Here is a link to a blog regarding rice cereal introduction and discussion on why you can skip it: http://www.foodrenegade.com/why-ditch-infant-cereals
Generally speaking, I do not recommend rice cereal introduction for 4 month old kiddos. It is fairly indigestible, does not offer many health benefits, and takes up valuable space in the stomach that should be filled with more nourshing foods. Clinically, I see kiddos become constipated, develop rashes and eczema, and experience sleep disturbances (instead of sleeping longer) due to the effect of the grains on the immature digestive tract. I would also like to add that liver, eggs, and cow dairy are not high on my food introduction list either…I see plenty of kiddos who are sensitive or plain ol’ intolerant to those things as well!
Aside from the digestive issues, there is the concept of ‘food introduction’ to consider. I think of food introduction for kiddos to be an opportunity to showcase flavors, textures, colors, and smells. It is also an opportunity to have healthy eating be enjoyable. Why have baby’s first food be gooey rice cereal when it can be a myriad of beautiful fruits and vegetables? Why struggle two years from now about why your kid won’t eat fruits and vegetables and insists on bread and cheese?
Food introduction is a perfect time to craft your child’s palate and create true pleasure in eating foods that are healthy, colorful, and whole. It is also a perfect time to revolutionize the way a family eats, and therein lies some of the attachment to rice cereal. We are a package and processed food society. Somehow the idea that ‘better’ foods for our children come in boxes and cannisters has penetrated our national psyche.
I urge us all to let go of our attachment to the packaged promises of our children’s nutrition and, as the blog author suggests, ‘ditch the rice cereal.’
For resources on how to enjoy healthy eating as a familiy:
– “Feeding the Whole Family” by Cynthia Lair; http://www.cookusinterruptus.com
– “The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook” by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre; http://www.wholelifenutrition.net
For more information about Dr. Sunita and Eastside Natural Medicine, please visit: www.eastsidenaturalmedicine.com