Fruit as a first food for baby, rather than cereal

My doctor started my six-month-old daughter on fruits instead of rice cereal. This seems odd to me. What do you think?

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

It should be fine to start your baby with fruit as your doctor recommends. I would advise that it soon be followed by an iron-fortified cereal. Your baby will need the iron, and the balance of nutrients that it provides. You can serve the fruit with the cereal. The vitamin C in the fruit will help enhance the absorption of iron from the cereal.

Cereal is often offered as a first food for several reasons. One, the need for supplemental iron in a baby's diet begins at around age four to six months, when their birth stores of iron are becoming depleted. An iron-fortified rice cereal supplies this critical nutrient.

Secondly, a rice cereal, mixed with breast milk or formula, has a nice balance of calories from protein, carbohydrate and fat.

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