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There comes a time in a baby’s development when breast milk and formula are just not satisfying a baby’s hunger.
As babies grow, they need more food to keep them full. But, you have to wait until they’re developmentally ready to give them anything else, including cereal.
Babies can usually have solid foods when they are between 4-6 months old. Single-grain cereals are usually the first to be introduced and help to supplement breast milk or formula.
Rice and oats are usually at the top of the list. But, some parents look to wheat options like the popular Cream of Wheat breakfast cereal as another option.
It has no added fat or sugar and has plenty of vitamins like folate, riboflavin, and thiamine. This is why many parents think about giving their kids this cereal. But, is Cream of Wheat for babies safe? Let’s take a closer look.
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What is Cream of Wheat?
Before you consider giving your baby Cream of Wheat, you should know what it is. Cream of Wheat is made from farina. It’s a hot cereal that comes from wheat that has been milled to turn it into a fine consistency.
It has a smooth, thick texture and a creamy taste. It’s often combined with milk or water. Adults typically top it with a variety of fruits and other sweet ingredients.
Should Babies Eat Cream of Wheat?
Once babies start eating some solid foods, it’s generally okay for them to try Cream of Wheat. They may try it once and spit it out so it may take a few tries before your baby likes it if they ever do.
Some parents like the idea of giving their babies Cream of Wheat because it contains calcium which strengthens bones and teeth as well as iron to prevent anemia.
It’s also easy to digest which is helpful for babies. Cream of Wheat for infants is not recommended. Infants should stick to breast milk or formula.
What Age is Best to Introduce Cream of Wheat to a Baby?
Some people start giving it to babies at six months old, while others wait until they’re eight months old. It’s really a matter of personal preference.
You can check with your pediatrician to see how your baby falls into the developmental stages to see when is the better time to try it.
Are There Reasons for Babies to Avoid Cream of Wheat?
One of the main reasons why some parents are reluctant to give their babies Cream of Wheat is because they’re afraid of allergies. Wheat is one of the most common food allergies but tends to affect adults more than young children.
That lead pediatricians to believe that delaying a baby’s exposure to wheat and other highly allergenic foods could help to prevent allergies.
According to information from the American Academy of Pediatrics, there is no evidence to suggest that waiting past the six-month mark to introduce allergy-causing foods can prevent a food allergy or the onset of celiac disease.
What Are the Signs That My Baby May be Allergic to Wheat Products?
If you give your baby Cream of Wheat and notice symptoms like hives or wheezing right after, there’s a good chance your child has a wheat allergy.
A wheat allergy happens when the body produces antibodies to proteins found in wheat. The good news is that most wheat allergies can resolve themselves by early childhood and typically won’t be an issue during adulthood.
Symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, irritability, or poor weight gain may signal celiac disease. If any of those symptoms occur, it’s important to talk with your pediatrician to see if celiac disease is an issue.
The Bottom Line
Cream of Wheat for babies is generally safe once babies have started eating solid foods. This is between the four and the six-month mark.
While it was once believed that babies should wait to try wheat and other highly allergic foods to prevent the onset of allergies, there is now no information to believe that waiting will do that.
As a parent, you may be excited to give your baby new foods like Cream of Wheat, but they may not be as happy. There’s a good chance that your baby won’t like the consistency of the cereal and that they’ll spit it out.
Some parents try to put it in a food processor to puree it. But, even then, some babies just don’t like it and that’s okay.
If your baby eats it and starts to break out in hives or starts to wheeze, there’s a chance they have a wheat allergy. You should contact your pediatrician so your baby can get checked out.
It’s important for babies to try new foods and have a balanced diet. So, if you decide to try Cream of Wheat for babies, just be sure you’re still giving them fruits and vegetables so they can have a balanced diet.