Is there anything more excited as a new parent than beginning to try new foods with your little one? We remember the days when it first dawned on us that our bundle of joy may be ready for something other than breast milk or formula. Eager with anticipation we jumped into our search for the best baby cereals to get started with.
The first thing you should consider is whether or not your little one is ready to start solid foods. You’re probably already beginning to think about it if your baby is between four and six months of age or they’ve been giving you cues. While you should always consult your pediatrician first, here are some typical signs your baby may be ready to supplement with cereals:
If you’re not sure if your baby is ready, there’s no need to rush. Some babies will be interested in more than just milk early on, and some may be late bloomers. If there’s any doubt in your mind, don’t hesitate to ask your pediatrician.
Why Start with Baby Cereal?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most children and babies don’t have to have solid foods in any particular order. Many people start with baby cereal as it offers a taste accepted by most babies and can be a great starter food to give babies the feel for eating.
Babies have only been swallowing liquid only up until now; eating is mainly just a reflex. While most babies will develop natural skill in transitioning to solid foods, babies do need the opportunity to develop that skill and to begin enjoying the process.
Starting with baby cereal offers the texture of traditional solid foods without adding additional flavors. So, the opportunity to use coordination in moving the cereal to the back of the mouth and swallowing is there.
Once your child reaches about six months of age, he or she will begin to need iron more than what can be found in breast milk and infant formulas. Many parents choose to supplement with infant cereal fortified with iron.
You can also prepare baby cereal with breast milk or formula to give your baby a more familiar taste as they’re trying this new, thicker food. Some little ones just don’t like the taste of cereal, instantly rejecting it and even developing an aversion to it. If that happens with you and your child, don’t fret. There are always other options!
Are you ready to peruse our list of the top 5 organic baby bowls of cereal? Here it goes!
Top 5 Organic Baby Cereals
If you’re looking for a brand that’s just as invested as you are into your child’s health, Earth’s Best is it. With strong feelings about genetically modified ingredients, you can feel safe knowing that they take pride in making only the trustworthy food for your baby.
Earth’s Best organic baby cereal comes in a variety of flavors including oatmeal, whole grain rice (brown rice), whole grain, and oatmeal with banana. Keep in mind that the brown rice flavor is gluten-free while the oatmeal flavor may have trace amounts of gluten.
If you’re a stickler for sugar, this is the brand for you. While some of the other baby cereals contain a gram or two of sugar per serving, Earth’s Best takes their commitment to health seriously with 0grams of sugar per serving. Of course, your baby shouldn’t mind either way if the cereal is mixed with breast milk or formula, it will turn out plenty sweet for their palate.
Like most brands, you’ll find 45 percent of daily iron content in this cereal along with approximately 1gram of fat. It doesn’t get any simpler as far as ingredients go considering there’s just two! Vitamins/minerals make up half the ingredients while the other is whole grain oats or rice depending on flavor. You won’t find DHA or choline in this cereal, which some people like to see.
This cereal is baby-tested and parent-approved with 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Formerly known as Happy Bellies Oatmeal, Happy Baby Organic Baby Cereal has come back rebranded and ready to rock your little ones socks off. Okay, maybe not that far, but your babe will get the best start with this organic cereal. If you know anything about gut health, you’re sure to understand the benefits of prebiotics and probiotics on a diet.
Prebiotics and probiotics help ensure we maintain appropriate “good” bacteria in our gut that helps keep us healthy, maintain other body systems, and even strengthening our immune systems. This cereal contains four strains of probiotics and one prebiotic that lends itself as a natural sweetener. This cereal is also a certified organic product that contains no artificial sweeteners or ingredients.
In case you’re in the market for supporting a small business, mom-owned no less, you can take pride in knowing that you’re doing your part. The packaging is made without the use of BPA, and the company chooses to partner up with several excellent organizations like Feeding America and Allergy Kids Foundation.
Now for the nutritional specs: One of the most in-depth blends of baby cereals, you’ll find both DHA and choline, along with a variety of vitamins, minerals, and the previously mentioned probiotics. You’ll be happy to know that your little one is getting adequate A, B6, B12, C, D, and E. You’ll also love that your child will be getting folate, calcium, iron, and riboflavin.
Mom, dad, and baby approved; this cereal earned a 3.5 out of 5 stars. Consumers should note that rating may be lower due to issues with orders arriving with expiration dates too close to date received which reflects less on the product and more on the shipper.
Gerber Organic Single-Grain Oatmeal Baby Cereal, 8 Ounces (Pack of 6)
- SINGLE GRAIN CEREAL: This single grain oatmeal cereal features Vitamins C, E, Zinc & 6 B vitamins for healthy...
- SOLID STARTER: Single-grain infant cereals are an ideal first solid food to check for food sensitivities & help develop...
- PEDIATRICIAN RECOMMENDED: Gerber Cereal is the #1 pediatrician-recommended brand for infant cereals among pediatricians...
Well, if there’s one brand that’s utterly synonymous with all things baby, it’s Gerber! Of course, we didn’t leave this mainstay off the list. Gerber, of course, has released similar flavors including Brown Rice, Oatmeal, and Oatmeal with Apple and Peach. For most babies the first experience, it’s typical to start with the Oatmeal or Brown Rice flavors.
As your child grows to enjoy the texture and require more supplementation, you can try the Oatmeal with Apple and Peach flavors to see how they like it. The flavored ones tend to be on the sweeter side compared to the unflavored variety.
In each serving, your baby will get 45 percent of daily iron content, along with about .5 to 1 gram of fat and 2 grams of sugar. It may sound like a lot, but 45 percent of daily content is a healthy amount of iron and shouldn’t cause any constipation, but you know your baby best so feel free to try small amounts the first few times.
Keep in mind that the Brown Rice flavor is marketed as gluten-free while the Oatmeal flavor is not. Sources of both choline and DHA are organic. There’s a healthy mix of vitamins and minerals in each serving as well.
Of course, parents love Gerber products, and their organic line has earned 4.5 out of 5 stars.
We’re sure you’re familiar with rice cereal, oatmeal cereals, even brown rice, and whole grain cereals! But, did you know that there are even more options available? NuturMe has come up with this lovely organic infant cereal made from quinoa!
For those babies that have already tried single grain cereal and are ready to expand their tiny little taste buds, this quinoa infant cereal is packed with protein for your little one. Quinoa is often called a super grain, it’s been around for centuries and is known to be nutritionally dense.
Why is it suitable for babies? Well, babies benefit from quinoa as a complete protein on its own. Our brains and muscles love that quinoa comes with its very own essential and nonessential amino acids! These are the building blocks our body uses to nourish, heal, and grow.
What’s interesting is that its nutritional profile is quite similar to that of breast milk. If your infant is coming around to the time of weaning, you can rest assured that they’ll be getting a very similar nutritional panel as you begin to resign from breast or bottle feeding. It’s also easily digestible and 100 percent plant-based.
There are no synthetic vitamins or nutrients added to NurturMe’s organic baby cereal. In each serving, there’s a prebiotic and full serving of probiotic for enhanced gut health and easy digestion of the grain. You’ll still find antioxidants, iron (11 percent of daily content), fiber, all of the B vitamins, A, D, and even minerals like zinc and magnesium.
Best of all, this is an allergen-free superfood! That means there is no dairy, gluten, egg, or soy. Parents agree and rate NurturMe 3.5 out of 5 stars.
If you’re interested in more alternatives to the traditional baby cereals, you’ve got to try Healthy Times Organic Barley Cereal. Whether you opt for this as your infants first solid food or you serve it to your older infant, it’s a great choice. Still a single grain cereal, barley lends itself to a smooth texture and pure taste.
Do you have a little one with tummy sensitivities? Barley is free of both soy and dairy and somewhat easy on little one’s stomach. According to the brand, there are only honest ingredients included in this cereal. There are no added flavors, salt, or sugars or other additives. Add the liquid of your choice to mix this great cereal for your little one, and you’re on your way!
Parents enjoy the peace of mind they get from serving their little one certified organic food, ensuring a wholesome diet from the start. This cereal earned 3.5 out of 5 stars.
What to Look for When Making Your Organic Baby Cereal Selection
Now that you’ve seen a few of your choices and you’ve had a chance to skim our reviews, you may be wondering how we chose the 5 and what you should look for in your cereal selection. Well, you’ve already made a choice (possibly) about aiming for organic cereals, so that’s out of the way!
Many foods available on the market today are treated with pesticides and contain genetically modified ingredients or ingredients that have otherwise been exposed to contaminants. When a product has been certified organic, it typically excludes the above. Depending on who you ask, you may hear that organic vs. non-organic foods have the same nutritional value, but the choice is up to you.
You’ll want to pay attention to the ingredients in your baby’s food. Look for products that are labeled as not containing any GMO/GMI, which we already discussed. You can also look at whether cereals are single grain, include a combination of grains, or whether they have any other additives or allergens.
You typically know your baby, his/her diet, eating habits, and stomach sensitivities best, so it’s always up to you and the consultation of your pediatrician. You shouldn’t worry that choosing a cereal you and your baby agree on may take some trial and error. Don’t be alarmed if your baby pushes cereal away; it can sometimes take several experiences before a child is ready to accept or try solid or new foods.
Organic Versus Natural
Remember, products aren’t bound by law to adhere to any specifications when it comes to using the word ‘natural’ openly, but the USDA has strict requirements for the organic seal of approval.
There are many brands to choose from, and each cereal can be prepared with any liquid of your choosing. Test out the ones you think are best and see what your baby enjoys.