The transition from liquid to solid foods for any baby is a gradual one and every step of the process can be interesting and exciting for both you and your child. At first, your baby can only take liquids and purees. Then, your baby starts to show interest in solid foods at about 6 months old. Your baby will start to reach out for the food you are eating and finally, in the age range of about 7 to 9 months old, babies can usually start eating finger foods.
Finger foods are chunks of solid which are small enough to be eaten in one bite. They can be small cuts of soft fruits, vegetables, biscuits, bread, or cereals. Cheerios are the perfect finger food. When accustomed to finger foods, some babies even start to grab your hand when eating and drag it to their own mouth.
Watching and experiencing these processes can be very exciting for parents, but you need to make sure that your baby is perfectly safe eating these foods. Keep on reading to find out when can babies eat cheerios.
HOW NUTRITIOUS ARE CHEERIOS FOR A BABY?
Cheerios (originally called CheeriOats) have been in existence since as early as 1941 and have become a common staple for both children and adults. As a breakfast cereal taken with milk or as a snack munched alone, Cheerios are delicious and commonly enjoyed by all. Children, in particular, have an affinity for Cheerios. However, you should know how well Cheerios fulfill your child’s daily dietary needs before letting them eat it.
Cheerios are made from whole grain oats and they come in different flavors, each containing a different mix of ingredients. Some varieties are Yogurt Burst, Cinnamon Burst, Frosted, Apple Cinnamon, Chocolate, and the original Cheerios.
Speaking of nutritional content, a single serving size 1 cup (28g) contains about 100 calories. They contain many essential vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin D. They also provide a part of the daily mineral requirements like iron, calcium, and potassium.
In addition, Cheerios provide lots of dietary fiber. Cheerios are low in sugar, proteins, and fat. You can add milk and mashed fruits to boost the protein content and nutrients in it. All in all, Cheerios are a very cost-effective and nutritious food option for your baby.
ARE CHEERIOS SAFE TO EAT FOR A BABY?
When considering feeding your baby Cheerios, the safety of your baby is what you would naturally have in mind. The following must come into consideration:
So, what exactly are Cheerios made of? The ingredients found in Cheerios are whole grain oats, sugar, salt, wheat starch, Tripotassium Phosphate (a preservative), mixed tocopherols (forms of vitamin E), and spices and flavors depending on the cereal variety.
The preservative used in Cheerios is Tripotassium Phosphate. Tripotassium Phosphate (known as E340) is a food preservative, approved in the United States, Canada, Australia, the European Union, and all over the world. It is often added to many processed foods like cereals, baked goods, bread, processed cheese, and ham.
Now, I’m sure you’re concerned about the safety of this dangerous-sounding chemical. Is Tripotassium Phosphate safe for your baby? Indeed, it is! In moderate quantities, Tripotassium Phosphate is quite healthy as it provides much-needed potassium for your baby, helping the muscles and nerves. However, as with most foods, it could become a problem when ingested excessively and too much of it could cause kidney and heart problems.
Remember that a box of Cheerios now and then is perfectly healthy for your little one.
The possibility of choking is a very terrifying one for any parent and you should steer clear of any food your baby is obviously not ready to eat. Cheerios have high dissolvability with little liquid. They turn soft very easily and so the danger of choking is minimal.
Also, the treat is torus-shaped (like a donut), so even in the event of throat blocking, air can still pass smoothly, making Cheerios one of the safest solid food choices for your baby. Nevertheless, you should always remain close by when your baby is eating.
Although the chances are extremely low, your baby could be allergic to Cheerios. The primary ingredient of Cheerios is oats and oats do not typically trigger allergic reactions, but it is best to be prepared. Take it slow and allow your baby little portions at first. Monitor your child afterwards and watch for reactions.
The reactions could be mild or severe and if you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, immediately seek the service of a health professional. Some of the signs that a baby is having an allergic reaction are skin rashes, itching, swelling of the tongue or lips, vomiting, or diarrhea.
CAN YOUR BABY EAT ANY FLAVOR OF CHEERIOS?
Not exactly. The original Cheerios are fine, as are most other flavors. Allow your baby to sample and enjoy different flavors from time to time and discover what he/she likes.
However, do not allow your baby to sample Honey Nut Cheerios just yet. Honey is occasionally contaminated with clostridium bacteria. Clostridium bacteria are easily dealt with by adult digestive systems, but in babies less than one, it could cause infant botulism. Symptoms of infant botulism are constipation, weak muscles, and respiratory difficulty.
The chances of infant botulism are low and there are effective diagnosis and treatment processes in place, but to avoid the risk completely, keep Honey Nut Cheerios off the menu until the baby is at least, one year old.
Honey Nut Cheerios also contains quite a lot of sugar for your baby (about 12 grams per cup).
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS THAT YOUR BABY IS READY TO EAT CHEERIOS?
How do you know when your baby is ready to eat Cheerios? These are some of the signs that would let you know that your baby is ready to start eating the yummy snack.
Age: When your baby is above six months old, you should begin to watch for signs that would inform you that your baby is ready for solid foods.
- Interest: Your baby is showing interest in the food you are eating. At first out of curiosity, your baby would start to try to pick up solid food and put it into his/her mouth. This is an important sign that tells you your baby is ready to try solid foods.
- Teeth Growth and Jaw Development: When your baby begins teething, it could be a sign that your baby is ready for solids. Your baby also begins to make chewing motions with his jaw when eating other foods. Start by giving your baby small chunks of soft, easily dissolved fruits like bananas. Put those teeth to work. You can also soak the Cheerios in milk to soften it.
- Neck Development: A strong neck is important for eating and swallowing, so only consider giving your baby Cheerios when it is able to hold his/her neck upright without help. Being able to sit up is also a positive sign. This will make sure you avoid any risk of suffocation if your baby’s neck tilts.
- Development of The Pincer Grasp: The pincer grasp is holding an object between the thumb and forefinger. When your baby can do this, it means he/she is now able to eat his/herself. The process of picking up the cheerios and bringing them to the mouth could also help the development of motor coordination in your baby.
PRECAUTIONS TO TAKE WHEN FEEDING YOUR BABY
You must make sure you follow these precautions when your child is eating Cheerios or any other finger food:
- You must always be present and near enough to reach your baby at a moment’s notice. In case of a choking or gagging emergency, this will increase your response speed and increase the safety of your baby.
- Consult with a pediatrician if you are uncomfortable about your child eating Cheerios. Also see the doctor immediately, if your child shows any adverse reaction after eating the snack.
- To avoid the risks of infection, do not feed the child Cheerios that have been exposed or that is musty.
- Do not feed a child in a moving vehicle to avoid choking due to the rocking motion.
CONCLUSION: When can babies eat cheerios?
The average ideal age for a baby to start eating finger foods is 7 to 9 months, but some babies can be as early as 5 months and some as late as 12 months. Every baby is different and if you are worried about any of your baby’s eating habits or lack of them, kindly consult a physician.
Cheerios are a fun snack and they can be enjoyed in so many ways. There are quite a number of recipes and delicious food combinations just waiting for you and your baby to discover. They may involve fruits like bananas and cinnamon, vegetables such as lettuce and cabbages, or other foods like jam or yogurt. You can browse for recipes or simply just get all adventurous in the kitchen. You can also ready a camera to record your baby’s first encounter with the new foods. When introducing your baby to Cheerios, remember that ‘Safety first.’ Maximum enjoyment and every other thing comes only in second place.