How Do You Know When to Start Feeding a Baby Cereal?

start-feeding-baby-cereal Credit: Adie Bush/Cultura/Getty Images

Typically, babies between 4 and 6 months of age begin to exhibit signs of readiness to digest solid food. These signs include turning the head in different directions, sitting up with little assistance and pushing up with the elbows while crawling on the tummy. If the baby is taking 24 ounces of breast milk daily, it is appropriate to start feeding cereal.

Most experts recommend that infants start incorporating solid foods by the age of 6 months, an age when babies' natural stores of iron begin to decrease. While babies still receive iron through breast milk and formula, supplementing their diets with iron-fortified cereals is recommended. Most baby cereals provide key nutrients in addition to iron, including calcium, zinc and B vitamins, all necessary to support healthy growth in infants.

The recommended way to transition a baby from breast milk to cereal is to feed the baby some formula or breast milk before completing her meal with cereal. This may prevent the baby from becoming too hungry. The recommended time to attempt the transition is when the baby is alert and content. Familiarizing the baby with the texture of cereal and using a coated baby spoon that helps to protect the gums may make the transition smoother.