Best Cereals for Babies – an expert review of our favorite brands of baby cereal! In this guide, you will find everything you need to know about baby cereal including, the benefits of cereal, what to look for in a store-bought cereal, the difference between organic and non-organic varieties, plus 6 of our all-time favorite baby cereal options on the market and how to choose between rice, oatmeal, mixed grain, and even quinoa! Great for babies 4-6+ months.

graphic for post - buying guide: best baby cereal - great for babies 6+ months. Images are of a baby eating cereal and images of the brands that we recommend.

Medically reviewed and co-written by Jamie Johnson, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), and Lauren Braaten, Pediatric Occupational Therapist (OT).

Baby Cereal

Are you looking to introduce your baby to their first cereal but not sure where to start? Is looking at all of the options stressing you out?

Well, then you came to the right place!

In this guide, you will find all the information you need in order to pick a baby cereal (or two) that is best for your baby. We will cover what are the benefits of baby cereal, what to look for in store-bought cereal, the difference between organic and non-organic varieties, do baby cereals contain arsenic, plus we go over 6 of our all-time favorite baby cereals on the market and how to choose between rice, oatmeal, mixed grain, and even quinoa!

For years, baby cereal has been one of the most recommended first foods for infants by pediatricians, with rice and oats being the most common ingredients. They are usually low on the allergen list and they are easy on your little one’s tummy. Moreover, most of these products come packaged as a very fine powder to allow for a silky smooth finish.

Nowadays, it is recommended to start your baby off eating a wide variety of pureed or whole foods (referred to as baby-led weaning) such as fruits, vegetables, grains, yogurt, beans, avocados, and more!

So while baby cereals can be the first food you introduce to baby, it doesn’t have to be the only one.

While offering baby cereal that is fortified with iron is still a great option as one of your baby’s first foods, we also recommend you serve baby a variety of other foods that gives your little one an opportunity to benefit from a wide variety of nutrients.

Benefits of Baby Cereal

  • Baby cereals are typically fortified with iron so they are a good way to make sure baby is meeting his iron needs. They also provide other minerals like zinc and calcium, and vitamins B,C, and E. 
  • If the cereal is made from whole grains, it will contain fiber, which is good for baby’s digestive system. 
  • They are typically easy to digest so can be a good option for babes with sensitive stomachs. 
  • Baby cereals make for a good first food for baby if feeding purees, and can be thickened as baby is advancing to thicker purees. If doing BLW, they tend to easily stick to a preloaded spoon.
  • Allows for easy introduction to textures and combination foods.
  • Simple to make and affordable.

Nutritional Tip: because each brand of baby cereal is made with different grains (rice, oats, quinoa, barley, etc.) which all have different nutrients, it’s important to serve a variety of baby cereal to your baby to optimize their nutritional intake of grains.

When can Baby be Introduced to Baby Cereal

Your baby can start baby cereals when they start solid foods, usually around 4-6 months of age. Look for these readiness signs in your baby:

  • Around 6 months of age
  • Sitting with minimal assistance
  • Good control of their head and trunk
  • Bringing hands and toys to their mouth
  • Appears interested in food, possibly by reaching for or leaning forward towards food

Before you start weaning your baby, you should consult with your pediatrician to make sure your child is developmentally ready.

What to Look for in a Baby Cereal

Make sure the baby cereal you choose to serve is fortified with iron. It should have very few ingredients, really just grains and any vitamins and minerals it has been enriched or fortified with. Ideally, you want to choose organic if your budget allows. 

Organic vs. Non-Organic Baby Cereal

Organic baby cereal is made from grains that were not grown with synthetic pesticides, as opposed to non-organic baby cereal that was. Organic baby cereal will therefore have less pesticide residue in the cereal than non-organic, or conventionally grown, and limit baby’s exposure to them. This does not mean that organic rice cereal is arsenic-free. Both organic and non-organic baby rice cereals contain arsenic. Other than pesticide residue exposure, there is no difference in nutrition in organic and non-organic foods.

How to Make Homemade Rice Cereal Video

Interested in making your own baby cereal? Then check out this video and watch how easy it can be!

Different Grains in Baby Cereal

Baby cereals are usually made from rice, oats, barley, quinoa or a mixture of grains. They all offer different nutrients so it is best to serve a variety to your baby. 

Our Favorite Baby Cereals

  1. Happy Baby Organics Oats & Quinoa Baby Cereal
  2. Gerber Organic Baby Oatmeal Cereal
  3. Kabrita Organic Goat Milk Porridge
  4. Amara Organic Oats and Berries
  5. WutsupBaby Organic Quinoa Baby Cereal
  6. Earth’s Best Organic Infant Cereal, Whole Grain Rice

Frequently Asked Questions

Should a baby cereal be your baby’s first food?

Baby cereal can certainly be your baby’s first food, but it doesn’t have to be. You can start baby on whatever age-appropriate food you want including baby cereal or pureed fruits or veggies.

What type of cereal is best to start with?

You can start with any type of cereal, though it is best to serve an assortment of cereals made from different grains so your baby is getting a variety of textures, tastes and nutrients. 

Can you put baby cereal into your baby’s bottle?

It is not recommended to put baby cereals in your baby’s bottle unless advised by your pediatrician. The reason pediatricians sometimes advise this is to help with reflux, or a speech pathologist may recommend it if baby needs thicker liquids to help with swallowing. It used to be a common practice to help with fussy babies and to help them sleep longer throughout the night but is no longer recommended for most babies. It can increase the risk of choking and cause your baby to gain too much weight too fast.

Does rice baby cereal contain arsenic?

Yes, unfortunately, baby rice cereal does contain some arsenic, which is found naturally in rice. Rice absorbs arsenic from the environment more so than other grains so it’s best to give baby a variety of grains, not just rice. When serving rice cereal, serve it alongside other foods.

Feeding Tips

  • Feed infant cereal from a spoon – not a bottle. You may have heard that mixing infant cereal with formula or breastmilk in the bottle will help younger babies sleep at night. However, experts have found there’s no validity to this claim, and what’s more concerning is that younger babies who are not used to swallowing liquid that’s been thickened with cereal may gag, choke or aspirate cereal into their lungs. Make sure to start solids (which includes infant cereal) at closer to 6 months of age, when babies are developmentally ready to eat from a spoon. Only under special circumstances would your pediatrician recommend mixing cereal into their bottle.  
  • Start with a thin consistency of puree – the cereal should be a runny texture, so that it could slide off the spoon if tipped on its side. Starting with a thin texture helps baby learn how to suck the puree off the spoon. You can gradually progress to making the infant cereal slightly thicker over 1-2 weeks adding less liquid. 
  • Have baby self-feed baby cerealy – pre-loading a spoon for baby by dipping it in the cereal and handing it to her or setting it on the tray. We love products like the NumNum GOOtensil or the ChooMee Starter Spoon for pre-loading purees. You can also spoon feed baby, making sure to note if she is showing signs of disinterest, such as turning away from the spoon, closing her mouth, gagging, or blocking the spoon with hands. And letting your little one dip their own fingers in the cereal to feed themselves is also encouraged! 
  • Transition to combination purees – once your baby has shown you they can handle single ingredient infant cereals well, you can mix them with another single ingredient for added exposures to flavor and texture. Common foods to start adding could include pureed apple, bananassweet potatoes, carrots, or peas, and nut butters. After gradual exposure to a wider variety of mixed purees without any allergic reactions, feel free to get even more creative with the combinations – bananas and peanut butter, sweet potatoes and cinnamon, strawberries with cream cheese, or butternut squash and thyme are some of our favorite additions to infant cereals. You can also vary the consistency of these purees, by gently mashing fruits or cooked veggies with a fork and then mixing into the cereal to give baby a chance to try different textures and tastes.

Favorite Baby Cereals

Notes on WIC: As some local regulations vary, please check with your local WIC program to confirm approval on all baby cereals. WIC is a Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children that is available to some families in the US.

More Great Baby Cereals