In the subreddit r/beyondthebump, a Redditor shows her annoyance at people’s recommendation to feed rice cereal to babies. Further along in the thread, users agree that this is a piece of advice most commonly given by Boomers. As more and more Millennials reach child-rearing age, they take to Reddit to rant about advice that many of their parents give them. Have you heard this advice before? If so, who gave you the advice? Was it a Boomer?
Why Do People Recommend Rice Cereal?
The original poster (OP) starts the thread by asking, “What’s up with people recommending rice cereal? I was on the phone with my mom, and she’s said, why don’t you give her some rice cereal?” OP shares that she is only breastfeeding until her baby is 6 months old, and that the baby already seems like she doesn’t need to breastfeed any longer. She then went on to ask, “But seriously, what’s up with boomers and rice cereal? And why are they like? “I did it with you, and you’re fine,” but there are those who aren’t fine. Like what does rice cereal do? And why do we even have it?”
Most Say This is Outdated Advice
Most of the responses to the OP share the same sentiment: this is outdated advice most commonly given by Boomers.
The first response said, “it’s a Boomer thing. Ignore. Listen to your paediatrician.”
One user said, “My mother-in-law started pestering us about putting rice cereal in her bottles while I was still pregnant and it drove us nuts. I was going to exclusively breastfeed, so where was I supposed to put the cereal? We mentioned this to our paediatrician and she said absolutely not because it has no nutritional value and the baby could choke.”
Another said, “It’s a boomer thing – just ignore it. It has little nutrition, fewer calories than milk and has been found to be high in heavy metals.”
Someone also pointed out that the parents giving this advice do it because they just want to feel helpful. For example, one person said “[It’s] just a way to make them feel helpful. My mom recommended it too and I was just like “ok cool thanks” and never gave it to mine.”
One other comment supported this point of view, saying “Because that’s what they did 30 years ago. Hell that’s what they did 15 years ago. Things change but people will offer advice on their own experiences. I’m sure things will change when we all become grandparents and our own kids will think we’re stuck in the past with our silly wake windows and baby led weaning.” I mean, this person’s got a point.
Anecdotal Evidence of Good Effect of Rice Cereal
Although most of the responses are that of annoyance, one user shared her positive experience using rice cereal. “My baby has really bad reflux, like dropping percentiles due to loosing calories from spit up, but still gaining. I was advised by his paediatrician to mix a small amount of rice cereal, a teaspoon per ounce of liquid, in his bottles to help thicken it so he can keep it down better. Between that and the prescription medication, he’s doing great, we’ve only been doing it two weeks so far since his 4 month appointment. I can use the same burp cloth for multiple feeds, instead of 2 or 3 per one feed.”
She added that she’s happy that OP’s baby doesn’t need rice cereal, but also that she will continue to share her personal anecdote about rice cereal if asked.
Another person said that she was also annoyed with all the rice cereal advice with her firstborn, however, her mind changed when she had her second child. “I thought the same thing [about rice cereal] when I had my first. But now with my second, he has food sensitivities and really bad reflux. The GI specialist suggested adding cereal to his formula to thicken/keep it from coming back up. She did suggest oatmeal instead of rice due to the arsenic content in rice.”
She added that the people giving these advice lived in a different time, saying, “It’s kind of like when my husband’s grandma told me I should be done breastfeeding and [my son] should be on juice and milk by now. He was 3 months at the time. Their experiences were just very different and also maybe they don’t fully remember the ages they changed their baby’s food. [Because] OJ to an infant doesn’t sound right at all.”
So what do you think? From experience, I know parents will always be parents and will give advice based on what they did as parents. I always get unsolicited advice from my mom and mother-in-law and I just take the advice I want to do and ignore the ones I don’t want to implement. In terms of rice cereal, I do think it’s useful as the very first solid that baby eats as they transition into eating solids.