Does giving rice cereal to a baby make them sleep longer?

[deleted account] ( 29 moms have responded )

I have a four month old who is not sleeping through the night. He is a big eater (8 oz. of formula) and wakes up hungry during the night. Friends and family have told me that once he starts eating rice cereal, he will sleep longer. Some of my books say that this is not true but others swear by it. What have your experiences with it been?

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Christy - posted on 06/13/2011

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YES! It's true. Rice, or oatmeal. Baby will take it better with whatever kind of milk you've been feeding with. If you're nursing, plan to pump some milk for cereal time!

Four months is a good time to start spoon feeding, but it's a big adjustment for baby. If he takes a bottle, it may be easier to start by putting 1/4 cup of cereal in his bottle before bedtime and see how he does for the next few nights. That's not much thicker than the milk, so it should be no problem to drink it instead of spoon feeding.

My first boy wanted to nurse every hour from 6pm 'til midnight and I was not producing enough milk to fill him up. He was only TWO months old! I took him to the doctor who told me to start him on cereal. HURRAY! And yes, it worked wonders. He finally got full and we finally slept.

Christy - posted on 06/10/2011

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It might work but it works like cement, in other words it constipates them. I tried it a a while with my son at that age and it plugged him up bad.



BTW, NEITHER of my kids slept through the night until about 20 months old. I just dealt with it until then (both are 4 yrs, and the other about to be 3)

Candi - posted on 06/14/2011

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The rice cereal never constipated my kids. Of course my son's favorite juice was cherry prune juice (YUCK) heavily diluted of course. He was a great sleeper. Sleeping through the night at 2 weeks. sometimes 9 to 10 hours straight. My oldest daughter slept through the night as long as she was touching me. As soon as I moved. BAM WIDE AWAKE! touch her...sleeping again! My youngest always slept through the night too. Cereal just filled their little bellies, but didn't affect their sleeping patterns. Maybe I just had lazy babies! lol. They are still good sleepers though and they are 12, 11, and 6! No food allergies either..just thought I would throw that in!

Jenny - posted on 06/12/2011

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I started giving rice cereal with a spoon to my little ones around 4 months, but I never put it in a bottle. My youngest is almost a year and just started sleeping though the night about a month ago eventhough he is a good eater, but he liked his night bottles & wouldn't drink much during the day. When I talked to the doc about it they told me not to push him, let he change his habits on his own - but they were also concerned that he would loose weight if we tried to stop the night feeds.

Talk to his doc & them make the best choose for your little one... so you know I still talk to them eventhough this is my 5th little one. Each one has been differant as to when I started what foods, since they all developed different.

Valerie - posted on 06/10/2011

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as a mom you know that there are always differing opinions-here's mine: the longer you wait to feed solid foods the better for digestion and avoidance of allergies; also too much too soon can lead to overweight ...i would wait until at least 6 months and i would try lots of fresh air and exercise...it might help with sleep but my experience is not ..al the best to you

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[deleted account]

Our twenty month old got rice cereal in his evening bottle and it never served to help him sleep longer. It just never worked for us. He still doesn't sleep all the way through the night and is often up at four. Usually we just put him into our bed, and generally as a rule he'll just go right back to sleep.

Good luck!

Lisa - posted on 06/14/2011

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i found that it does not work at all, it all depends on the baby. My oldest (he is 7 1/2yrs) has only ever slept 3hrs a night adding rice cereal never made a difference and even now eating a full healthy meal he still doesn't.
My 2nd child (6 1/2yrs) has slept all the way through the night from the day he was born and still does.
My daughter is 5months old and has slept through the night from about 8weeks once i changed her over to hungry baby milk, she doesn't sleep any longer even tho she is on solids.

Liz - posted on 06/14/2011

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My almost 6 month old (next week) has been on rice cereal since she was 6 weeks old do to severe reflux. She has also been taking baby food since she was 3 months, and now eats baby food 3 times a day and takes 5 or 6 bottles....she just this past week began sleeping 12 hours, up until then she was waking up 2 times a night for a feeding. My 4 and 5 year old both slept 12 hours by about 12 weeks and neither of them had solids until 5 and 6 months. If you do give rice cereal (which will constipate them) you can mix it with prunes to counteract the constipation

Lena - posted on 06/13/2011

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my baby dr told to to keep her up in the day time in she will sleep good at nite i do that but it dont help...

Lena - posted on 06/13/2011

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alot of people told me that to in i was putting cereal in her bottles...that dont help...my baby is 7 months old in she sleep around 12 or 1 am...like last nite she sleeps @ 1 in gets up at 3 something in did not go back to sleep in to like 6 am

[deleted account]

You don't have to wake up with your baby after 4-6 months (some would recommend waiting until 6 months). You could try the cry-it-out method but not everybody is a fan of that one... and sometimes it depends on the child as to how well they respond to it. My oldest fussed for maybe 10 minutes then peacefully drifted back to sleep on his own at around 6 months... my youngest is very loud so we've been more "hop to" with her needs and she is fussier... but you should read up on it if you're interested.

[deleted account]

I tried that with my son. Didn't bother him but it didn't help him sleep through the night either. He is 8 months old now and still gets up at least once a night. Lately it has been more and I think it's bc he is teething again. He has a couple weeks here and there where he has slept through the night but not very often. Good luck and stay patient. It will happen in time.

[deleted account]

yes and no, 4 months is young to start soilds but not unreasonable talk to his dr first. Soilds help them stay full longer, but staying asleep or not depends on many factors, including habit and potty needs. My 3ys has always woken up sametime every night since i can remember, that that he's older i know it's to pee, but we did have to train him off a bottle/sippy to learn that. but my one year old only wakes up if he's in pain now (teething). Honestly if your little one is only waking 1-2 times a night consider your self lucky and go with it at least till he's 6-9 months his patterns may change on their own. He still needs to be feed every 4-6 hours and i'm sorry to say that means YOU still need to get up at night

Geralyn - posted on 06/13/2011

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It has always worked for me. I added a teaspoon or two in with their last bottle. Too much will cause constipation but a small amount gives them that full feeling through out the night.

Blackwood - posted on 06/13/2011

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First the advise and recommendation is not to give a child cereal till 6 months old because there tummys can't digest it. Once my son was at the age recommended for cereal, I tried it to get him to sleep at least longer, didn't work. Also I wouldn't mix it in with the bottle, if it isn't mixed up enough it will either clog the nipple or they make choke on it. I did find that he RICE cereal was upsetting my son's tummy alot, he couldn't go to the washroom and when he did it was very painful for him. So I used the WHOLE WHEAT or OATMEAL one. Personally and I know I may get some lack for this, I feel that they put recommendations on a box for a reason and wouldn't chance it. But that's just me. My son is now 22 months still has an 8oz bottle of formula for this age and may even get up a couple nite/early mornings to still have a bit of a bottle. He eats alot during the day, but uses up so much energy running around that food alone just doesn't cut it. Best of luck, lack of sleep can be hard.

Stifler's - posted on 06/11/2011

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No. I started my kid on solids at 5 months and he still hardly sleeps through the night at 17 months.

Sara - posted on 06/11/2011

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My boys are both terrible sleepers, and giving them rice cereal starting at 6 months didn't make a bit of difference. They were just as terrible after starting solid food! I hope your little one settles down and you all get some rest very soon.

OhJessie - posted on 06/11/2011

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In my experience with babies rice cereal didn't make them sleep longer or better - other people have differing experiences.

[deleted account]

My girls started only waking once in a 12 hour night at 3 months.... and started rice cereal at 3.5 months. They slept through at 6 months... for a month. Then were up once or twice a night again til 14 months.



My son started solids at 6 months, but wasn't eating on a daily basis til around a year. He didn't sleep through the night til he was 2.



Some kids DO sleep better once they start solids and some don't (and can even get worse for a while), so I would never use sleep as a reason to start solids or not.



I consider sleeping through the night as sleeping through THEIR night. For my girls that was 12 hours and for my son it is 10-11 hours (usually).

Betty - posted on 06/11/2011

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It didn't help my daughter sleep any longer. Like someone else said, it made my daughter VERY constipated though. My daughter didn't start sleeping through the night until 9 months.

Tasha - posted on 06/10/2011

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I wouldnt give him cereal to sleep longer, if hes not sleeping all night maybe its not because hes hungry, maybe thats just his sleep pattern. Like everyone has said, all babies are different, but ive read and been told by our dr, and all drs are different, that babies around that age should be able to sleep 10-12 hrs at night, again, all babies are different. My son, who is 5 months right now, sleeps 10ish hrs a night, if he wakes, i let him fuss for 10-15 min, then he usually goes back to sleep, if he actually starts crying, i go in his room, give him a bink, and or rub his belly, saying, shhhhhh gently, he goes right back out. Our dr says that feeding in the middle of the night at this stage just becomes habit for some babies, so when our boy starting waking around 4 months, once or twice a night, we didnt feed, or we tried other things first, which usually did the trick. Now he almost never wakes and sometimes sleeps 12 hrs. But again, all babies are different, im not suggesting you do anything that ive done, just sharing my experience. Good luck, i hope you and your baby sleep wonderfully!

Jane - posted on 06/10/2011

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i think this is growth spurt age as well as the start of teething age. i found for our kids that they do sleep better on a full stomach, like the rest of us, i alos found for our kids that some type of teething relief helps too.
if he's taking a bottle in the middle of the night, then he's hungry, try giving him a bit of cereal at dinner. if it doesn't work after a few tries, then wait until he's 6 mos.

[deleted account]

Thanks for your input everyone. To answer your question, my son sleeps usually 4 - 4 1/2 hours straight with the occasional 5 hour stretch thrown in there! I have a doctor's appointment next week so we'll see what she says.

Jamie - posted on 06/10/2011

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My mom kept telling me to try it when DD was little and I didn't really notice a difference.

Stephanie - posted on 06/10/2011

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For my first child, it had absolutely no effect on her whatsoever. We'll see what happens with our son!

Michelle - posted on 06/10/2011

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Most 4 month olds do not sleep through the night cereal or not. I have 3 kids, one of them was sleeping through the night at 4 months and I didn't start her on solids until 5 months because that's when she was ready. It may work or it may not. All kids are different. My guess is that unless your little one is getting up every hour he is sleeping normally for his age. He's old enough to eat rice cereal if he is ready but I wouldn't assume it will get him sleeping through the night.

Bridget - posted on 06/10/2011

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Definitely not necessarily true. I have a 20 month old and a 2 month old. The 20 month old has never been a great sleeper, even still she wakes up a few times a week during the night. My 2 month old, EBF, generally sleeps 8:30pm-5am, eats for a couple of minutes and is back down until 9:30-10. Sleeping through the night is only sleeping about 6 hours straight, not these super long stretches people are always talking about. Does your son sleep for 6-7 hour stretches usually? If so then he is sleeping the way he is supposed to be sleeping.

Cali - posted on 06/10/2011

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Both of my kids had cereal at 4 month. My son slept like a dream! My daughter still doesn't sleep through the night and she's 9 months! She wakes up at 3 for a bottle.

Jennifer - posted on 06/10/2011

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for 2 of my kids, they did start sleeping through the night when we started them on cereal, and for the other 2, it made no difference. If you think your son is ready to start, give it a try if you want. If he gets really gasy or fussy after, then he just isn't ready, and you need to wait a couple weeks.

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