Opinions on adding rice cereal to breast milk at 3 months

Carolina - posted on 03/08/2010 ( 31 moms have responded )

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My son is only sleeping 2-3 hrs at a time (day or night). Our pediatrician suggested adding some rice cereal to the breast milk for one or two bottles a day. I know there is a lot of literature out there... I am just looking for opinions on adding rice cereal to breast milk. Thanks ladies.

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Crystal - posted on 03/11/2010

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There is a lot of great advice given here. Hopefully I can add something that isn't already said. By 5 months, my daughter was still getting up every 2-3 hours to feed, I was exhausted. I tried feeding my 5 months old cereal so she would sleep better. It worked for two nights only and then she went back to waking every two hours again.
So this is what I did. I started breastfeeding more durring the day, even if for only 5 min. I also started to really push naps. An over tired baby sleeps less. Also, I tried not feeding her evrytime she woke up. I would turn her mobile on, touch her cheek and hold her hand until she went back to sleep. Babies have sleep cycle that wake them every couple of hours, some babies wake right up while others will doze back off. This is a normal sleep pattern for babies. Before giving cereal, I would suggest looking into other options. I read a book called "No Cry No Sleep" that had tons of great tips. Hope my experience helps you. I don't think giving cereal is the only solution, you need to do what you are comfortable with. Oh and by the way, My docotor was dead against giving any kind of food until she was 6 months old. I don't think there is a solid right opinion out there. You have to do what you are comfortable with and what feels right for your baby.
Cheers

Rosalinda - posted on 03/09/2010

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Here is some information from Baby center. Hope it helps
Expert Answers
Jan Barger, lactation consultant
Adding cereal to a bottle of breast milk or formula has often been recommended to help a baby sleep better. But there's no evidence that babies will go to sleep faster or sleep better if they're given cereal — or even a full meal — just before going to bed.

For one thing, babies are programmed to wake up fairly often during the night, not only to eat, but also to socialize and touch base with their parents. Moreover, your baby won't be able to sleep through the night (defined as a five-hour stretch) until his central nervous system has fully matured; it has almost nothing to do with whether he has a full tummy. Every baby is different — and some will be able to sleep through the night sooner than others.

Keep in mind, too, that breast milk or formula provides everything your baby needs until he's 4 to 6 months old. Introducing cereal earlier than that puts him at a higher risk for allergies.

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I know others have different experiences, but based only on my personal experience w/ my 3 kids... food and sleep have no connection. My girls were only waking once in a 12 hour night at 3 months... 2ish weeks before ever starting solids. My son will be 2 in a week and a half and STILL doesn't sleep through the night.....



I wouldn't put cereal in a bottle. Food is meant to be eaten. ;)

Carolina - posted on 03/16/2010

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It seems like we move from one evil to another. Thank you all for the advice. I have choosen to try co-sleeping (many have opinions on this too) and we seem to be getting more sleep. Rather than waking up all the way sitting up nursing and battleing for an hour to get my little man back to sleep, i hear him stirring offer him my breast and we go back to sleep shortly. I just feel like he really is not eating that much and just using me as a pacifier (which he wont take one of those either... i have tried several) I am thankful for all your opinions and support, and i continue to hang in there and find what makes my little man happy while keeping him safe. p.s. i havent tried the rice cereal, just waiting a little bit longer.

Shaakirah - posted on 03/14/2010

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hi i had my LG at the GP and he said we could give her rooibos tea, juice, water, prune dessert as well as cereal from 2 weeks old. Crazy? coming from a doctor who's been practising for over 40 years. Go figure

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Jeanna - posted on 03/14/2010

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I have a six month old and at two months she wouldn't sleep very long either. I asked about cereal and I was told it was a myth to help babies sleep. Plus everyone I have talked to or i have read says that you shouldn't put cereal in a bottle because the babies could choke. Believe me, it may seem like those nights will never end, but they eventually do! Just hang in there

Anneke - posted on 03/14/2010

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Thanks to advertising companies that make mothers thing babies need food supplement from 3 months! this is not true and quite damaging. You should wait till your baby shows signs and lifts food off your plate and not before. I even made this mistake myself. Breastmilk should be fine. And your baby will want it all the time and seem like its hungry, I had the same. There are growth spurts babies go through sometimes they juat want breast all the time.

Also feeding food will decrease your milk supply and the more breastmilk in baby the better.

Amie - posted on 03/13/2010

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hi, i personally never had a problem wen i breast fed but i no many mums who have my advice would be choose 2 feeds a day n comp feed.. ie formula.. not rice cereal.. i found a good tight wrap at night n a bottle feed depending on there age to mills of milk at 3 months i think its between 50 n 100 mls..dont quote me.and dont sleep the baby next to you or near you because they smell the breast milk n that also wakes them up.. hope that helps you out..

Darcel - posted on 03/12/2010

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I started my boy on rice cereral and breast milk at 4 months old. He already had two teeth and took to the food quite well. He had a 60% / 40% breast food/cereral diet until he was 6 months and then we introduced fruit and veggies. I still breast fed until he self-weaned at 11 1/2 months. Every child is different and if you do not believe your baby's dr you should get a 2nd medical opinion.

Mary - posted on 03/11/2010

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humm.. everything ive read says their digestive system cant handle anything but milk until they are at the very least 6 months.

Rachel - posted on 03/11/2010

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i feel co-sleepin is good advice, my baby woke up frequently so he sleeps with us and we all sleep alot more because of this. good luck :)

Rachel - posted on 03/11/2010

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my pedi said the same thing when my son turned 4 months. she told me to spoon feed it to him. it seemed to fill him up, but it also gave him alot of issues as far a constipation and having regular bowel movments. I personally wouldnt recommemend it ;)

Christina - posted on 03/11/2010

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For a nursing baby to eat between 2-3 hrs at a time is normal. Please go to http://LLLI.org and consult with professionals who are trained to advise you in this matter as well as professionals in your area that you can call to help you with any of your challenges! YOur precious little one is worth it and remember that even pediatricians are not trained to deal with breastfeeding challenges or to know what is normal or not for a breastfeeding baby! This is the truth! La Leche League has trained professionals that will help you understand the normal rhythyms and behaviors of a breastfed baby. Isn't it better to get advice on something so important from the experts in that field? Good luck and good for you for questioning this before following this dangerous advice! (This is why we have a problem with infant obesity in this country with advice like this!)

Erica - posted on 03/11/2010

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I have a close friend that is a speech pathologist and she says to never never put rice cereal into a bottle. It should be spoon fed.

Research that I have read says there is really no benefit to giving it to help a newborn sleep, it won't really make a difference. However, I'm sure that there are plenty of Moms that will disagree with this.

Besides the earlier you introduce foods the greater the risk of allergies.

Hang in there.

Corinne - posted on 03/11/2010

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I used bottled water or pumped breast milk to a bowl (made very soupy). Then gave my daughter a small spoonful and put her on the breast to help her swallow. She became a champ at eating in no time. And it helped to get her full and sleep well.

Cat - posted on 03/11/2010

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First of all, the rice cereal really doesn't help that much with the sleeping. Secondly, it's nutritionally not much to write home about. Also, remember that numerous health organizations recommend NOTHING but breastmilk during the first six months. Sleeping 2-3 hours at a time is pretty normal for that age (sad but true). My best advice would be to cosleep so you're getting as much sleep as you possibly can and just work through it. :)

Shelz - posted on 03/11/2010

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i wouldnt. he may just be having a growth spurt... which is common at his age. Babies should not have any food before at least 4 months of age preferably 6 months, as i see below its a chocking hazard, not to mention that babies are not able to process this through their bodies at this age, so he may end up sick . Some doctors dont know what they are talking about. This is not fine to me.

Beck - posted on 03/10/2010

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My so was still doing to same! I feel your pain! hehehe I will add though that I kept plodding along feeding as he required. Even when we introduced solids after 5mths...it still didn't help with sleeping longer! Sorry!! It was not until he was 6mths old and we did A LOT of work on his whole 24hrs that we got some sleep. This included looking at his sleep routines and dveloping a set plan in regards to eating / sleeping / settling etc (no controlled crying!). So I wouldnt recomend it but I know you get to the point where you would try putting them to bed standing on your head if it thought it would get you sleep!! My bub ended up feeding 6-8times a night and waking every 45mins because he didn't have the skills to put himself to sleep or back to sleep with out me and my boobies! Good luck with it. Remember its short term. My beautiful boy is now 12mths and we are FINALLY getting a good night sleep. It doesn't last forever! They will be 18 yrs old soon and we will be loosing sleep because we will be worried that they are out with friends!

Kari - posted on 03/10/2010

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Follow you momma instinct! If you are questioning it then maybe its best to wait a bit...but do what you feel is right for you and your baby.

Monika - posted on 03/10/2010

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I am surprised your doctor suggested adding rice cereal to break milk but seeing this person is a doctor and I am not I would think he would know more then me =D All the literature I have received about feeding my daughter and all the heath care workers I have spoken to about this (my daughter was colic and gassy so I spoke to lots) always frowned against this and told me though they can not tell me what to do with my own child they would not suggest it.



I am sure you are very exhausted by now, I am amazed we survived the first three months of my daughter's life because we had so little sleep and a very upset baby.



In my opinion I would wait to four months and start him on a little rice cereal. You are not suppose to start with fruits and veggies until 6 months but my pediatrician who has delivered hundreds of babies for about 20 years told us we could start to give our daughter rice cereal at four months if she wasn't seeming to get full on formula/breast milk. Rice cereal is a complimentary food so it will not replace he's formula for that feeding.



Oh its fun showing them how to eat, at first make the rice cereal really runny because he will try to drink it and he has to learn how to eat and its messy, just make sure you try it when he is not starving, learning to eat while very hungry does not work. Also I suggest trying a brown rice organic rice cereal less chances of constipation.



It's only one more month, I know it seems like forever when you are exhausted.

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My thinking is, No. 3 mos is too young to start on foods. Their digestive system is not mature enough to process food other than breastmilk.

Marabeth - posted on 03/10/2010

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giving a three month old anything but breastmilk to eat will decrease your supply in the long run. that's certainly not what a three month old needs, in my opinion. 2-3 hours of sleep at a time is fine.

Martha - posted on 03/09/2010

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Please just trust YOUR instinct Carolina. Just sit down in a quiet place, relax, and clear your head. Remember you are the mother and it is your baby, you have to trust yourself. ♥

Carolina - posted on 03/09/2010

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Thank you for all your advice on adding rice cereal to break milk. I am overwhelmed with the choice and all the info that i have recieved. It seems to be a hot topic. I do trust my ped, and i have done research. But it is hard to trust your own instinct when there are so many people with such negative views. Thank you again...

Nikki - posted on 03/09/2010

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I agree with Martha, I am yet to meet a doctor who has much of an understand about breastfeeding and if your doctor did he would know that it's very normal for a breast fed baby to only sleep 2-3 hours, I used to stress about this and I was going insane from the lack of sleep I was getting so I spoke with several lactation consultants and none of them recommended cereal, as Martha said it is unnecessary in your babies diet until they are six months old, when their iron stores start to deplete. Plus a choking hazard and just a personal opinion of mine but I would worry that they are not getting enough liquids and nutritional benefit from the breast milk because they are filling up on cereal, I could be completely wrong, I know that some doctor do recommend cereal for babies with severe reflux, however if I understand correctly it is based on weighing up if the reflux is severe enough to justify introducing solids at such an early age. In the end with my baby, because I just couldn't cope with the lack of sleep I ended up giving her one bottle of formula before bed of a night, that way she slept for 5-6 hours and I could get enough rest too. But it is a personal choice, you need to do what you feel comfortable with, personally if that was my doctor I wouldn't be listening to that advice, but that's just me. I also agree with Martha that you should speak with a professional lactation consultant, they are so much more helpful and knowledgeable than doctors.

Martha - posted on 03/09/2010

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And I would also like to add to Carolina ; you are the mother: do what YOU feel is safest and best for your child. Do your own research and talk to professional lactation consultants if you want in person advice from a breastfeeding professional. ♥

Donna - posted on 03/08/2010

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How long does your son feed for at a time? I had a problem with my son only sleeping for short periods in the beginning but he was only feeding for 20 minutes at a time and then falling asleep. I make sure that I keep him awake and feed him for at least 40 minutes now and he sleeps really well. I sometimes have to strip him off to his nappy and feed skin to skin (especially his last feed at 6pm). He now goes to bed at 7pm and is only up once in the night before 6am (sometimes sleeps right through).



I have been advised against feeding any solids until 6 months of age as the digestive system and kidneys are not mature enough to be able to digest or excrete the waste products properly.



I hope this helps.

Martha - posted on 03/08/2010

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Putting cereal in a bottle is a choking hazard. 2-3hrs at one time is PLENTY of sleep. There is nothing wrong with that, so i really don't understand what the issue is. The cereal might actually upset his tummy and keep him up more, making it very counterproductive. For my personal opinion after doing over a year of reading, research, and talking to professional lactation consultants, and taking the WHO and AAP recommendations into consideration; I wouldn't give my child baby cereal EVER, and no solids at all (excusively breastmilk) for at LEAST the first 6 mos. Baby cereal has no real nutrition, the artificial iron in it prevents the baby from absorbing the natural (better) iron found in your breastmilk. It also puts the baby's blood sugars all crazy. 3 mos to me is wayyy to early for anything but breastmilk. I would ignore your pedi on this one.

Monika - posted on 03/10/2010

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I am surprised your doctor suggested adding rice cereal to break milk but seeing this person is a doctor and I am not I would think he would know more then me =D All the literature I have received about feeding my daughter and all the heath care workers I have spoken to about this (my daughter was colic and gassy so I spoke to lots) always frowned against this and told me though they can not tell me what to do with my own child they would not suggest it.



I am sure you are very exhausted by now, I am amazed we survived the first three months of my daughter's life because we had so little sleep and a very upset baby.



In my opinion I would wait to four months and start him on a little rice cereal. You are not suppose to start with fruits and veggies until 6 months but my pediatrician who has delivered hundreds of babies for about 20 years told us we could start to give our daughter rice cereal at four months if she wasn't seeming to get full on formula/breast milk. Rice cereal is a complimentary food so it will not replace he's formula for that feeding.



Oh its fun showing them how to eat, at first make the rice cereal really runny because he will try to drink it and he has to learn how to eat and its messy, just make sure you try it when he is not starving, learning to eat while very hungry does not work. Also I suggest trying a brown rice organic rice cereal less chances of constipation.



It's only one more month, I know it seems like forever when you are exhausted.

Carolina - posted on 03/09/2010

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Thank you for all your advice on adding rice cereal to break milk. I am overwhelmed with the choice and all the info that i have recieved. It seems to be a hot topic. I do trust my ped, and i have done research. But it is hard to trust your own instinct when there are so many people with such negative views. Thank you again...

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