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Putting Cereal in Bottle for Nighttime Feeding?

My 6 month old daughter has always been a great sleeper; will sleep through the entire night without waking up. However, within the last couple of weeks, she has been waking up, usually around 2am or 3am wanting to either be fed, changed or rocked. My husband and I have been complying with her and getting up to tend to her. I now know that we shouldn’t do that and we have started the cry it out method to get her used to putting herself to sleep.

My question is in regards to putting cereal in her bottle for her night/bedtime feeding. A lot of people that I talk to say to put a little bit of cereal in her bottle to help hold her off until she wakes up in the morning. What have you moms done in the past? She is currently eating 32 oz of formula a day. Her last feeding is 7 oz. If I do add cereal to the bottle, how much should I add to a 7oz bottle? I’m afraid that she will choke on it. Any advice that you can give, I would greatly appreciate it!

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Doesn't necessarily work. We did that and she continued the same behavior. She is probably teething and drinking a bottle is soothing to her. They normally go through the night time waking again at this age. And just when you think they are sleeping through the night again... boom, they start waking up again.

You should not put cereal in her bottle. It is absolutely not recommended. If you must, feed her cereal by spoon prior to sleeping. I was just reading in a parenting mag about new sleep research. Sleeping for longer periods has to do with her brain development and varies by child. Here is an interesting article about how babies sleep: http://www.breastfeedingbasics.com/html/night_waking.shtml.

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We started putting cereal in the bottles at 3-4 months. They actually make a "cereal bottle" with a wider nipple, or you can just cut the nipple (not a lot, just a little) to let the cereal out easier. It works like a charm.

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There is no reason to ignore your baby's needs. You are the parent and you should be taking care of them if they need you. Crying it out will only create distance that will show up as they age and become even more distant.

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Don't let your baby cry it out! Give her the attention she needs to grow into a healthy & well adjusted child. Even if it's a bit of cuddle time, she's telling you she needs something. It's okay to get up with her, it won't spoil her or turn her into a "bad" sleeper. She's telling you she needs you; whatever the reason, she needs you. Tooth, hunger, wet diaper, scary shadow, bad dream, misses momma...whatever. Answer her cries so that she builds trust and learns that sleep is a safe, warm place; not a scary, lonely place.

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I think 6 months is really young to be sleeping through the night. Babies will experience a growth spurt at about this age. If she is waking she probably needs to eat. I don't know any babies who were not waking at least once a night to eat at this age. I know you need sleep but this will pass with time. I would not add cereal to a bottle. She is old enough to eat some with a spoon. You could do this and then top her off with a bottle.
You said "I know we shouldn't do that" in regards to comforting her in the night. That is nothing to feel guilty about. That just teaches her that you will be there if she needs you. Don't decide not to go to her just because Dr. Spock says not to. Follow your mommy's instinct. I would give her a chance to cry but if it escalates and she doesn't calm down quickly it can actually cause damage to her brain. If she settles down then you know she didn't have an immediate need.
No baby was ever damaged because they got to much attention, cuddles and love. Get them while you can. These moments go by way to fast.

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I also have a 6 month old and I tried the cereal in the bottle at night. For some reason it made my daughter hungrier and she would wake up earlier for another bottle. For her morning bottle we add cereal and have also introduced baby food (with doctor approval)
As far as sleeping through the night, this is what we did starting at 5 months. On the first night I put her in her crib. She cried and I put her paci in her mouth patted her tummy and said night, night. I did this for 15 minute intervals. Finally at 2 am she was asleep. I thought this will never work. Then to my surprise the next night I put her in her crib and she slept through the whole night and we haven't had any major issues since. It's probably different for every baby, I've only had one so I wouldn't say I am an expert.

She is waking up hungry for sure!!!!!!! She is old enough to feed her with a spoon. Good Luck!

My son is 6 months and I have been putting cereal in his bottles since he was about 2 months to help him sleep better. At this point she should be eating cereal and stage 1 baby foods anyway so putting cereal in a bottle shouldnt be a big deal for her. When I do this for my son I use one formula size scoop of cereal to a 8 ounce bottle (7oz formula and 1oz water). If you are still concerned about it being to much for her start with just a little bit and increase it as you get more comfortable.

I too would just go ahead and start spoon feeding her. Most start out with rice but I have always started with oatmeal. My 4 month old now eats oatmeal for breakfast and rice for dinner. When we take out the cereal she will eat every 2 hours and acts like she is starving to death so how you have made it this long without cereal amazes me. No doubt she is waking up because she is hungry.

Hi K.,
Since she's 6 months old, she could be needing something more substantial before dinner, as you're thinking. However, I think I've read in multiple sources that putting cereal in a bottle is NOT recommended (but can't remember why).

You should try to feed her some cereal before bedtime from a bowl/spoon, since she's 6 months old. I always started with a breast or bottle feeding, so that I knew my baby boy was first getting all of the nutrients from milk or formula and then would follow up with solids (at 5 months of age we started him on some rice cereal and then later added vegetable baby food and/or different cereals like oatmeal, which has more fiber and would keep him full longer). At about 6 months, we also started giving him Cheerios (which he still loves at 22 mos), once his pincer grasp was evident (and after he'd already been eating rice cereal, and other solids for awhile).

Something you may also want to consider is that there's something else wrong. If she's always been a good sleeper and suddenly something has changed...it is probably not hunger (although she'll happily take a feeding from you when she's upset, because it is comforting to her).

I can only speak from my own experience, but for my baby, teething was an issue at that age. Is your daughter doing a lot more drooling than normal and seems to be chewing on everything, like her fingers?

I found that giving Connor a little Motrin Infant Drops when he was cranky and teething, holding/rocking him for only a minute, and then patting his back to get him back to sleep, really did the trick (we found that Motrin works much better than Tylenol for pain, while Tylenol is a better fever reducer). We only had to do that for a few nights to get him through the worst of it (until the next time, of course), which is good b/c I try to use the Motrin/Tylenol veeeeery rarely. And, I think rubbing him on his back and not actually holding/rocking him back to sleep helped him to be at least partly self-soothing.

I'm just not sure that I could do the crying out method. Of course, Connor was always a good sleeper and seemed to only go through periods of pain and unrest, so I wouldn't have felt right.

Only you can know what's best in your baby girl's situation.

I hope this helps!

Best of luck to you!

Put maybe a tablespoon of Gerber Rice Cereal in the bottle and shake it up; it will dissolve so no choking danger. I started this at one month old with both of mine and they slept at least 7-8 hours per night from then on.

alot of babies tend to go through a 6 month funk. I don't know why it always seems to hit around 6 months. (teething, growth spurt ect) I agree it is probably a habit. I completly agree with the crying out method. You are teaching your child the great skill of learning how to put herself back to sleep! She is plenty old enough to be able to do this. if it is teething you might try giving her ibuprofen at bedtime (not tylenol that makes them hyper!)
good luck and stick with it. Take a look at the clock. It will amaze you how you think she's been crying for 45 mintues when it really has only been 5.

hi K.,

i think she's hungry. i could look back at notes & see what I was feeding my twins at that age. i started in sept putting oatmeal w/no soy in their bottles. it fills them up & helps w/spit-up. i would think she would be eating more solid foods. that's been the case w/my boys at that age. i'd ask your Dr for a feeding chart. good luck

Good for you for doing the cry it out method. I totally believe in it and it does not make you a bad mom. It will not "create a distance between you and the baby that will show up in later years". Don't listen to those people. Babies will get in a habit of waking up, babies will learn that if they cry they will get what they want. My daughter got into that habit for a while when she was a baby. To correct the situation, I did the cry it out method. After a few days she learned and was a great sleeper from there on out. She is 8 now and we are very close. Just wanted to add that tid bit. And at this point you can just feed her cereal with a spoon before bed instead of putting it in the bottle. It won't hurt to try it and see if it helps.

If she is waking up crying and fussy, have you considered a new tooth may be the reason?

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We started putting cereal in the bottles at 3-4 months. They actually make a "cereal bottle" with a wider nipple, or you can just cut the nipple (not a lot, just a little) to let the cereal out easier. It works like a charm.

I don't see that anyone else has mentioned that there is a special "bottle" (or there was five years ago) for feeding a combination of milk and cereal. My daughter used on with her older daughter during that transition stage to food. She needed some supplement to her bottle, but her tongue wasn't quite trained enough to work with a spoon.

The bottle had a cylinder that moved towards the nipple as she emptied the bottle kind of like a big syringe. The cereal should be the consistency of gruel. Very thin like pulp in orange juice. (The instructions are on the box.)

I tried feeding the watered down cereal to my kids from and bowl and spoon and gave that up quickly in favor of little bits of a thicker consistency.

My son had real bad reflux and I was told by the pediatrician to chop up the cereal really, really fine before putting it in the bottle. So I purchased a small, hand held chopper and used it solely for the baby food. I put the food in an airtight container and had it available for the feedings. Now, what I don't remember is how much I used. I will say that at 6 months I was feeding him from a spoon and fed him 'dinner' with us about 45-1hour before his bedtime bottle. He was sleeping through the night unless he felt uncomfortable due to a dirty diaper.

Hey, K.. I am in the EXACT same predicament at this very time! My daughter is 6.5 months old and was sleeping 13 hours a night. Now she is waking anywhere from 2-5 am and screams! It seems feeding her is the best way to have her doze right back off again but her dr tells me I'm starting a bad habit and she will continue to wake to be fed. When she got up at 4 today I figured that was close enough for me to morning and I fed her and put her back down. Hopefully it will get later and later. She was sleeping 8 pm to 9 am! I have been putting rice in her bottle before bed and for us, it makes no difference. You'd have to add a LOT to make her choke. All it does in mine is BARELY thicken it. I'm hoping it will hit her tummy and expand, but it really hasn't worked for me well. My daughter is nowhere near 7 oz but I put a good TBSP or two in her 4-5 oz before bed.


At 6 months of age, your child should be able to go 8-12 hours a night without eating. She is not waking up because she is hungry. Putting the cereal on the bottle won't really change anything, because she is most likely not hungry. Plus too much cereal may make your daughter constipated and than you will have a whole other problem.

A. H.

You should not put cereal in her bottle. It is absolutely not recommended. If you must, feed her cereal by spoon prior to sleeping. I was just reading in a parenting mag about new sleep research. Sleeping for longer periods has to do with her brain development and varies by child. Here is an interesting article about how babies sleep: http://www.breastfeedingbasics.com/html/night_waking.shtml.

I don't see why so many are recommending that you put rice cereal in the bottle. The American Academy of Pediatrics says "Feeding a baby this way can drastically increase the amount of food he takes in at each feeding and lead to excessive weight gain." Everything that I have heard about doing this has been against it. I would say that unless your pediatrician recommends it, don't do it.

I have a 6 month old little boy, and he is waking up again too, after sleeping 12 hours straight. It's probably a growth spurt, and it will pass. If you are feeding her solids, you can just make sure she is full from formula and solid food before bed. But I would skip the rice cereal in the bottle. Good luck!

Hi there. My 9 month old has been a great sleeper, but started waking at 2-4am when she was about 4 mos old. She is a big baby & growing very fast. Our ped. said to start her on cereal. She would have some with a spoon during the day, but still woke at night so we started the cereal bottles before bedtime. If she goes down early & hasn't eaten since 7pm we will get her up quietly before we go to bed & "sleep-feed" her a 7oz bottle w/2-3 tbsp of cereal(oatmeal or rice) & put her right back to bed (she then sleeps til 8am almost every day). If we don't she wakes up starving & mad every time. And she has never choked on it- it's liquid. Just get #3 or Y cut nipples so she actually gets some out of the bottle :) You will have to experiment to see what is best for your daughter, but cereal saved us & let us get some sleep. We still give her a pm cereal bottle & she eats all kinds of solids with a spoon or her fingers now. And it hasn't hurt her- she is ahead on her development charts, has about 6 words, great dexterity, great disposition. Give it a shot- if it doesn't work for you, try something else :) Good Luck!!!

It sounds like a growth spurt which usually hits at 3, 6 and 9 months. Everything I have read and my pediatrician said putting cereal in the bottle won't help. You probably need to just wait it out. She will stop waking in the night after the spurt ends. This is probably not what you want to hear. Sorry.

K., Why put the cereal in her bottle. She is old enough to have it by spoon. Mix a little cereal with some stage 1 applesauce and give it to her before you give her last bottle to her. You don't have to give her a bunch maybe a tablespoon or two.

I don't see anything wrong with getting up and feeding your 6 month old in the middle of the night. Well, other than the fact that you, much like myself, would probably rather get to sleep through the night, LOL. She is most likely going through a growth spurt as many babies do at this age. I believe that a 6 month old is too young to let do the cry it out method. She is telling you she has a need that needs to be met. You are not spoiling her or creating a child that will continue to wake up by getting up and feeding her, at this age. You are creating a more secure little person by meeting those needs. It will pass and in about 3 months, she will probably be doing this again. Of course at that point, she won't have been sleeping through the night for 3 months, maybe only 4-6wks.

Good luck!

You got alot of advice and you may not get to mine. But here you go. I have 5 kids from 19 to 2.5yrs old. I have added cereal to all of their bottles, they are all skinny and doing great health wise. As far as yours waking up at night I would say the best way to do the CIO is to let her cry for about 5 mins then go get her. And then do what you need to do diaper, feed, no cuddles or very little. and then put her back to bed. The cereal won't do anything but help her from getting hungry to early, but she still needs to eat like 6 times a day. Good luck. oh and the cereal can be about as thick as malt o meal.

State tells us not to put cereal in bottles and never put kids down with a bottle. They can choke. But I know a lot of people do it. Thanks G. W

At 6 months she can start solid food. Instead of putting the formula in the bottle, just mix some up in a bowl and feed it to her. If you want to do it later in the evening then just incorporate it into your night time routine. I know there is a ton of discussion and opinions about this issue. My mother and mother in law were telling me to put cereal in his bottle when my son was 2 months old and I refused until my doctor told me it was ok. His advise was that cereal will not help them sleep any more than a bottle will and if you are going to feed cereal use a spoon and don't put it in a bottle. So I know there are a ton of opinions on this issue, but I followed my doctors advise.

Hope that helps!

Since the baby cereal is so flaky, I would add about 1/3 to formula and shake it up. You just don't want it too thick that the baby can't suck it through the nipple.

I used to put a little bit of Gerber cereal in my son's final night time bottle when he was old enough. We didn't have any problems and he slept through the night. You don't have to put a lot and you do need to buy special "cereal" bottles (I got mine from Babies 'R Us). I started out with just a little bit of the cereal - not too much, just to be sure it wouldn't bother his little tummy and he really started liking it! After a week or so, I increased the cereal to milk ratio. I didn't add sugar. One note - the banana flavor had tiny bits of banana in it that would clog up the cereal bottle nipple; also may happen if you have little lumps in there - so be sure to mix together well! Gerber cereal sometimes can get lumpy! My apologies, I cannot remember how much milk and cereal I used - my son is now 3 years old so I've forgotten! :-)

Do not feel bad for letting her cry it out. I totally recommend the book.. Healthy Sleep Habits.. Happy Child.
It is a great resource and has a variety of ideas.. does not advocate one certain way. I was like you and hated to hear my son crying.. Finally at 7 months I said enough is enough... you know it only took him about 2 nights possibly 3.. and he sleeps like a champ. I now know that if he wakes up.. something is really going on.. tooth, ear ache etc. He had just gotten into a habit. And I was having to get up which was making me irritable the next day bc I did not have enough sleep. I never did the extra cereal thing.. but I know lots of moms who did.. but when I had started feeding him at this age.. and the first meal I started with was about 7/8 p.m. and then I would nurse before bed.

Wishing you the best

P.S. My 11 year old fought sleep like crazy as a baby and still does..after 3 grandparents passed away she got codependent on us to go to sleep... we had to go to counseling to break her of it.. it is important for them to learn how to go to sleep on their own..not that you don't rock and show them love but for them to just lay down and go to sleep.. so that when they do wake up in the middle of the night they can just fall back asleep without a prop to help them get to sleep..just my opinion.

Really, there is no reason for cereal in her bottle at this point. She could eat some before bed if you wanted, but she is old enough not to need that any more. If she has been a good sleeper, and is just now waking up..there are a few possibilities. One..teething! That is a definite possibility!!I would try to give some motrin before bed, and see if that helps. She could also be going through a growth spurt, and genuinely need a bit more right now. Try feeding her more foods during the day, and see if that helps. Maybe you could even get her to up her amount in the night time bottle. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a believer in kids crying it out. It is just not what I want to teach them, but I also have great sleepers. I always comfort them, reassure them, and give them what they need..even if it is not convenient for me. That said, however, I think I have created kids who are secure in knowing that when the need me, I am there, so they dont get into bad habits of waking up for a bottle until they are 2. I say, follow her lead, and see how it goes. Good luck ~A.~

First question...is she getting spoon fed rice cereal or baby food during the day? My pedit. made sure my daughter was eating rice cereal/baby food by spoon by 6 months old. She is now 7 months old and she eats 1 tbsp of cereal w/ half container of fruit in the morning..then her full bottle. She has another tbsp of cereal w/ half a container of a veggie between 4 and 5 then her full bottle. She started sleeping through the night once I did this. I do put some rice cereal (1 tbsp)in her 8 oz bottle just before bedtime. I made the opening on the nipple a bit bigger for the cereal. She has never choked on it. I did the same w/ my now 2 year old son. Good luck and happy slumbers...hopefully! :)

I wouldn't reccommend cereal in her bottle, but maybe just give her a little with a spoon after her bottle to top her off. I also think letting her "cry it out" is a good idea. SOmetimes kids just go through periods where they start waking up for no apparent reason, so letting her know you hear her, but that it's still night time is usually the best way to get her to resolve the issue on her own. Good Luck!

Doesn't necessarily work. We did that and she continued the same behavior. She is probably teething and drinking a bottle is soothing to her. They normally go through the night time waking again at this age. And just when you think they are sleeping through the night again... boom, they start waking up again.

I never put cereal in the bottle but at 6 months they should be eating baby food and cereal (not in the bottle on a spoon) so we backed up our little ones last feeding of real food to like 7 then gave her her last bottle at 7:45 then bed by 8 and that helped tremedously...But best piece of advice is ask your doctor.....

definitely cereal in the evening bottle. try huggy diapers too. i used them with my daughter and found she slept better through the night.

My son is 7 months and I have been putting cereal in his bottles since he was about 3 months to help him sleep better. He is eating cereal and Stage 2 food now during the day and still takes cereal in his nightime bottle and sleeps all night most of the week. I have an oldschool mom that had me start giving the cereal and I think it was the best decision ever. I started out with about a tablespoon in his 3 oz bottle and gradually increased it. In his 6 oz bottle now I think I put about 3 1/2 tablespoons. You will have to use a bigger nipple size in order for it to flow through. Do what you feel is best and Good Luck.

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