You are currently viewing Oatmeal vs. Rice Cereal for Babies: What’s the Difference?

Oatmeal vs. Rice Cereal for Babies: What’s the Difference?

Many new moms have been lost in choice on whether to give their babies oatmeal or rice cereal. If you lie in this category then you are at the right place. We’re here to help you.

What’s the difference between rice cereal and oatmeal cereal? Rice cereals are transitional meals for babies from breast milk to solid foods. They are gluten-free and normally cause no allergic reactions to babies. Oatmeal, on the other hand, is iron-rich food that helps the baby in the development of the brain and a strong nervous system. They form the best option for the transition from breast milk.

Both oatmeal and rice cereals form a substantial part of a baby’s first foods. Each plays an important role in ensuring the baby develops right and is healthy. But of the two, which is better? You may ask. Well, we research more to find the benefits accrued by both meals.

What’s the Difference between Baby Oatmeal and Rice Cereals?

The first difference between can be obtained from their names. Whereas oatmeal is made from oats, the latter is made from rice. This is obvious and can be noted right when you take them out of their boxes or packages.

The next difference can be noted from their tastes. Based on taste, oatmeal takes the day. Rice cereal comes with a plain taste. To spice it up, breast milk is usually added to it.

Oatmeal, on the other hand, comes with a nutty flavor that will make it a favorite to many children. There are different brands of oatmeal and they vary in their thickness and flavor.

Another core difference between the two foods lies in their nutrients. Once again, oatmeal scoops the award. Oatmeal is unarguably more nutritious than rice cereal. It is rich in vitamins and natural antioxidants. This comes in handy in helping the baby develop its immune system.

The brain also greatly benefits from this meal. Rice meal is known for its lack of vitamins. For this reason, pediatricians advise mothers to give their babies rice meals less than five times a week.

Despite all the difference, one common ground lies between the two: they are best served with fruits and vegetables. Give the baby as many nutrients as possible and the best way to ensure this is by adding fruits and vegetables to their meals.

Oatmeal is very rich in fiber and we all know its importance: aiding in digestion. Rice cereals lack fiber and may cause constipation to babies. This causes a lot of discomfort in the little angels. With this, many parents normally opt for oatmeal over rice cereals? Once again oatmeal proves its prowess when it comes to babies

A drawback to oatmeal lies with its allergic reactions. Kids allergic to gluten are likely to suffer most. Parents should be very cautious when introducing this meal to their babies for the first time.

Check for diarrhea or vomiting in babies. Also, check with your pediatrician for further advice. Rice cereal becomes a preference under this point. The meal comes with minimal side effects and is known to seldom cause allergic reactions.

Introducing your Baby to Rice Cereal and Oatmeal

The ideal time to introduce your baby to cereal foods is between the ages of four and six months. If you’re new to this, you could use some few tips.

Once you introduce your baby to either of the two waits for a few days to see whether there are any adverse effects. Also, check for vomiting and diarrhea. In order to identify potential sensitivities, provide the baby with single grain cereals at a time.

During this phase, you do not want to abruptly change from breast milk to cereals as this will cause discomfort in the baby. To avoid this, you can mix the cereal with formula or breast milk. This creates a thin consistency in the meal that creates room for easy swallowing for your baby.

Advantages of Oatmeal

Oatmeal is rich in powerful soluble Beta-Glucan

Oatmeal comes with a type of soluble fiber known as Beta-Glucan. Beta-Glucan is associated with a number of benefits. They are as outlined below:

  • Helps in the growth of good bacteria in the digestive system.
  • Reduces cholesterol levels.
  • Creates a feeling of fullness in the baby
  • Reduces blood sugar levels in the body

Oatmeal helps in the control of blood sugar

Diabetes is a common disease characterizes by high levels of sugar levels in the body. Oatmeal plays a major role in preventing this. They also improve the sensitivity of insulin in the kids’ bodies. This is mainly attributed to the soluble fiber beta-glucan present in it.

Helps decrease the risk of childhood asthma

Asthma is a chronic disease among children. Well, there is a way to fight it and the solution lies with oatmeal. Many diseases in children have the same symptoms but you can differentiate asthma from the rest by persistent coughing, shortness of breath and weakness.

A common cause of asthma among kids is introducing them to solid foods very early. Feed your infant with oatmeal to help prevent this chronic disease.

Oatmeal is rich in antioxidants

Oatmeal is very rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, beneficial plant compounds. Antioxidants help in increasing the production of nitric acid.

The gas molecules of nitric acid assist in dilating blood vessels which leads to a better flow of the blood. That’s not all, antioxidants provide anti-itching and anti-inflammatory effects on babies. They release the baby from the discomfort of itchiness.

Oatmeal comes with incredible levels of nutrients

One main reason why parents prefer oatmeal for their babies is the huge amount of nutrients found in them. Compared to other grains, oatmeal also possesses a higher amount of proteins and fats. Nutrients present in oatmeal are as outlined: manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, folate, iron, Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B5.

Advantages of Rice Cereals

Helps with sleep

If your baby is having a rough time to find sleep at night, try rice cereals to solve this problem. Mix the rice cereal with either formula or breast milk to attain the desired results. Although no scientific evidence is in place to support this, none has been brought forward to dispute it either.

Helps treat GERD

Babies suffering from colic or gastrointestinal diseases can count on rice cereal to treat them. GERD disease is characterized by babies spitting up copiously. The formula helps reduce this. Some formula products use rice cereal as their main ingredients to help with this disease. Parents can turn to them if they desire to help their children with such conditions.

Rice Cereals helps increase the intake of calories.

Rice cereal mixed with breast milk is denser than breast milk alone. This combination can prove to be most useful for babies less than six months with increasing appetite.

Babies within this age bracket need foods that will help them grow. Rice cereal can be of great assistance. You can feed your baby between eight to ten times a day to increase their calorie intake.


Everything with advantages also comes with and this also applies to these two essential meals. As much as oatmeal and rice cereals are important, there also drawbacks associated with their intake.

Oatmeal commonly comes with adverse side effects on kids. Many children are allergic to oatmeal. This may be due to its gluten content.  Parents are, therefore, advised to be very cautious and watchful while feeding their babies oatmeal.

Rice meals also have disadvantages associated with it. Rice cereals aren’t a great source of nutrients. Apart from cholesterol and the fact that your baby gains weight, not many nutrients can be acquired from its intake.

Unlike its rich counterpart, not so many nutrients are available in rice meals. Also, rice meals are known to cause constipation among children, these cause a lot of discomfort in them. Some children may even develop serious problems from this. Limit the intake of rice cereals if they cause such side effects on your baby.

Related Questions

When can I give my baby oatmeal cereal?

The recommended age for starting feeding your baby with oatmeal is from four months. Oatmeal is rich in fiber, calcium, and proteins and helps the baby developmentally and acquire a strong immune system. This is the ideal period for the baby to start taking in such nutrients.

Can I start feeding my baby with oatmeal cereal?

Yes, you may begin feeding your baby when the transition from breast milk arrives. You, however, want to start slowly and not abruptly change the meal. This might be done by mixing it with breast milk then trying to exclude the milk later. Check for vomiting or diarrhea to be sure there are no side effects.

Will oatmeal cereal make my baby gain weight?

Absolutely. Oatmeal constitutes the top five foods recommended to help babies gain weight. It makes the baby puree heartier and provides essential nutrients like zinc and iron.

Monica Lawrence

I’m Monica, a single mother who’s raising two beautiful angels. Here, I share helpful and creative articles and how-to’s for all the busy, multitasking moms.