Is your baby between four and six months old? Congratulations! This is an important milestone for you and your infant. During this time, kids will start transitioning from an exclusive diet of breastmilk or formula to semi-solid foods.
As you reach this exciting stage, you’ll naturally wonder what type of food to give your child. A popular option among parents with newborns is cereal. Cereals are generally easy to digest since they’re pureed or thermally processed forms of grains, oats, fruits, and vegetables.
What Should I Look For in Baby Cereal?
Visit your local supermarket and you’ll find a dizzying array of brands and types of baby cereals. With so many options available, what should you look for? What is the best baby cereal for a 4-month-old?
When shopping for baby food, an important mineral to keep an eye out for is iron-rich cereals. Iron is important for babies because they help with brain development. They’re also crucial for the formation of hemoglobin, the ingredient that gives red blood cells their red hue. Without it, adults and babies alike can acquire anemia.
Which Ingredients Are Rich in Iron?
Many of today’s cereals for babies contain this vital mineral. To be sure, however, you can check if the cereal has oatmeal, barley, mixed grains, or rice — iron-rich ingredients that are included in cereals for infants.
Other beneficial minerals to watch out for are calcium, folate, and zinc. You can also look for cereals that have vitamins C, B, and E.
Controversy Around Glyphosphate
Is there glyphosphate in baby cereal? Around 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that some cereals, including those made for babies, contained a harmful substance called glyphosphate. This caused quite a stir since glyphosphate is an ingredient in pesticides and has been linked to cancer.
While the discovery is understandably alarming, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a follow-on report. It stated that while certain food items contain glyphosphate, the amount was so small that it fell well within allowed tolerances. The report also disputed the notion that glyphosphate is carcinogenic.
What You Can Do
Since there is no absolute and fact-based ruling on glyphosphate and its potentially harmful effects, it’s hard to automatically rule out many commercially available baby cereals.
However, if this news has you concerned, you can opt for cereals that aren’t made with genetically modified organisms (GMO) and instead use organic ingredients only. A number of our recommendations below meet these criteria if you find yourself worried about the issue.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s move on to some popular baby cereals you’ll want to consider…
Buying Baby Cereal: 7 Best Baby Cereals for 4-Month Olds
As you get your child used to semi-solid food, you can mix breastmilk or formula with it to create a thinner consistency and make the transition easier. Gradually add less and less milk as your baby gets used to semi-solids.
Here are 6 baby cereals you can choose from:
#1. Nestle Nestum Cereal, Wheat and Honey – Best for Digestion
Nestle’s Wheat and Honey Nestum Cereal contains a wealth of vitamins and minerals that include calcium, folic acid, biotin, phosphorus, vitamins A, C, D, B6, and B12. It contains no preservatives, is made with grains, and has healthy probiotics.
The nutritional value of Nestle Nestum Cereal helps your child develop strong teeth and bones, improves immunity and the absorption of iron, aids digestion, and provides complex carbohydrates for energy.
It is quick and easy to prepare. You only need to scoop out the amount you need for feeding and stir it before giving it to your child.
#2. Happy Baby Organics Clearly Crafted Cereal – Best Non-GMO, Organic Cereal
For those of you looking for an organic option, here’s one you can consider. Clearly Crafted Cereal from Happy Family prides itself on simple food formulations and transparency in its ingredients.
This baby cereal is made from organic quinoa, whole grain oats, and oatmeal. The ingredients are USDA-certified organic and produced without genetic engineering or pesticides. Distributed in resealable bags, their packaging is also safe and is without bisphenol A (BPA), bisphenol S (BPS), or phthalates.
Clearly Crafted Cereals are rich in iron, protein, and vitamin C which support brain development. It also has a silky-smooth consistency to make feeding and the transition to semi-solids easier.
Each serving provides 17 percent of the necessary DV for iron and 45 percent of a baby’s daily protein needs. For every three tablespoons, your child gets a gram of fat, nine grams of carbohydrates, and two grams of protein. It has no cholesterol, sodium, or common allergens.
#3. Earth’s Best Whole & Multi-grain Cereal – Best Cereal With Wholesome Ingredients
Earth’s Best promises organic ingredients grown without dangerous synthetic pesticides. This whole and multi-grain cereal is certified non-GMO by the Food Chain ID and certified organic by Oregon Tilth, a USDA-accredited agency.
Rigorously tested and gluten-free, their cereals for infants are made with whole grains for easy digestion and contain no refined sugar, artificial flavors, modified starches, artificial colors, preservatives, and salt.
It’s rich in iron and fortified with the six B-complex vitamins and zinc.
To prepare, you only need to mix it in with breastmilk, water, or formula, stir until you get the desired consistency, and serve. You can also serve it warm by microwaving the liquid you’ll be combining it with before stirring it in.
#4. WutsupBaby Organic Quinoa Cereal – Best for Transitioning From Breast Milk
Here’s another organic product that you can go for. WutsupBaby’s US-made product proudly offers nutrition that is very similar to breast milk. Their cereal is made from pure, safe, and nutrient-rich quinoa that can be fed to babies from four months to over two years old.
Each serving of WutsupBaby’s Quinoa Cereal contains amino acids, Omega 3, 6, and 9, prebiotics, fiber, iron, protein, magnesium, vitamins E and B2. Together, these nutrients help brain and eye development while aiding digestion.
Conveniently packaged in eight pre-packed sachets, you can prepare it for your four-month-old by mixing it with breastmilk or water. As your child gets older, you can combine it with solid food and beverages.
#5. Gerber DHA and Probiotic Rice Single Grain Cereal – Best for Testing Food Sensitivities
This food item from popular baby food manufacturer Gerber uses single-grain cereal and probiotics to promote digestive health while supporting eye and brain development. It’s enriched with calcium for strong teeth and bones as well as zinc, vitamins C and E together with the six B vitamins.
Since two servings provide 90 percent of infants’ requirement for iron, you can use this cereal to give them the iron they need daily.
Gerber recommends this product for kids up to ten months old. It’s a great way to transition babies from liquid to semi-solid food and test for food sensitivities.
#6. Heinz Rice Cereal – Best Flavor
American food processing company Heinz advertises a tasty and nutritious option for our little ones. Heinz Rice Cereal is a stage 1 food so it’s ideal for babies from four to six months old.
Its ingredients include rice flour, dry skim milk, safflower oil, and soy. It also has a variety of vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, biotin, magnesium, zinc, copper, and more.
To prepare, all you need to do is add water or milk if you prefer a creamier texture.
Though the package says that no sugar has been added, each ⅓ cup has ten grams of sugar.
The Best Cereal for Your 4-Month-Old
While watching our babies grow is an unparalleled and memorable delight, they can be picky, have a sensitive stomach, or may have trouble leaving a purely liquid diet behind. Thankfully, there are dozens of choices out there that we can try.
Most cereals for babies are fortified with nutrients but it doesn’t hurt to do your own research and consult your pediatrician just to be sure. Use this list to narrow down your choices but don’t be afraid to look into them some more to ensure that you’re feeding your baby only the best.