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When can my child eat cereal?

Q: When can I start my 10 month old on 'grown up' cereal? When I eat my breakfast with her she is more interested in mine than her own. Is Weet-Bix suitable for her?

A: At 10 months some adult cereals can be used but many are too high in fibre for babies. Some are also too high in sodium and sugar. Avoid any containing seeds, nuts or hard bits of dried fruit. Never give bran cereals to baby.

While fibre is good for adults, too much given to a baby or toddler fills a small stomach and spoils appetite for other important foods needed. Too much fibre can cause tummy pain or diarrhoea. Baby cereals are low in fibre and have added iron. It is wise to continue with an iron-fortified baby cereal, but add variety and increase texture by including low-fibre or medium-fibre cereals such as cornflakes, ricies, rice bubbles or puffed wheat. And vary flavours with fresh or cooked fruit.

Porridge made from oatmeal (or quick-cooking rolled oats) is a good choice from 10 months. (But if there is a family history of allergies to wheat or gluten delay introducing oats, wheat, rye and barley until after one year.)

Though whole wheat biscuits like Weet-Bix seem soft when milk is added, they are high in fibre compared with ricies, cornflakes or puffed wheat.

For babies under one year limit Weet-Bix to small servings two to three times a week.

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