Barley baby cereal is a single-grain cereal that can be given to babies who are starting to eat solid food. Many pediatricians and parents recommend using rice cereal as the first grain to introduce, but barley can usually be used shortly after or if a baby does not tolerate rice well. Prepackaged barley baby cereal is available in most grocery stores, usually for less than $2 US Dollars (USD) per box. It is prepared in a similar way to instant oatmeal, by adding water, breast milk, or formula and mixing to the desired consistency. Recipes for making homemade barley baby cereal are also available.
Most babies begin eating solid foods between four and six months of age, although the specific timing may be different for some. Cereals that come from a single grain, such as rice, oatmeal, and barley, are often recommended as the first baby foods because they are usually easily digested and not likely to cause allergic reactions. Barley baby cereal is made from the same grain that is often found in soups and stews, but commercial preparations often have added iron as well as other vitamins and minerals. Some types of baby cereal may have other flavorings, such as banana or apple, as well. It comes in dry form, usually in a box, and can be stored in the pantry, although it usually has an expiration date printed on the package.
Barley baby cereal looks like small, white flakes and is similar in consistency to instant oatmeal. The prepackaged product only needs to have liquid added to it, which can be warm or cold depending on the baby’s preference. The cereal should be made very thin for babies who are just learning to eat and can be made thicker or mixed with other pureed baby food as a child starts eating more foods.
Many parents prefer to make homemade baby food, and recipes are available for making baby cereal. The barley that is purchased in the store should be hulled or pearled, because whole barley can’t be easily removed from the hull. The grain should be ground to a fine powder in a blender or food processor and then added to boiling water and stirred for about 10 minutes. When the cereal is cooked, it will develop a creamy consistency and can be served alone or with milk or other pureed baby foods. Older babies may also have small chunks of fruit or vegetables in their barley baby cereal.