Putting rice cereal in babies' bottles...

Brandy - posted on 04/05/2010 ( 21 moms have responded )




Some people do it thinking or hoping that it will make their baby sleep longer at night and they think it's a good way to introduce solid foods. I personally have never done it and never would. I breastfeed my babies so it never even came up with us. I have heard from mothers who have done this that it didn't actually help their kids sleep longer anyways. I have heard from doctors that it is a choking hazard and when I take my kids for their immunizations, the nurses ask me if I am doing it and when I say "no", they say "that's good". I think that if your child is ready to be introduced to solid foods, then they should be able to eat it from a spoon, even if a bit messy at first. What do you think? Did any of you put rice cereal in bottles?


Julia - posted on 04/06/2010




I am going to answer the question first then go off on a tangent.

No I don't put cereal in the bottle for the simple fact that it IS a choking hazard and one of the reasons for cereal is to teach a baby to eat from a spoon.

NOW for everyone who thinks that baby cereal is empty calories. HAVE YOU EVER READ THE LABEL???????? It is far from empty calories; rice, oatmeal and the multigrain cereals are choked full of vitamins and minerals here from the side of the oatmeal cereal that is in my cupboard right now

Protein 10%
Calcium 25%
Iron 45%
Vitamin D 20%
Vitamin E 25%
Thiamin 25%
Riboflavin 25%
Niacin 25%
Vitamin B6 25%
Folate 25%
Vitamin B12 25%
Pantothenic Acid 25%
Zinc 25%

Cereal is important for you to feed to your child as it teaches them how to eat from a spoon. And it is important for NUTRITION!

I have now stepped off of my soap box...thanks for listening

Stephany - posted on 04/08/2010




Both of my kids had severe acid reflux. We tried everything this side of the moon to improve their symptoms, including adding rice cereal to the formula (as suggested by the doc). It didn't work very well. There is (or was, at that time) EnfamilAR, which has rice powder or protein or something which keeps it a little thicker but easier to digest, and we used that for our oldest son. Our youngest was allergic to so much that he ended up on Nutramigen. We were told (by a pediatric gastroenterologist and an occupational therapist) to use Thick-It to thicken his bottles instead of rice cereal.
While rice cereal may add some calories, if you have an infant who is truly calorie deficient and is bottle-fed, you may want to talk to the pediatrician about concentrating the formula rather than adding cereal. The reason behind this is if an infant is having a hard time digesting the added iron in cereal, they are less likely to absorb the calories properly. With our youngest we had to use Nutramigen, add Thick-It, and concentrate the formula.
As far as cereal making the kid sleep longer, I really don't think there is anything but hot air behind that myth. There is a physiological reason why infants wake up so often to eat- they aren't just trying to be obnoxious. They NEED consistent fluids and caloric intake. It would a very selfish thing for a parent to intentionally screw with their baby's intake to get them to sleep longer at night.

[deleted account]

Food is meant to be eaten. Not stuck in a bottle.

My ped would've suggested it to me to help w/ my son's reflux, but since he was breastfed from the tap.... it wasn't suggested. ;)

Terri - posted on 04/06/2010




God no and never would! Like you said if a baby is ready for solid food then give the baby rice cereal in a bowl not in a bottle. I think it is disgusting that parents try to give it to their babies to make them sleep longer through the night.

Babies are not meant to sleep through the night until they are ready. When they are younger than 6 months they should be getting just breastmilk or formula. You are meant to wake up and feed your baby.

I have seen parents giving babies as young as 8 weeks old solid food (once chocolate custard!!) and it never ceases to make me feel sick that these parents dont have the knowledge on how to look after their babies properly. You can only suggest that maybe it isnt right but every parent believes they are doing right.

If a baby cant eat of a spoon then it is not ready for solids.

C. - posted on 04/06/2010




Heck no! I most certainly did not put the rice cereal in my son's bottle. That is a huge choking hazard and a lot of people will tell you to enlarge the nipple hole so the cereal can pass and that creates an even bigger hazard. I would never, ever do it. My son's Ped. told me to give him cereal at 4m and I did (W/ A SPOON).. Should have waited longer b/c now my son has problems with constipation since his digestive tract was not ready for solids- that's why the recommendation is to wait even longer than 4 months, and by then they should be able to eat from a spoon. I agree with you, BTW. If a baby can't eat cereal from a spoon, then they're not ready for solids.

One thing that really gets me, though is that some parents are saying they put cereal in the bottles so the baby will sleep longer, even if their baby is only a few weeks old! Babies wake up during the night, that's just the way it is! Personally, I think it is VERY selfish to do something like that b/c you can mess up their little tummies just b/c you don't want to have to get up every couple of hours. Now, if your baby isn't gaining any weight and the doctor highly recommends cereal b/c the baby is in danger of not surviving, that's a whole different story.. But doing it just so you can get your precious sleep.. It's just wrong, IMO.

As far as acid reflux and GERDs is concerned, they have special formulas that help with that (I happen to know that Similac Sensitive is wonderful with GERDs), and if you're breastfeeding, you have to watch YOUR diet as what you eat comes out in your breastmilk and can affect your baby.

And NO!!! Cereal is not empty calories, just as Julia mentioned. It is a nutrient-rich food, but a good part of introducing cereal to a baby is so they can eat from a spoon. Julia hit the nail on the head with that one.


View replies by

Lesley - posted on 04/07/2010




I never did that with either one of my kids.....I was told that it sits like a rock in their stomach and causes major discomfort....how is that supposed to help your infant sleep if they have indigestion???

Jackie - posted on 04/07/2010




ABSOLUTELY NOT...its a horrible idea....cereal is for eating not drinking.

Lyndsay - posted on 04/07/2010




I did. I put one teaspoon in his bottle before bed and shook it up, so its just more of a thicker consistency. It actually did help him to sleep better at night, but thats not why I did it. I did it because, at 6 weeks, my son would drink an entire 8oz bottle of formula in like 10 minutes and still be trying to suck the air out of the bottle. He has always been a big eater, but at 6 weeks old there was no way he was going to eat the cereal off of a spoon so I put it in his bottle. I consulted my nurse before doing this and she told me to keep an eye on his digestion because it may be a little hard for him to break down at that age. (I never had any problems.)

[deleted account]

Even if I could put cereal in my breast, I wouldn't :). I'm not a fan of rice cereal. I got pressured into it and after trying it for a week it constipated my daughter (she was 8 months). It is fortified with vitamins and minerals, but I'd rather she get those naturally through veggies and fruits. I tossed the cereals and went straight to foods that I made her and she can pick up and eat herself.

Jane - posted on 04/06/2010




Never did it....didn't see a need. My kids started sleeping through the night at 6 weeks for my now 20 year old daughter and 7 weeks for my 16 year old son...and honestly, they never looked back. They are STILL sleepers (LOL)!!!! Introducing solids too early is not recommended as their digestive system is not ready for it...even IF it's liquified with either breast milk or formula. Sleeping through the night has nothing to do with solids and people that try to force it are potentially causing issues for their baby.

September - posted on 04/06/2010




I never put rice cereal in our son's bottle. Our son started eating rice cereal when he was 6 months and it was from a spoon :) I do not agree with offering solids in any shape or form unless for medical reasons before 6 months of age.

Charlene - posted on 04/06/2010




I have never tried it and I will never try it. I think the only time it should be done is in the cases of babies with acid reflux and those who aren't gaining enough weight.

Gracie started eating cereal at four months, at the recommendation of our Ped. By this time she was showing all the signs of being ready, even grabbing at our food and making the chewing motions. She took onto it from the very first try. :P She was already sleeping 6-8 hours at night, so it wasn't to help her sleep. Actually, now that she is eating a lot of solids at 8 months, she sleeps LESS now than she did at 4 months. :S

And whoever came up with the notion that cereal is empty calories should read the nutrition label on the box/bag.

Amy - posted on 04/06/2010




I don't do that. I'd be worried about them choking. But also cereal is cereal. I never understood why parents did that. I thought it was unhealthy since their bodies can't really digest it yet [i know parents who put it in DAY ONE!]. I won't ever do it. It just kinda seems like it's for momma's benefit, not baby's. There are a few cases where babies have tummy issues and docs recommend, but I'd still worry about choking. Not worth it to me. Just spoon feed some cereal, then bottle. I nurse though, so not an issue here.

April - posted on 04/06/2010




I'm a breastfeeding mommy too...i would never put rice cereal in my son's bottle ever if he were ever to take a bottle (he doesn't take them and never will).

i will certainly be doing BLW next time around, as i did introduce rice by spoon at 4 months old and it hindered my milk supply and caused him to drop daytime feeds. To this day, he is still a reverse cycle feeder (thanks to the dumb doctor who told me he needed rice at 4 months!)

Soo...long story short. I am totally with you. If they cannot pick it up themselves/get some food to their mouths alone...then they are not ready for solids. Personally, I will be prolonging solids til close to my next child's first birthday (if i do indeed conceive again)

[deleted account]

I put cereal in my son's bottle but it was really watered down - about 1tbsp in a 7-8oz bottle. It had nothing to do with getting him to sleep through the night but trying to get a few extra calories in him.

He had a lot of texture issues so when he started getting cereal, even from a spoon, it was still really watered down.

Kylie - posted on 04/06/2010




In the UK its pretty much frowned upon. You can buy special teats for the purpose though.

I never did it, I agree with Brandy, that babies should be introduced to food as food, on a spoon, or on their highchair tray, or off your plate, it shouldn't be mixed into their milk.

Babies need regular feeding, and getting up during the night is in a mum's job description. As Joseph was incredibly low birth weight (1lb 7oz) he was a four hourly through the night feeder for a long long time. It was hard work, but I knew that's what I was taking on when I decided to try for a baby.

I'm reaping the rewards now, 12 - 14 hours a night straight through, finally!

Lady - posted on 04/05/2010




Whem my son was a few months old my doctor recomended giving him a little baby rice mixed with breast milk to try and help him sleep a little better. I'm not really sure if it worked. None of my children have got a bottle before the age of 4/5 months when they were already getting some solids so it's not something I would have ever thought of putting cereal in their bottles. I have heard never to do this because of the chocking hazzard and because it clogs up the holes in the teets but if it has been recomended by the doctor then that's something different. I just think food should be given on a spoon and if they can't take it from a spoon then they are too young to need food, but that's just my opinion.

Heather - posted on 04/05/2010




Yes, I put cereal in my sons bottles, but my Pediatrician told me to due to gastric reflux...it honestly didnt even effect his sleeping. He will be one in a week and havent used the cereal in his bottles for a few months now...but it did help keep him from spitting up his bottles as an infant.

Johnny - posted on 04/05/2010




It's not something that I would have chosen to do. I breastfed and supplemented with formula until my daughter weaned onto solids and we stopped giving her bottles. So it really was never a consideration. But I do think there appear to be many good reasons why not to put rice cereal in the bottles. Aside from babies who have reflux, for whom it is recommended, most pediatricians and professionals have serious concerns about safety and the nutritional quality of the practice. I tend to believe that baby's sleep rhythms should be respected, I do not think it is natural to try to force a child to sleep through the night at a very young age. Babies have different sleep rhythms than adults, its one of those things that we just have to muddle through in those first 6 months. Concerns about choking, allergies, constipation, etc. should overrule convenience.

Brandi - posted on 04/05/2010




I haven't even gotten to that point with my girl yet. But I don't really even plan on giving it to her as I hear it's empty calories and just constipates babies.

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