23 answers

Eating Rice Cereal at 20 Weeks

My hubby and I have just started our 20 week old son on rice cereal. The dr. recommended waiting until 5-6 months, but because his evenings are fussy and fairly solidly spent nursing we wanted to try the cereal. I can't definitively say that its making any difference, so I'm considering stopping (he's had it each night for 4 nights). He seems to like it - eats about 1/2 oz.

When did you start with rice cereal? How long did you do only rice cereal/how long until you started other stage one foods? How did you keep them from getting constipated? I'm a first time mom so I'm looking for some real life stories/ideas. Thanks!

I am also trying to pump with a Pump in Style, but can't seem to get any more than 1.5 oz. out of each breast at a time. Any ideas on how to increase that output?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Both my kids hated cereal. We started pears at 4 1/2 months and increased fruits and veggies from there.

More Answers

It sounds to me like he's going through a growth spurt. Rice cereal is basically empty of calories. The nursing more is his way of boosting your supply to meet his needs. You can try eating oatmeal, the real stuff not the instant. Also, Mother's Milk tea by Traditional Medicinals is a good start. You might try what is called reverse cycling where he eats more at night than the day so you have to supplement less. To get more at the pump try crying. It might sound silly, but the emotional release helps the body relax enough to produce a good letdown. A good place for practical information about breastfeeding and breastfed infant nutrition is kellymom.com.

Our baby boy is 22 weeks and we started him on solids around 18 weeks. We tried with rice cereal first but he hated it. Looking back, it might have been too early for him even though our doctor gave us the green light. We immediately switched to giving him 1/2 a jar (1x day) of stage 1 baby food and ditched the rice cereal. The baby food is creating a lot of constipation so now we added pear juice to his routine. Seems like he is getting more regular now and loves the baby food so I don't think we will go back to rice cereal. May try oatmeal next. Good luck!

OK. 20 weeks is about 5 months, and that is pretty close. I was very strict about the 6 month rule, because I'm a nurse with lots of allergies in my family so it was NOTHING but the breast until then. (And anyway, when I tried a supplement the kids all screamed their refusals and bit me the next nursing.) So you did great waiting!
I am so proud of you for still nursing. It is the absolute best thing for your baby, even now. Loads of nursing and medical research support your efforts for gaining brain development, bonding, allergy avoidance, diabetes and heart disease prevention, increased IQ.....
Pumping is hard, but remember that even the fanciest pump never achieves what your baby does on his own as far as extracting volume. (We used to prove this by weighing the little ones in the intensive care nursery after nursing versus bottle feeding a measured feeding). But you'll get enough. Make sure you are keeping VERY well hydrated and nourished, getting your rest, trying to pump in an un-tense environment (hard if you're on your break and pumping in a bathroom...)but try to look and pictures of your baby, play a recording of his giggles and cries or even swallowing while nursing. Some have luck with drinking a tea with fenugeek in it (an herb that helps milk production).

A little about me: I am a master's prepared RN with nearly 20 years of obstetric experience and certification. More importantly, I have three fabulous kids whom I nursed exclusively for 6 months each, then continued nursing each until they were 15, 17, and 19 months old. Enjoy your very special time together!!

Congrats on keeping up the nursing while back teaching. I taught h.s. and know how tough the job is even without a young one. Keep it up as long as possible, even if it's only morning and night. I used to do well pumping on one side while my son nursed on the other. If you pump when he's not around, look at photos of him, think about him. You could also take Fenugreek or the More Milk supplement by Motherlove. The teas don't really help except to keep you hydrated (which is important).

I'd recommend cutting out the rice cereal and going with homemade broth, egg yolk (if no egg allergies in the family), coconut milk, avocado, vegetables with organic butter if you don't suspect dairy issues. Stick to foods in their natural form. Rice cereal is usually stripped of all the good things about the grain and then they are added back in in forms nobody's body can really use, especially a little baby. For more on this, see Sally Fallon's cookbook Nourishing Traditions and this web site http://www.westonaprice.org/children/feeding.html

Here is an excerpt from that article:
"An unfortunate practice in industrial societies is the feeding of cereal grains to infants. Babies produce only small amounts of amylase, needed for the digestion of grains, and are not fully equipped to handle cereals, especially wheat, before the age of one year. (Some experts prohibit all grains before the age of two.) Baby's small intestine mostly produces one enzyme for carbohydrates—lactase, for the digestion of lactose. (Raw milk also contains lactase.) Many doctors have warned that feeding cereal grains too early can lead to grain allergies later on. Baby's earliest solid foods should be animal foods as his digestive system, although immature, is better equipped to supply enzymes for digestion of fats and proteins rather than carbohydrates.

Carbohydrate in the form of fresh, mashed banana can be added after the age of six months as bananas are rich in amylase enzymes and, thus, are easily digested by most infants. Some preindustrial societies give a gruel of cereal grains, soaked 24 hours, to babies one year or older. Soaking in an acidic medium neutralizes phytates and begins the breakdown of carbohydrates, thus allowing children to obtain optimum nourishment from grains. It also provides lactic acid to the intestinal tract to facilitate mineral uptake."

Good luck,

I started my daughter on cereal at about 8 months. I didn't give her much at first because, as you may have noticed, it can be constipating. And cereal doesn't really do much as far as nutrition or calories or even a satisfied tummy, especially if the baby is getting breast milk. We used cereal just as a practice food to get the hang of new textures and a new delivery system--ie. a spoon instead of the bottle or breast. As soon as she seemed to be getting more comfortable with the spoon and the mechanics of swallowing more "solid" food, we moved on to stage 1 jar foods and things I mashed myself, like bananas and sweet potatoes. Bananas, strained prunes, etc, by the way, can help counteract the constipation, but use in moderation! In case no one has warned you yet, in the beginning, wait a few days between introducing new food. If your son has a reaction to something, it will make it more apparent what has caused it.

As far as pumping, just stick with it. It takes a little while for your body to figure out it needs to make more to keep up with the baby and the pump. You may have noticed already that when your baby suddenly has an increase in apatite, he may not be satisfied the first day or so as your body has to process the signal that it needs to make more milk and then make the shift to a higher output. Other than that, I can only suggest drinking lots of water, pumping at a time when you are (at least somewhat) relaxed, and either being near your baby or have something of his close to you.

Good luck!

I started feeding my son rice cereal at 4 months. I was going to wait until 6 months but he seemed so interested in whatever it was that i was eating. I waited a few days and then introduced banannas. I try to wait at least a few days in between new foods, I think they recommend a week and to try in the morning. My son will eat anything. He does occasionally get a little backed up then I feed him prunes and cut back on bananas, rice and apples.

Is your pump a double electric? Are you able to relax when you pump? When my supply gets low I take "more milk plus" by mother love. you can find it on the internet for about $20 on their website. I recommend taking the pills because the liquid is nasty!

Good Luck!

hi K.
i started on oatmeal cereal at six months. for a few reasons. i had heard rice cereal makes them constipated, and starting solids earlier could possibly cause food allergies. after they turned six months i started with oatmeal and offered rice cereal from time to time but rice cereal made them very constipated so i rarely used it.

Hi K.,

I stuck with rice cereal for about a month. Then I switched to oatmeal cereal for another week or two. Then I slowly integrated phase one foods. We started this process at 5 months, as our daughter had diarrhea for two weeks when she was 4 months and we didn't want to add to the stress on her body. Also, any time we added a new food, we always fed it in the morning and watched for a reaction for at least 3 days before adding another food.

I have the same issue with pumping - I just can't quite keep up with what she needs. You should aim for one once per hour total. So, if you pump every two hours, you'd want to get one once per breast or two ounces total. I wouldn't go more than three or four hours without pumping when at work. I've also found fenugreek suppliments (at GNC) and Mother's Milk Tea to give my milk supply a boost. But, these things constipated my daughter, so I only use them on occasion, rather than every day.

I have the same pump. Start off with the highest speed and the lowest suction. After your milk lets down, switch it to a slower speed and a higher suction. This simulates how your baby feeds and helps to get more milk. You can also swap back to the first phase (high speed low suction) when the flow slows down to get it to pick up.

Regardless, breast milk is best for babies. Even if he only gets one bottle of breast milk a day it is still great for him. I know it is a pain lugging the pump and a cooler everywhere, but he will greatly benefit from it. And, if you have to stop breastfeeding before you initially planned, feel secure in knowing that you breastfed for as a long as you and he were able. Bottom line - you've got to do what works for you and your baby.

Good luck,
proud mom of 8 month old Emily

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