Infant Cereal and Juice

  • Posted by Dr. Jay Gordon

Q. I am on WIC and my baby is almost 6 months and though not quite ready for food yet will be soon. I am wondering if it would even be worth picking up the Iron Fortified Infant Cereal I am allowed on her 6 months voucher? The vouchers provide both infant cereal and juice. I plan to get the juice and put it away for when she is older but what about the iron in the cereal? Would it deplete her iron she gets from breastmilk?

A. Breastmilk is excellent (not just “adequate” as some doctors say) nutrition for the first 12 months of life.

It’s fun to feed fruits and vegetables to babies over six months of age but far from essential. Cereals are somewhat harder to digest, cause constipation and should be organically derived whenever possible. Breastmilk iron is optimally absorbed (and builds months of iron reserves) when there are no other foods given.

No, I’m afraid the iron-fortified WIC cereals probably aren’t worth a trip to the store.

Juices are another traditional food that almost every baby learns to love. They are mostly sugar and water because the best part of the apple or pear gets left behind. Hard to argue with carrot juice, I guess, but babies and others are still better off eating fruit and carrots and drinking water.

Whatever you do, don’t let anyone convince you that your milk is “not enough” for your baby in the second half of the first year.