, diarrhea or skin rashes, add a few spoonful’s of pureed baby fruit for added taste. Grocery stores sell mixed and individual varieties of pureed fruits in jars, but you can also make your own puree by peeling the fruit, bringing it to a boil in water and mashing it in a food processor. This is also a good way to determine if your baby has any allergies to fruits. Introduce one fruit at a time, waiting at least one week to see if your baby has a reaction before introducing the next.
Begin feeding your baby rice cereal once a day. Increase to twice a day if your baby continues to show signs of hunger.
Your baby may spit out more of the rice cereal than she swallows. Eventually, she will get the gist of eating solid foods and swallowing will become second nature. Until this time, it is always best to follow every feeding with a bottle of formula or breast milk to ensure that she is receiving adequate nutrition.
Pay careful attention to the development of a food allergy. Fussiness, gas, sleep disturbances, rash, hives, wheezing, dry skin, diarrhea, ear infections, eye irritations, cold symptoms, intestinal upset and colic are all possible signs of a food allergy. Remove the rice cereal from your baby’s diet immediately if an allergic reaction occurs.
Seek medical attention immediately if allergy symptoms become severe or persist for several days.