As your child starts to explore edibles beyond baby formula and breast milk, infant cereal is one of the traditional options in first foods. Infants usually start on solids when they turn around 6 months old even though the primary source of nutrition for a baby of that age should still be breast milk or infant formula. Dry infant cereal is a popular choice in first foods for a baby because it is bland in flavor and mixes well with breast milk and formula – making it more appetizing to growing palates. Babies typically use up their stored iron, which means iron-fortified infant cereals can satisfy this need. Single grain cereals, such as rice cereal, are seen as posing less of a risk for allergic reactions.
Baby cereals are sold premixed in individual containers or as a dry mix that you can add breast milk, formula, or water. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, premixed baby cereals are convenient, while dry cereals provide a richer source of iron . You can also gain better control over the thickness of the cereal. Whichever type of cereal you select, make sure that it is made for babies because these types of cereals contain extra nutrients that a growing infant needs.
The Cost of Infant Cereal
The average cost of dry infant cereal is around $3. Depending on how much you use, one to two boxes will last you per month. One box of infant cereal usually contains 6 to 8 ounces of dry product. Organic and specialty infant cereals tend to cost more. A 6-ounce serving of Gerber 3rd Foods Mixed Cereal (with Apples & Bananas) comes in a jar that typically sells for around 79 cents.
As of January 2012, the following prices show an average range of costs for dry infant cereal:
• Gerber Cereal For Baby – Single Grain Oatmeal (8 ounces)  – $2.19
• Gerber Rice Cereal (8 ounces) – $2.59
• Earth’s Best Organic Oatmeal Cereal – Whole Grain (8 ounces) – $2.69
• Sprout Organic Infant Cereal Whole Grain Brown Rice (7 ounces) – $4.29
• Healthy Times Whole Grain Brown Rice Cereal (6 ounces) – $3.79
• Plum Organics Baby Organic Baby Cereals – Oatmeal (7 ounces) – $4 to $5
• Beech-Nut Homestyle Oatmeal Cereal (8 ounces) – $5