32 answers

Cereal at 4 Months?

I know I should trust my doctors. (maybe), but she told me I can give leiyah now 4 months, rice cereal here and there. like pouring 2 oz of breastmilk. (still b/f) mix in the cereal till it's like cream of wheat....... is this ok. is it too soon, she told me it will get her ready for baby food by 6 months. I dont know. it sounds great, she told me it will help her sleep through the night. which is great. I tried it once with her with only 1 oz and he was fine. took a while becuase she tried to suck it up from the spoon, I am wondering if will confuse her. I will only give her cereal when she is staying with someone else and when she is with me ill b/f . it also helps me save the milk i pump for her i never seem to be able to up enough. I can only pump like 4 oz at a time. and she drinks 5 oz to be happy. Can some one settle my mind. or tell me it really is to early!!!!!

What can I do next?

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This is one of those things that SO many Mom's, doctors, nutritionists are going to tell you many differant things. I did give both of my kids cereal at 4 months. I don't know that it really helped them sleep anymore, I think that might be a wives tale, or it just didn't work with two of my kids, but it is okay, since you are asking advice! I don't beleive it confuses them at all. They are pretty smart to know what they are going to partake in & what they don't want to have anything to do with. Babies are so much fun. Have fun with it!

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I gave all of my kids a little cereal at night when it became appparent that it would help them sleep better. They were very hungry! I also mixed it with breast milk and it worked wonderful. The only thing I always remind new moms is to hold the baby's head up while feeding a bottle........lessens the chance of ear irritations. Good luck!

It is too soon. A baby's belly is not ready for this till the baby is 6 months old. I also heard it is a choking hazzard.

I delayed solids with my 2nd son and he took to baby food and reg food with no problems.

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I tried feeding my son cereal at 4 months. He didn't take to it but my doctor said to just keep trying. He said that even if he doesn't eat any, he is getting used to the idea of a spoon and other textures. My little one finally started eating at around 6 months. Just try and it she doesn't like it it's no big deal. You're breastfeeding her so she gets everything she needs from that. Cereal is just a bonus at that age.

1 mom found this helpful

This is one of those things that SO many Mom's, doctors, nutritionists are going to tell you many differant things. I did give both of my kids cereal at 4 months. I don't know that it really helped them sleep anymore, I think that might be a wives tale, or it just didn't work with two of my kids, but it is okay, since you are asking advice! I don't beleive it confuses them at all. They are pretty smart to know what they are going to partake in & what they don't want to have anything to do with. Babies are so much fun. Have fun with it!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,

You've have gotten a lot of good advice and some poor advice. So, I'll keep my advice short: First, congrats on sticking with breastfeeding. Our country is not set up to support mothers in this endeavor, which is a full commitment to be sure. Second, cereal should not be given to babies until around 6 months, until their digestive systems are mature. There is plenty of material to support this (see Dr. Sears). Third, if you give your baby cereal now, it could affect your milk supply, so wait. Fourth, the amount of milk you pump does not necessarily correlate to the amount that baby takes in when breastfeeding. If you want to increase milk supply and have some stored for use later, you have to be diligent and pump after one to two feeds in the morning (when breastmilk is at the height of production).
Keep up the fantastic mothering and good luck!

Trust your gutt. Do what you are comfortable with. I breastfed one of my daughters until she was 10 months old. We did not implement baby food or rice cereal with her until she was almost 7 mos old. When a baby is breastfed they do not "need" baby food as early as formula fed babies because they get all the nutrients they need from breastmilk. Good luck in your decision!

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting until 6 months to start solids. However, that is a recommendation for ALL babies, not YOUR baby. I am breastfeeding my 5 month old and I started occasionally giving her cereal at night a couple of weeks ago (it does take forever, but it's pretty fun). My pediatrician said I could start whenever I felt it was right after 4 months. I thought we would try it. If she didn't like it, we would wait and try it again. We started with rice cereal mixed with breastmilk so it tasted normal to her (but there's no reason you can't mix it with water). We moved on to oatmeal and then apples and peas. She is still a little unsure of the flavors of the apples and peas, but she loves the cereal.

She also started sleeping 10-12 hours straight through at night after about a week of cereal at night. She nurses, plays, eats some cereal, takes a bath, reads a few books, then nurses again. She is nursing less frequently, but nurses from both sides each time instead of one side only, so she is getting the same amount of breastmilk in fewer feedings.

I work most weekdays, so I wasn't too upset about getting up at night to feed her, because I liked the snuggle time we had at night. But I was starting to get frustrated at night because she was nursing constantly and seemed to be frustrated and hungry. So we decided to add a meal at this time.

There should be no pressure on you at this point to start solids, but you can for fun if you think your child is ready. Remember that breastmilk should be her main source of nutrition for most of her first year.

COMPLETELY agree with Dori. You totally make enough milk, but a baby is much more efficient about getting it out than a pump. How often do you pump? I think 5 oz is kind of a lot for a breast fed baby in one sitting, personally. The general rule is an ounce per hour. So if you're apart from your baby for 3 hours, you'd expect them to take 3 oz. Not that there can't be variations among babies. I have a 4 month old too and I only pump between 2-3 ounces at a sitting. I don't know your situation, but I only pump occasionally to keep my baby in practice with the bottle.

Some doctors are old school and recommend starting solids at 4 months. The AAP says to wait until 6 months. It's up to you, but I am personally waiting for 6 months as their stomachs are more mature and the risks of allergies and asthma, etc. are less. My little guy also has a dairy sensitivity which makes me feel even more strongly about it. I'm also skipping rice cereal which has no nutritional value. You'll hear anecdotal evidence of people saying their babies sleep through after starting cereals, but there are no studies to support that. When I started solids with my daughter, it didn't make any difference in her sleeping habits. I know some people start their babies on cereal practically from birth, but my opinion is anything before 6 months is a bit early.

If you do decide to continue with solids, just remember to nurse before offering and if someone is taking care of her, to offer the bottle first. Before a year, solids are for practice and you don't want that belly too full for nutritious breast milk.

Congrats on making it so far with breastfeeding! Like your info says, you should be proud!

Your Doctor is Right!!! It will help her feel full and sleep better and be less fussy! I started feeding my son at 3 months. But not as thick as cream of wheat at first. Just add a lrg. tblsp. to each 5oz of your milk and put just a slightly bigger hole in nipple; and adjust as she Needs! Congrats on feeding her the way we are meant to do!!! It takes a strong mom to breast feed and it is truly rewarding!!! God bless you all...
Kathy N.
PS: I started adding peachs first level to my sons bottle with cereal with-in 4-5 months! Apples ect too... He's now a strapping HEALTHY young Marine serving our country!!!

From my expierence babies that are formula fed are good to start rice cereal at 4 months, mainly because there is stuff that is "missing" in formula as well as stuff that is added, that isn't in breast milk. I breast fed my daughter til she was 4 months but had to stop due to a thrush infection that she passed to me making my nipples crack and bleed. And I started her on formula and rice cereal at that time. the Le Lache group suggests that you don't start a breast feeding baby on rice cereal until they are around 6 months, because your breast milk has everything that they need. It is said that rice cereal does fill them up more, hence making it so they dont have to feed as much... and therefore sleep longer. But breast milk is soooo good for babies and gives them all the vitamins and nutrients they need... making it the best thing for babies. I breastfed my son until he was 14 months old. And started him with some rice cereal at 6 months and didn't start gerber 1st foods until he was 8 months. I think really its a personal choice. But its a well known fact that breast milk is the best thing for babies. To me the part that made me wait, is breast milk is about supply and demand... if he was eating rice cereal alot, he would eat less breast milk. so of course the demand would be lower and therefore the supply would lessen (unless you choose to pump when he would normally eat) So when I did start my son on rice cereal I started by only giving him about 2oz of it at dinner time mixing it with breast milk. It seemed to work out great and he did sleep a little better at night and my supply stayed about the same because I pumped a lot for the mixing and kept the rest in the freezer. Again though I think its more a personal choice after 4 months. Hope this helps! Have a great weekend!


No, it's not too early to introduce baby cereal (or Cream of Wheat, whatever you choose) at 4 months. You can mix breastmilk, if you choose. I mixed regular milk or sometimes fruit juice since I needed so little. I found it to be a hassle to pump for just a little bit needed for the cereal but whatever you desire is fine. Most babies are eating solids by 6 months but every baby is different, too. You may introduce cereal to your baby and find that she is still pushing it back out with her tongue. That is fine, it happens. Wait a week or two and try again. It also takes some practice as this is something new to your baby. The ol' saying that baby will sleep better through the night if there belly is full of food is not always true for every baby. Sometimes they still wake up hungry/thirsty despite how much you feed them at bedtime. Your goal by the time she's 6 months is to get her to sleep through the night and it's more about breaking them out of the habit of waking up than teaching them so sleep through the night. I breastfed my first two but formula fed my last baby due to breastfeeding complications. It's also NOT true that formula fed babies sleep better. They still wake up, just like babies who are breastfed.

Ease your mind and try out this new experience. This is a new experience for your baby, so go about it with an open mind. She may reject her cereal because it seems foreign to her. Be patient and just have fun with it. In no time at all, she'll be eating a bunch more tasty things and all this worry will be a thing of the past.

And, good for you for breastfeeding. It's an awesome experience that I miss so much. I breastfed my first daughter until she self weaned at 19 months. With my second daughter, she was 3 years and 5 months old when I officially weaned her...and I was 2 months pregnant with my 3 child when I weaned my second daughter. I wish my last baby had breastfed longer but it all ended much too soon. Enjoy this special bonding time. It doesn't last forever!

no, I don't think it's too early....my daughter also started with cereal at 4 months, mixed with breastmilk or formula on a little baby spoon. We actually have movies of her first feedings! More food ended up on her face than in her mouth the first few times! It takes like for them to learn the mechanism of swallowing food from a spoon and not just pushing it out of her mouth with her tongue. But be patient and she will eventually get it!

I had the same problem with not being able to pump enough to satisfy her. We needed to supplement with formula in order to get enough food into her, and she was allergic to the first few we tried! Finally we found one that worked. She did wean from the breast after 4 months because she just got impatient working so hard to b/f when it was easier to drink my milk or formula from a bottle, and there was just no way I could pump enough especially while going to work too. But she turned out just fine!

Your doctor is right....adding the rice cereal now will give her the extra nutrition she needs in order to grow! And it will get her ready for baby foods. Just be patient with her as she is learning a new skill in how to eat from a spoon. All babies do eventually learn this!! My daughter is 16 now and she feeds herself quite well!! :)

I gave all of my kids a little cereal at night when it became appparent that it would help them sleep better. They were very hungry! I also mixed it with breast milk and it worked wonderful. The only thing I always remind new moms is to hold the baby's head up while feeding a bottle........lessens the chance of ear irritations. Good luck!

Dear A.,

Don't be in a hurry to give your baby rice cereal. It is recommended to wait until 6 months to start solids when their little digestive systems are truly mature enough. By the way, a little rice cereal does not help them sleep through the night. And you should NOT put rice cereal in their bottle - the whole point of solids is that they learn how to "chew" and get used to the texture and using a spoon.

If you want to increase your milk supply make sure you are drinking plenty of water. You can drink a flax seed tea. Just seep some Flax seeds in boiling water then drink. If you send me your email I can send you a recipe for lactation cookies that will increase your supply.

My baby is 10 1/2 months old. We are still breastfeeding and he eats solid foods 2-3 times a day. He still gets mainly breast milk though.


Hi A.,

My son is 5mths old, and we have been on cearl for a month now. At first I thought he was not ready, but he has now figured it out. They will suck on the spoon at first, cause that is all they know.
My doctors had me start with cearl, then veggies, then furits.
I thought this was crazy, but it worked.
He now eats his fruit w/ceral in the morning, and then Veggies with Rice cearl at night.
It will not confuse him at all with breastfeeding. You seem to be a good mom. Just trust your heart when raising this beautiful little girl.
My second child didn't even start foods until she was 8mths old, she was not ready, and she let me know this. I just cont. breastfeeding with her.
My first child who is now 16, she was on cearl at two weeks old.(dr's orders) she is healthy to this day.

It is not too early to start cereal at 4 months. I actually started baby jar food at that time and bypassed the cereal as my son had constipation issues and he did fine with food. But you have to introduce foods a certain way and certain ones to begin with.

too young...an infant needs to suckle, keep up the breast-feeding and don't rush the cereal. We are all so in a hurry that we don't realize the children grow up all too fast! Important to introduce cereal and other foods one day at a time.

Hi! I gave my son cereal at 4 months and your doctor is telling you the same thing mine did. Not to put it in a bottle (that would definitely confuse her I think since you're bf). I gave it to my son in a bowl and it was really runny at first. It teaches them how to eat food instead of drinking it. He was fine and actually caught on fairly quick. In the two months (between 4 and 6) you slowly make it thicker. The one thing I'd recommend though is no oatmeal yet. The different consistency is harder to digest. We did that one time and we were up all night with a crying baby.

It is too soon. A baby's belly is not ready for this till the baby is 6 months old. I also heard it is a choking hazzard.

I delayed solids with my 2nd son and he took to baby food and reg food with no problems.

Hi A.,
Starting your daughter on cereal is completely your decision. I started my son at 4 months with no problems, but with my daughter I decided to wait until 6 months. If she likes the cereal, and it's helping her sleep, that's great. Go with your gut.
Good Luck!

I started all my kids on cereal at 4 months except my last. I am still BFing her also and she just wasn't interested in cereal. She started on cereal and baby food at 6 months. But it really depends on the baby.

It is ok if you do it, it is also ok if you don't.:>) I am a mother of 4 and breastfed all of them. I'm so proud to hear of you sticking it out! Trust me, it is SO worth it!
It is normal for her to suck the cereal off the spoon. It will take time for her to learn how to eat off a spoon just like any new skill.
It will not hurt her but don't feel like you must just because the doc. recommended it. Congrats on your first precious blessing!

First of all, congratulations on the baby girl and on your committment to breastfeed. It is not always easy but it is such a wonderful gift you give your baby.

As far as the cereal, some pediatricians suggest starting cereal at 4 months, others who are more conservative wait until 6 months. So it is okay for her to have the cereal but I'd ask myself first, is she hungry after all of her regular feedings? If not, and if you don't want to start cereal yet, you can certainly wait. At 4 months her main source of nutrition is breastmilk and that will still be the case at 6 months, even if she was eating cereal and other baby foods. So if you feel more comfortable waiting, I'd wait!

When you do decide to feed her the cereal, yes, at first she will kind of slurp it from the spoon. Remember that the only way she knows how to eat is to suck! She will learn and get more comfortable with the spoon over time.

And it is a MYTH that feeding a baby cereal will help her sleep through the night. Sleeping through the night is a developmental milestone like crawling or walking that your baby will reach when she is ready. Giving her the extra 30 or 40 calories that a couple tablespoons of rice cereal contains is not going to make her sleep longer.

You are doing a great job! Trust your instincts when it comes to your baby. You know what is best for her.

My DR said the same thing!!! It's fine.

First off, congrats on the b/f! You are doing a wonderful thing for your baby,which brings me to ask why you are in a rush to solid feed? Breast milk is all she needs for the first 6 months of life(even up to 12 months,solids before 12 months are for learning to eat, not for caloric intake, babies get all the nutrition they need from b/f). Are you planning on weaning her early? If not then I do believe 4 months is a bit early, maybe try at 5 or 6 months, rice cereal w/ b/milk one feeding a day. And remember this is a learning experience for her, it may take a month before she really gets a hang of it, at least it did for my daughter. I didn't bother getting all kinds of different foods until she learned to eat, which after a month of practice was at 6 months(but all babies are different). It also depends on you and how much you want to b/f each day. For me, I loved nursing and exclusively b/f for 8 months w/ only one solid food meal a day so she could play w/ it and experience different tastes and textures. Between 9 and 12 months she ramped up to 3 solid meals a day and started whole cow's milk at 12months. My daughter is 15 months now and we still nurse once in the morning and once at night. Don't worry about pumping 4oz,that's plenty! That's all I was able to pump too, we just nursed every 2 hours for a long time, it was tiring but worth it! Keep up the great job, and you SHOULD be proud of yourself!!! Check out this web link it's a good article on starting solid foods-- good luck!

ps. I don't think it helps them sleep, unless you do the feeding right before bed, we did ours mid morning when she was well rested and in a good mood.

I also breastfeed and my doctor told me the same thing. Around that time, my little girl got sick so I waited a little longer. I was worried because she didn't sit up tall with a straight back so I thought maybe she was not ready. She seemed to really like the rice cereal. What ended up happening is that she got really constipated. I mean she was fussy and wouldn't poop for 3-4 days. I finally gave up on the rice cereal and waited a little longer. Same thing happened the second time. My friend suggested the oats because it has fiber and would help her to use the restroom. By the time I did that, she was close to 6 months and it has been a totally different story. She is doing much better with it. My point is....don't rush it. If it doesn't seem to bother your baby, continue with the cereal. If it does, they will be fine with only breastmilk til about 6 months. Many breastfeeding moms said they had to wait til at least 6 months to really start the cereal and a little closer to 7 months to start the baby food. Just thought I would share my experience. My baby is 6 1/2 months. Hope this helps!

Hey, I completely understand your concerns and the feeling of being a new mom. I b/f my son until he weened himself at 10 mon. (he's now 23m) and am currently b/f my daughter until she weens herself. I started rice cereal at around 5m with my son and he did fine and did not get confused as a matter of fact he started loving food so much I added more to his "plate" each week and he never got confused and did not quit nursing. I am planning to do the same with my daughter around 5m, maybe even a couple of weeks sooner because it does help them feel a little fuller. The only thing that I will say is that if you are having a hard time producing milk this, you will want to continue pumping and nursing as often as possible or you may dry up faster. I produce like a Jersey milk cow so that was never a problem for me. Don't worry! :)

Please, please DO NOT listen to people who tell you that you will not make enough milk for your baby! That is ridiculous!!!! You will be able to supply your baby with what she needs. Talk like that undermines a breastfeeding relationship and makes new moms worried. What you can pump and what your baby gets at a breastfeeding are two COMPLETELY different things. A baby is far better at emptying a breast than a pump ever could be. Knowing that your baby likes 5 oz at a feeding from a bottle, you can combine pumpings into breastmilk storage bags that equals 5oz! Simple!

Now, all that being said, it really is best to wait until 6 months to start solids. It will not necessarily help her sleep thru the night and you will get frustrated when she doesn't because the doctor said it would help her. Some breastfed babies sleep thru the night others don't. Breastmilk is very easily digested by baby and they do eat more often than a formula fed baby. It is also recommended to wait until 6 months as it can help prevent food allergies, food sensitivities, eczema. And even at 6 months some breastfed babies aren't ready or prefer to nurse. Your baby won't go hungry-she'll tell you what she needs and wants. Go with your mommy instincts and you won't be wrong! Congratulations Mom!

I started my son on solids at 4 mos, and he was SO ready for it. He immediately started sleeping thru the night. You can wait until 6 months to start solids, HOWEVER, you should consider starting cereal before 6 months, as it can decrease the risk that your child will develop Celiac Disease (commonly known as an allergy to wheat or gluten). There have been many studies done recently that support this...children who are exposed to cereals before 6 months have a decreased risk of Celiac Disease.

Both my children were eating table food, as well as rice cereal and some baby food by 12-14 weeks. They both eat everything and anything I put in front of them and neither ever had digestive problems or allergies. Take it for what it is. I'm not a doctor, but I think every kid and mother is different. Go with your gut, and be cautious to start.

Hi A.,

There are a few things I would like to comment on:

1) When my boys were that age (not that long ago), four months was the recommended standard age for starting cereal. Now, I believe the APA has changed that to six months, so there is nothing wrong with waiting a couple months.

2) If you want to save every drop of milk you pump (believe me, I know the feeling) there is nothing wrong with mixing the cereal with water rather than breast milk, and saving the milk for bottle feedings.

3) Do not worry about her getting confused and not wanting to nurse. I have never heard of that happening.

4) I personally do not believe that it will help her sleep better. I know a lot of moms say it does, but I did not find that to be true with my kids. I think it is just coincidence, as babies biologically no longer need to eat during the night starting between 4-6 months. And, the fact that there are fewer calories and less fat in cereal, actually means it is a less satiating food than breast milk, so I do not see how that correlation is possible.

5) And , one last thing (sorry if I am rambling on): Cereal is just a training tool to get a baby used to mouthing and swallowing something thicker than breast milk or formula. It is not a nutritional food and should not replace breast feedings at this age, even if you choose to introduce it now. It is not meant to satiate her hunger, it is meant to train her to eat solid food. If she is still hungry, she will nurse longer and induce your body to produce more milk to meet her new demand.

it's fine...mine were getting cereal at 9 weeks for reflux..we have babies in the NICU that are given cereal.

Cereal at 4 months is not to early ! She'll be fine, trying to suck it off the spoon is normal when babies first learn spoon feeding. She'll do fine, get fuller faster and sleep better. I gave all my children cereal , one, from the time he was 6 weeks old (he never seemed to get full) and it never hurt any of them ! Nor did it make any of them overweight .
Mom of three, and grandma to 6, soon to be 7 !
Good luck and feel confident you're doing the right thing ! C.

pretty soon you are not going to make enough milk to feed her, and the baby might even start to lose wieght. it is not too early to feed her cereal. you can hold off, but it sounds like her demand is already slight ahead of your suppply.

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