When is it okay to start a baby on cereal?

Rebecca - posted on 07/08/2010 ( 96 moms have responded )

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My son is 3 months old and has an appetite just like his daddy, the size of the North American continent. We don't go back into the doctor until July 30th for his 4 month check up, so I am wondering what to do for him and feeding him to help him sleep longer at night. He gets a bath anywhere between 8:30p.m. to 9:30p.m. then is fed 6 oz to 8 oz and sleeps for 4 hours then is up and feeds then sleeps for another 3 to 4 hours. Is this normal? And will cereal help keep him full if I don't water it down as much?

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Liz - posted on 07/10/2010

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No, it's not suggested to start infants on rice cereal until they are 6 months of age.



There are guidelines about this for a reason. Just wait.



Rice cereal in a bottle is BAD!



Here's 5 reasons.



Allergies: While no one agrees completely on what it is that actually causes allergies, we do have enough research to see certain connections. One, very well documented connection to serious allergies is when a baby has been exposed to the allergen too early. Putting cereal in your baby's bottle, even rice cereal, can cause allergies.



Choking hazard: Some infants do not fully have their swallowing reflex fully developed at birth. Sucking cereal from a bottle can cause a choking hazard. . .and babies have actually died this way. Choking on cereal from a bottle certainly isn't a common cause of death. . .but why do it when it is linked to something like choking?



Digestive Issues: There is a connection between babies who have solids too early and digestive problems. The fact of the matter is that baby tummies are designed to take in breastmilk. When you can't breastfeed, there's formula which mimics breastmilk. Baby tummies are not designed to take in solids, and it's not surprising that they malfunction when forced to do what they're not designed to do.



Obesity: One key factor in obesity is infant feeding. Infants are born with a self regulatory ability to take in only what they need. By feeding on demand and following a baby's cues, you are essentially helping them form habits of eating when hungry and eating until they feel full. This sets them up for a lifetime of healthy eating habits. But when you add cereal to a bottle, it bypasses their system and essentially they take in more calories than they need.



It does not work: There is no scientific evidence to support the notion that baby's sleep better with cereal in their bottles. The truth is, babies are designed to wake frequently at night. Dealing with sleep deprivation is part of the parenting package.

Nikki - posted on 07/08/2010

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4 hour stretch is very good for a 3 month old and 6-8 ounces is the average every 2-3 hours. My son was eating 4 ounces the day he was born every 2 hours and 12 ounces every 2.5 hours when he was 4 months, so at 5 months we intro'd veggies and fruits ( he didnt take well to cereal) It is recommended you wait til 6 months.



Please do not start your baby early on food to get the to sleep through the night, their digestive system is still too weak and new to process solid food and this can cause a very gassy and constipated baby and then you wont be getting any sleep.



At least try to wait another month and ask your doctor first, 6-8 ounces is pretty average for that age



also DO NOT PUT CEREAL IN A BOTTLE ITS A CHOKING HAZARD AND IT CAN LEAD TO OBESITY, FEED IT WITH A SPOON.

Whitney - posted on 07/13/2010

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I really never gave my daughter Cereal, she will be a year on Wednesday. I went from formula to baby food. What did they do way back when before all this 'testing' was done? My daughter ate 4oz for a while then up to 6oz when she got to 8oz I started giving her baby food. I'd do 3 to 4 bottles a day and baby food when she was hungry between then. She ALWAYS gets a bottle before bed, but it doesn't ever have cereal in it, it's all formula, and she sleeps 8 to 10 hours. It's up to you and your baby. Whatever you feel is right for your baby. Doctor's have an idea of what works well, but do they know your baby? Perfect example: my doctor said that 3 months is a good age to start cereal, others say 6 months. My daughter never wanted it. She didn't like it. I tried. Who's to say your daughter will be the same way? Everyone and every baby is different. It's what you're comfortable with and what you find it best for your child.

Angie - posted on 07/08/2010

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a 4 hours stretch is really great for a 3 month old. Sleeping through the night is technically only 5 hours so that's really good.

I wouldn't give any sort of solid foods before 6 months old (including cereal). Chances are it won't help them sleep longer and could have very negative long term affects if started too early.

[deleted account]

Cereal won't keep him any fuller than a bottle. Don't give your son cereal until he is ready around 4 months or later. If this is for you to be able to sleep in don't do it. It's not for you to get more shut eye but for him when his body is ready for more nutrients. I know many babies who still wake up at age 2. It's normal for a baby to get up because they have small stomaches and need to be fed frequently. And you have to have the cereal really smooth for the first feeding. Its about how they can swallow it with the consistency not about keeping them full.

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Amanda - posted on 07/13/2010

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My daughter is 3 months old and i feed her cereal with a spoon twice a day( she doesn't like the whole spoon idea though) and i put some in her bottle before bed, she sleeps 8 hours a night

Jackie - posted on 07/13/2010

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Hi i gave my son cereal at 3months old and it actually made him constipated and have a very sore tummy, i wouldn't reccommend it, but an alternative is baby tinned fruit like pears or apples as it doesn't hurt there tummy or make them constipated, but my son a 3months old was up every 3hours at night so it sounds like your wee one is doing just fine, my son is now 16months and only just started sleeping through the night a month ago!

Janee - posted on 07/13/2010

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There really is no health benefit to those infant cereals. It makes your child feel more full without giving them any nutrition. All the cereal does is add more calories he doesn't need, more fatty carbohydrates and sugars that are not going to do anything but make him gain weight and he probably won't be hungry when it comes time to eat something with REAL nutrition.

That being said, yes it can help fill their stomaches and sometimes they sleep a little better. But doctors don't recommend it until at least 6 months. Some baby-friendly yogurts can be given as early as 3 or 4 months and are much healthier.

Personally I never gave my kids cereal, except as a thickening agent in their home-made baby-foods.

I hope he starts sleeping better for you, but it sounds completely normal for a baby his age. If you know he is eating enough throughout the day, you might try 3 or 4 ounces of plain-old water before bedtime. It sits heavier and digests a little slower than formula... but it does make them pee more too *lol*

Ashley - posted on 07/13/2010

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My pediatrician recommended putting one tablespoon of rice cereal per two ounces of breast milk/formula in the bedtime bottle when our daughter was around that age. They sell special "fast flow" nipples for this purpose.

Christie - posted on 07/13/2010

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My 2c is go with WHO recommendations and introduce solids no earlier than 4months, and better yet wait until 6months. There has been a lot of research to suggest introducing foods early can cause gut and other problems.

Technically "sleeping through" is regarded as sleeping through one feed, so instead of feeding at say 6pm, 10pm, 2am, and 6am they might drop the 2am feed.

Introducing solids, despite what a lot of people say, is not a magic sleep solution. My daughter was given solids at 6months old and she actually started to sleep a lot worse! Although she came good relatively quickly. It's a lot for their little tummies to process.

Whatever you decide: Please, please, please don't put cereal in a bottle. As mentioned below it can have a lot of negative long term effects.

Goodluck :)

ALYSSA - posted on 07/13/2010

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My doctor has had my daughter with rice cereal mixed in her cup since 2 months from her GERD and epiglottis problem and eating jar foods since 4 months. She also started eatting the cereal out of a bowl at 4 or 5 months. Only rice at first. She didn't do the other ones til 6 months. And my daughter still does not sleep through the night she gets up between 1 to 4 times. She only takes a binkie or nothing at all, the doctor made me ween her off the bottle at 5 months because the epiglottis was letting liquid into her lungs, so I weened her completely through the night also.

Theresa - posted on 07/13/2010

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My son was six or eight weeks when the doctor actually recommended I add cereal to his bottle because I suspected that he had acid reflux. I would add one teaspoon per ounce so I would add four teaspoons to a four ounce bottle. Once I started this, my son slept for ten hours straight and has slept through the night ever since. You have to do what works for you and your baby and not listen to the recommendations from doctors or others. I would put one teaspoon in his nightly bottle of rice cereal and see how that works. Babies can have solids at four months so a month early isn't going to have negative effects.

Kathryn - posted on 07/13/2010

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It is strange to me that you would be willing to take the advice from a stranger(s) on an internet group over the advice of a medical professional.
It also scares me to read all these responses that this women post about putting cereal in a bottle. Babies are BABIES, they are not suppose to "sleep through the night." God made them that way and we as Americans are always trying to put babies on a schedule and get them to conform to our schedules. Then we say, "They grow up so fast."
Please take your doctor's advice and if you don't agree with that, get a second opinion from a MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL, not the ladies on the internet.
As with anyone else who is debating this subject, use the internet to do some real research instead of asking what others "think." Starting a baby on solids to early can cause major issues in the long run. Only your child's doctor and YOU, as the parent, should decide together what is best for your individual child.
Remember, that each child is an INDIVIDUAL and what works for one, may not work for the next.

Brittany - posted on 07/13/2010

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Our Pediatrition(who came HIGHLY reccomended) says start them on cereal at 3 Months, then once they master the spoon, try them on ONE Veggie a week so if they end up with a rash or something you know not to feed that certain veggie to them again so then that way your not playing the guessing game trying to figure out if it was pea's or sweet potatos, or green beans! Then once you get thru veggies start fruit, and as for juice she says start at 6 Months and ONLY in a sippy cup not in a bottle! We did this with My son who is now 2 and he was completely off the bottle at 9 Months! Let me tell ya it was NICE to not have to wash bottles anymore cos he used the Dr. Browns and that is now what our 3 Month old Daughter is on too!! Good Luck and hope this helps!! :)

Sadie - posted on 07/13/2010

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I started my son on it at 4 and half almost 5 months but i just put it in his bottle because he would BF every hour or LESS when he wanted to but that was fine...just when I ws tired from all his feeds i started then at 5 and half months I tried it in the bowl with breastmilk even then I made it runny until he got used to the consistency...it didnt seem to keep him full any longer like some people say but every babys different

Jenny - posted on 07/13/2010

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I started my baby when she was about 2 1/2 months b/c she was lasting the whole 4hrs and she was already at 6oz of formula i just mix a lil in her bottle and she loves it!!! i give a lil more at her feeding before bedtime and she sleeps all night!!! It wont hurt them to start them early make make him a lil chucky but it beats a screaming baby i done his with both kids and other babies i watched!! hope this helps!!

Jajaira - posted on 07/13/2010

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all doctor will say start a baby on cereal at about 4 to 6 months. I tried to follow that but my son was always hungry at 3 months. so i began cereal(rice) only at night. i started with half an oz and it helped so much he would sleep 5 to 6 hours. which is a good amount. i didnt see any allegric reaction so i up it to an oz and by 4 months he was sleeping through the whole night.

Patty - posted on 07/13/2010

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I did. I helped him sleep and skip a feeding. The dr's do not recommend it only because is causing weight gain. I used to give him 5 oz with about 1 tablespoon of cereal not too thick. Also don't forget to make the hole in the nipple just a little bigger. Now he's 7 months old and I have him 2 oz. of milk with 2.5 tablespoon of cereal with about 2oz of a fruit. HE LOVES IT.

Candace - posted on 07/13/2010

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My daughter is 3 months old, and has been on a little bit of cereal for about 2 weeks, it works wonders and has not affected her digestion at all. It's up to you, and your son, if you are going to try do only a little bit at a time, and wait until he has a bowel movement before you try it again. And expect to wear a lot of it the first time :P

Tania - posted on 07/13/2010

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Well I my son was eating cereal out of the bottle @ 2months and because of that same reason, babies are hungry and milk just dont do it!!! So what I did was fixed him a 4oz bottle at night and put him to sleep and he slept all night!!! So good luck.....

Anita - posted on 07/13/2010

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My son is 3 months & has been on 7oz of milk for a few weeks & only lasts 3hrs 4 if we are lucky i give him a little baby rice every other night & it seems to be helping but every baby is different.

Rebecca - posted on 07/13/2010

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Oh, one other thing. You must keep it "watered" down with breast milk or formula until he gets older. Making it too thick will just choke him. Start with a couple tablespoons (RICE cereal) in about 4-5 oz of breast milk/formula, and see how he does. (You will have to use a faster flow nipple, or it wont come out)

Rebecca - posted on 07/13/2010

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I started my son on cereal when he was 2 weeks old. Thats right, two weeks. However, it isnt the consistency that it is supposed to be. I only added two teaspoons to a 5 oz bottle. Just enough to give it a little more "oomph" in keeping him full. At his two week checkup, his pediatrician said it was just fine, because of HOW much he ate during the day. He would sleep no longer than 1 hour without a little something extra. She said go for it, so I continued. He is a healthy 16 month old now, and never had any digestive problems. Go slow with it at first to see how he responds. If there are no problems, then go for it!

Kendra - posted on 07/13/2010

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I started my first son on some cereal at 3 months.. he was always staring at me while I was eating and opening his mouth practically begging for the spoon. I didn't think twice before I mixed some cereal in breastmilk. He ate it like he'd been eating for months! I also mixed some cereal in a pumped bottle from time to time with a faster flow nipple to help him fill up and stay satisfied when he did start eating some solids on a regular basis. I say mix a little bit of that cereal in a bottle for starters and then go for it. If that baby wants to eat a bite of solids you may as well give a bite or two.. it's not gonna hurt. In fact I was completely impatient and had him eating stage 1 fruits and my own purees at three months soon after. He turned out perfectly fine and what do ya know he's still a thriving toddler.

Heather - posted on 07/13/2010

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I don't know if I would give him cereal since he isn't 4 months old yet, but there is a new formula by Enfamil that keeps babies full longer (for night time feedings). I would try that. Here is an article from their website about why NOT to add rice cereal. http://www.enfamil.com/app/iwp/enfamil/p...

Trishana - posted on 07/13/2010

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I was told to introduce rice cereal @ 4 months and other baby cereal @ 6 months.

Trishana - posted on 07/13/2010

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I was told to start on rice cereal @ 4 months and on other baby cereal @ 6 months

Nickia - posted on 07/13/2010

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My daughter just turned 5 months and her doc told me at 4 months she could have cereal he said give her one at a time because u won't know what she is allergic to if u give her the mixed but in my opinion I think it's up to u if u feel like the milk alone is not filling ur baby I would give him the cereal.

Nicole - posted on 07/13/2010

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i had a hungry baby with my daughter as well. i started her on pablum made thin with formula ( or you can use breast milk) at two months old. she loved it and it helped her to be satisfied. I gave her a little bit in the mornings and as long as its not thick and only a little they can handle it fine. she needed the extra nourishment especially since i was unable to breastfeed anymore.

Kelly - posted on 07/13/2010

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it depends, if ur child is being brestfed then solid;s are not reccomded until 6 mts but if ur bottle feeding then 4 mts is the right time. just like ur lil 1 my daughter was a hungry baby, she was bottle fed so just before she turned 4 mts i started 2 introduce baby cereal at very small amounts, if u feel ur lil boy can handle it i say go ahead, u know ur baby best xx

Tara - posted on 07/13/2010

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Yes sleeping for 4 hours at a time at 3 months is normal... actually good! Some get less. Don't start cereal yet... their system is not used to it and they can't really swallow and push food to the back of their throat. My ped doctor said anywhere from 4 to 6 months.. we started them at 6 months same as my first born and they have done really well. All I can encourage you to do is wait.... he is not ready yet.

Michelle - posted on 07/13/2010

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You can start a baby on rice cereal at 4 months, My doctor told me it would be good to start at 4 months, 1-2 tablespoons 2 times a day, But, just once a day when you are just starting out.

Amy - posted on 07/13/2010

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Well you should really ask your dr about it BUT most drs say 5 or 6mo to start with cereal with a spoon BUT we started our son on it at 4mo. He didn't like it very much mixed with formula so I would mix it with applesauce and he LOVED it. BUT that sitll wasnt' enough for him so we would mix a little in his night time bottle but we didn't do that till about 5mo and he started sleeping longer at night.

Ashley - posted on 07/13/2010

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My son is going to turn 5 months on Sunday...and I started him on baby cereal at 4 months. He, lik ehis dad, also has a huge appetite. I found that giving it to him once in the afternoon and once before bed really satifies him and he is fuller and happier.

But the way i did it was: my son normally drink 6 ounces of milk...so I take 4 ounces of milk and put 3 tablespoons of the cereal. He drinks that and then I give him the remainder 2 ounces to drink and cleanse his mouth.

[deleted account]

What I did was...add maybe one of the scoop u use to measure his formula of cereal to his milk....just a small amount so its not overwhelming him...personally I introduce food to my kids early just not to much of it...you start getting their immune system ready and in the future they don't grow up having food allergies etc...

Kate - posted on 07/13/2010

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I think most cereals start from 4 months onwards (not sure if it's the same where you are). Whne I went back to work, my little girl was just turning 4 months & that's when my mother-in-law started her on porridge. Then after a while, she started her on veggies. So it was bottle in the morning, then porridge mid morning - using her formula, then the rest of that bottle used to make her porridge, then veggies mid afternoon, then a bottle late afternoon, then her last bottle at about 8.30pm. She's been sleeping through since about 7 weeks old, so the porridge had no effect on her sleeping. Maybe you should chat to your Mom & your Mother-in-law, as they know what worked for you & your husband. You'll find that your little one will follow a similar pattern to how you were when you were that small. Are you still breastfeeding or is your little one on formula? I found that my breastmilk wasn't enough & as soon as I changed to formula, she was more nourished & that's when she started sleeping through.

Haniyyah - posted on 07/13/2010

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3 months is a good time to start add some fruit and warm milk after the bath he should be good to go.

Marie - posted on 07/13/2010

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My son is 4 months old and at his checkup the doctor recommended me not giving him cereal until he was about 6 months or so. Along with baby food. He said just to continue to feed him his milk and when that time comes around then give it to him.

Taisha - posted on 07/13/2010

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My son was the same way I started him when he was 6 weeks I put about a tsp in his bottle at night and he has been sleeping all night since I am a mother of 4 healthy boys who all ate cereal at around 6 weeks Not one of them have any problems

[deleted account]

Cereal will not help any baby sleep longer, unless he is just not eating enough to get him full in the first place. Also, you will never feed a baby cereal via bottle and, in my experience, he will never get down enough cereal via spoon feeding to make any difference. It honestly sounds like your 3 month old has a typical sleep pattern. The best thing to do, if you think he's ready to phase out the late-night feeding, is to slowly begin feeding him less while possibly feeding him more before you put him to bed and after he wakes up in the morning and he will eventually phase it out entirely on his own. You might also want to try overnight diapers, as my LO was only waking up at night because his diaper was wet.

Amanda - posted on 07/12/2010

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That is absolutely normal your child is still quite young for pablum or cereal. His stomach is too small too get that stuffed feeling. He needs breaks in between feedings to digest, or he may become gassy. There could be many reasons why your little one wakes in the middle of the night; for instance: Needs comfort, could be teething, gas, etc. Some may recommend that it is okay to proceed, but I would postpone until 6 months just to be safe. One question I do have though. Is your son breast fed or bottle fed ?

Carmin - posted on 07/12/2010

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I've read everyone else's posts and I disagree and agree with everyone. It is a touchy issue. I wanted to just give my daughter milk but since her teeth began to come out at 4 months I just began to give her cereal. Not a lot, but I was comfortable with the decision because the doctor had said to introduce foods once she gets her teeth. Half a teaspoon should be okay for the 3 month old with no teeth. I would suggest not to do it on every feeding maybe skip a feeding, since you haven't gone over this with the doctor. My fiance gave it to her in a bottle. I think feeding it with a spoon is best, not really because of the choking hazard but to get him accustom to using a spoon. About the hours. I think it is normal. My daughter has been a 6 hour night sleeper since she has been born and I was not about to interrupt her sleep... :) I'd give her a feeding at 11 or midnight and we would wake back in the morning around 6.

Raeann - posted on 07/12/2010

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4 hours is really good for his age. I started my son on cereal at 3 months old because he was up every hour eating. But he was also 8lbs. 1oz. 3 weeks early. I would check with your doctor first before giving it to your baby. All babies are different and some babies sleep through the night at that age. But a good nights sleep is 3 to 4 hours for your baby.

Kara - posted on 07/12/2010

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my son had acid reflux and we were able to add cereal to his formula (or breast milk if you are breast feeding) to thicken it. call the nurse hotline and find out much you should give though.

Mesha - posted on 07/12/2010

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i have 2 girls and one boy on the way and there is nothing wrong with giving ur bab a lil cereal in his bottle st night..no u don't have to make all thick but like a 2teaspoons and increase it when u see his appetiite picking up..go with ur gut sweeti,if u always go by the book ur gonna be tired cause he's gonna be hungry keeping u up allll nite simply out of hunger..hope this helped..take care

Ashley - posted on 07/12/2010

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If your son is too hungry and is not satisfied with just bottle's, I would start now. What I always did was use the little cups in the formula cans, and put 1 or 2 cups of rice in an 8oz bottle. It keeps babies tummy's a little more full then just formula does. Also, you can try spoon feeding him some cereal but i would be careful with that. Once I started spoon feeding my son, he was cranky to be drinking out of a bottle again. Good luck!

Chelsea - posted on 07/12/2010

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doctors & plunket both say absolutely no solids before 4 months. so if bubba is 4 months you would be fine to start on baby cereal just one tablespoon at a time it may not seem like much but bubby only needs that amount and it will make a difference will sleeping

Heather - posted on 07/12/2010

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Oh and I knew she was ready and I was right, she had previously been a really cranky baby and twas a really problem nurser and didn't really like bottles either, where my son loved nursing and drinking bottles, she became a totally different baby, she loved eating and was soooo much happier!

Heather - posted on 07/12/2010

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Every pediatrician is different. I have twin 10 month olds, boy and girl. I have a ton of friends with babies within a year and some were told to start and 4 months and some were told to wait until 6 months. My guys were premie and my ped. said to definitley wait until 6 months, I DIDN't!!! I knew that my girl wanted to eat and was ready so I started at 5 months, she LOVED it. My son didn't really care, he still wanted a bottle. However, they did both get really constipated but I think thats because I started them on it too much (2 or 3 times a day) So what I'm saying is, your baby is the only one who will know if he's ready or not. Try a little bit here and there. If he likes it gradually give him more and more and then maybe it'll get his body use to it better. I was told not to put it in the bottle, I actually don't know the reason though.

Kim - posted on 07/12/2010

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my son was so hungry as a newborn he would drink 7 - 8 oz of formula every 3 hours and most of the time cry for more! he was so hungry, i went to his Dr and they told me to give him 2 OZ of formula every 4 hours and no more... i changed Dr.s after i told her how i felt about starving my child and that i hope some one starved her!

i started him on RICE only cereal in his bottle at 4 1/2 weeks and he could go 5 - 6 hours between feedings, and was generally alot happier!

my daughter i started on RICE (plain) in her bottle at 3 weeks because of the same reason. trust your instincts, you know what your baby is feeling and needing, and if your getting that he is still hungry .. feed him. dont let anyone undermine your instincts, you have them for a reason.

but by all means dont water the cereal down, use formula or breast milk if your feeding that, it should be very runny so he doesnt choke on it. good luck!

Amanda - posted on 07/12/2010

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My fiance and I had discussed starting our 2 month old on some rice cereal (he was born at 10lbs 1ons and is now in the 100 percentile for weight!) but after reading all the opinions on here, I feel better safe than sorry is the right decision for me! He seems pretty satisfied with just formula right now, and only gets up once (sometimes twice) during the night; which I'm seeing now isn't so bad! :)
Thanks!

Dana - posted on 07/12/2010

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you usually start cereal at 4 months old. My son will be 3 months old next week and he has acid reflux so the dr said to give him 2 spoon full of cereal and it helps! he sleeps all night long.hes a much happier baby. dr may say wait. but its your baby and its up to you. I say go for it.

Kristin - posted on 07/12/2010

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I'm sure similar things have been posted, but I also have a 3 month old and he has a HUGE appetite. And like a few people said, I'm not going to let him go hungry so I talked to the dr. and she said to start him on cereal (he was not quite 3 months at the time) and he LOVES it! I did try it in a bottle first but he's such a vigorous eater that he kept choking on it and spitting it up so I switched to a spoon and he took to it very well. Now he eats a 6 oz. bottle and about 1 tbsp. of cereal mixed with about 2-3 tbsp. of formula for breakfast along with about 1/2 to 1 jar of either applesauce, bananas, or pears (the baby food, not regular fruit), and at night he usually just has the cereal and a 6 oz. bottle. And as a bonus, he's learning how to eat off of a spoon which is a little tough at first but once they learn the whole "open your mouth" part of it, it works! Good luck!

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