Baby cereal is usually the first solid food that a new baby enjoys. Normally, the use of baby cereal begins just as the weaning from mother’s milk or formula begins. While there are only a few basic types of baby cereal, there is also the option of purchasing commercially prepared cereals as well as making the baby cereal at home. Here is what you need to know about the various types of baby cereal.
In most cases, baby cereal is a good example of a single grain cereal. Just as there are a number of cereals for young people and adults that are built around one particular type of grain, the same is true for commercially produced baby cereal. One advantage is that it is easy to find cereal that does not include grain options that are not good for your baby. For example, if your baby does not tolerate corn based products well, it is possible to find other single grain cereals that do not contain even trace amounts of corn.
One popular choice of baby cereal is rice. Rice cereals for babies feature grains of rice that have been cooked and pulverized. The cereal rice is a good source of thiamin, an important B vitamin. At the same time, this type of baby food helps to add fiber to the baby’s diet, which is also essential. Commercially prepared rice cereals are normally packaged in small jars that contain no more than two servings.
Along with rice as an ingredient for baby cereal, oatmeal is also a popular option. Like rice based cereals, oatmeal cereal is finely ground, offers nutrients that the baby needs in order to grow, and also provides an excellent source of fiber in the diet. This type of baby cereal is also available in commercial versions and is generally sold in small jars.
For parents who wish to use baby cereal that is not full of a lot of additives, there is always the option of making the cereal at home. The process is not difficult and requires nothing more than a food processor or coffee grinder. The raw grain is ground into a fine powder that can be divided into single servings and stored until needed. In this form, the raw cereal grain will keep well for quite some time.
When needed, simply take out a single serving and dump the raw cereal grain into a small pot. Allow the grain to cook in a small amount of water. When the cereal is fully cooked, it can be served with a small amount of formula, providing the cereal with a taste that the baby is already familiar with. As the baby gets older and is able to tolerate more solid food, crushed slices of banana or pureed fruit may also be added to the baby cereal. Best of all, parents know exactly what is going into the baby cereal and can rest assured there is nothing in the cereal to cause the baby any type of discomfort.