Rice Cereal and Constipation

Posted on Apr 18 2009 - 8:25am by Christine

It’s still considered the number one first food for babies – yet we receive more e-mails from parents telling us about their negative experiences with infant rice cereal than with any other type of food!

One such example is a message we received yesterday from Marisa in Hutto, Texas, US.

Just wanted to comment that I came across your site when I was looking for what to do about my daughter’s constipation yesterday. Today would have been five days. I did not know that rice cereal could cause it, but it makes sense. My son never ate rice cereal, but instead I made him homemade baby oatmeal for his first food and he never had any issues.

Well this time around, we thought, why not try a rice cereal…it couldn’t hurt, right? We were so wrong…our poor baby girl was constipated until tonight. That was after I had taken a few suggestions off of this site to get her to go. I gave her oatmeal with a little apple juice mixed in for breakfast and peas for dinner. Finally, she went and OMG did she cry…rice cereal never again. Thanks so much for the info.

As anyone who has ever suffered a bad bout of diarrhea will probably know, rice forms part of the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast), specifically recommended because they have a binding effect on the bowel. No wonder, then, that a diet of infant rice cereal may have a constipating effect on a baby food beginner!

Of course, not all babies are affected by rice cereal in this way and many parents swear by it as an easy-to-serve first food that can be mixed with breastmilk or formula to create a familiar flavour. However, it would certainly be useful for parents to be made aware of the fact that constipation is – without a doubt – a possible side effect of a diet of baby rice. This is a sentiment shared by Marisa, who – when we asked her if we could quote her in our blog today – commented

I wish they would put warnings on baby rice cereal about it possibly causing constipation in some babies even if it doesn’t happen to everyone.

So why IS rice cereal still recommended by many pediatricians as a suitable first food – and what are the alternatives if you’d like to avoid it?

Read our article – The Best First Food For Baby – which answers these questions and includes lots of experiences from other parents who have used rice cereal as a first food for their babies.

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3 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Me? A Mom? April 20, 2009 at 2:11 pm -

    When it came to feeding solids, I was quite possibly the most inexperienced first-time mother. Ever.

    Not only did we start with rice cereal, but I mixed it with BANANAS which turned our daughter’s bowels into essentially a concrete mixer. I can still remember her cries when she tried to poop. Poor thing.

    Let my naivety be your warning!

  2. Nil August 25, 2016 at 11:09 pm -

    Mix the rice cereal with grated peach 1:1. Delicious and balanced 🙂

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