38 answers

When to start mixing infant cereal in with formula?

I'm just wondering if anyone knows when you can start mixing infant cereal in with formula. My daughter is eating 4 oz every 2 hrs and we are wanting to try cereal to see if it helps to keep her full a little longer during the day. She sleeps at night 4-6 hrs before she wakes up wanting a bottle

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Summary

4-6 month old baby is the only safe time to introduce anything other than breast milk/formula. their systems aren't made to digest anything else until this time. mixing cereal in their bottle can lead to an increase in allergies, digestive problems, obesity and diabetes. I know lots of people do it, but it really isn't healthy for them. check with your pediatrician to be sure.

So What Happened?™

My daughter was diagnosed with Gastroeasophageal reflux and she was eating so often cuz she was spitting up so much she is now on Zantac and Reglan and has to have ceral mixed in her bottles

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My pediatrician and most books I've read recommend around 4 mos. I just started my daughter on it a few weeks ago and she is 4 mos old. I've read that there digestive systems can't really handle cereal up until around that age.

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Wait until at least 4 months but longer is better. A lot of people put cereal into a babies bottle to help fill the baby so they will sleep better. This is not neccesary. If your baby is hungry, then give her more formula/breastmilk not cereal. She might just be going through her first growth spurt and is ready for an increase in feedings.

When you are ready to give her cereal, wait until she can sit up and give it to her with a spoon not in her bottle.

Also congratulations on your new baby and good luck.

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I know that a lot of people do it earlier, but you should really wait until at least 4m (and often older) when the baby's digestive system is more developed and she can hold her head up more steady.

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I talked to my baby's pediatrician before Changing his diet. Don't be afraid to give him/her a call. We never gave cereal through the bottle. We started spoon feeding cereal at 4months old. This is what works for my little one.

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Solid food is 4-6 months...they need to display a readiness for it. My first was ready closer to 6 months...my middle closer to 4. Do they watch you eat with interest? Do they seem to need more food. They need a developed oral system....don't worry...they get to solid food sooner or later.

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Cereal this young can be harmful to their developing digestive system. It's best to wait until she is at least 4 months old. Some pediatricians will recommend it earlier if the baby has reflux so I'd check with your pediatrician. Just remember that their digestive systems are still developing and it's best to keep them on formula or breastmilk exclusively.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all babies receive only breastmilk or formula until around the middle of the first year. Infant cereals are inferior nutrition, and only serve as fillers. Feeding a baby cereal too young can set them up for allergies as well. They also don't have the enzymes to digest/use other foods until about 6 months old. A baby is ready to add solids when they can sit assisted, seem interested in what you are eating/try to grab food, etc., and when they lose the tongue thrust mechanism. Putting cereal into a bottle can be a choking hazard as well. It is exciting to watch a little one grow up and even more exciting to see them trying new things, etc., but studies and the AAP say it's best to wait. Hope that helps!

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You should never add cereal to formula. There are a lot of people out there who will say to, but it's actually not good. Any pediatrician who reads recent research will tell you the same. The only time it is recommended is for severe reflux and your pediatrician should go over this carefully with you. Adding cereal to formula makes it harder to drink and harder for the baby to get enough to eat. It also can possibly contribute to food allergies since their little stomachs aren't ready to digest food yet. Most doctors recommend waiting until the baby is 4-6 months old to start any food, and then only by spoon. Some people say it will make them sleep better, but research shows it actually makes little babies gassy and uncomfortable, so they sleep worse! Formula is all a baby needs, unless is has a medical problem.

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My pediatrician and most books I've read recommend around 4 mos. I just started my daughter on it a few weeks ago and she is 4 mos old. I've read that there digestive systems can't really handle cereal up until around that age.

1 mom found this helpful

I would wait until at least 6 mos

I agree with Kay, 4-6 months and 6 is better. Baby can choke on solids and they are prone to spitting up and so on it's just better to wait.

Luck to you luv,
R.

Hi A., When I had my twins, I started them on cereal at night at around 4 weeks. The were happy, healthy, hungry boys! The docs these days say around 4 months which is crazy to me. My son has an 8 week old who started on cereal around 5-6 weeks, as he was breast fed totally until then, they added the formula and started the cereal...he is also happy, healthy and hungry! Just go with your gut and try it out, all babies are not created equal!! Introduce it slowly and test the waters with your baby...there really are no "rules". If there were, we have all broken them up to now, but we are all alive and well!!! Best of luck to you, M. T

Not til about 4 months, if I remember correctly. Call your pediatrician!!!!!!!!!!

All of the books that I have read AND my pediatrician state that you should wait to give cereal until AT LEAST 4 to 6 months of age. I know that lots of people put it in bottles much earlier, but they say it can increase the risk of developing food allergies and that it is meant to be eaten with a spoon.
I waited until my daughter was 6 months old and she did wonderful!

I started my oldest on cereal at 10 days old....we just couldn't keep him full....he did fine....the youngest didn't start till about 6 weeks since we weren't having the same issue. the oldest was eating all fruits and veggies by 4 months.....we never had any problems with it. I think it really depends on the child.....you just have to do it slowly to watch for allergic reactions, etc. good luck....R.

Cereal should be mixed with breastmilk or water. Everyone should know by now with all the research done that breastmilk is BEST for babies. Cereal should be introduced at about four months of age unless your doctor okays you to introduce it earlier.

i was told at a parenting class when i was pregnant to never put cereal into formula, it's a food not a liquid u could try feeding her a couple bites later in the evening though. it may take her a couple weeks to learn to take the food in off the spoon because of the sucking motion her tongue makes with the milk(u'll see what i mean)it'll also help her to learn to use her tongue earlier (speech eating all that) i was told that by a nurse and at 8 months old my daughter could say about 20 words very clear. i never gave mine cereal at 5 weeks she took 5 oz every 2-3 hrs. 6wks-6 oz she was 10wks before she took 8 oz. She slept through the night since 2 weeks old. (i was very blessed) she was never "colicky" and she rarely spit up like other babies. i started with really soft foods/ "baby like" foods, mashed potatoes, ranch dressing, just whatever was on our plates i thought maybe...to let her taste it but she was almost 2 months old then. But she eats everything now except cherry anything candy, medicine... but congrats on the new baby! Have lots of fun with her!

I think it's 4 months that they introduce cereal. By 6 months for sure. It's usually introduced by spoon though I do know people who have started by putting it in the bottle. I think the guidelines are if they are still hungry after 8 oz. of formula or nursing for the time they normally nurse you want to try cereal. You might want to google it.

You're NOT suppose to give them anything but breastmilk/formula for the first 4 months, their digestive system isn't developed enough. if you're trying to get her to sleep through the night, you should try other methods. This is not the answer.

I started when my daughter was only about a month old, I would mix about 1 tbl. spoon in her bottle, you have to get the nipples with the bigger holes or make them bigger yourself.

Hello,
Congratulations on your new daughter! According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, cereal is not recommended at this very young age - only breastmilk or infant formula for the first six months. Early introduction of cereal is associated with increased risk for diabetes. A good website for infant nutritional information is askdrsears.com. Congrats again and blessings, R.

I think it just depends on the child and when he/she is ready for it. You are the mom and you will be able to tell. With my daughter, we put cereal in her bottle at 6 wks and she did great. She was 9 lbs and we just couldnt keep her full from just formula. She was eating baby food from a jar at 3 1/2 mos and is 3 yrs now and has never had any allergies and is a great eater. My son is 12 weeks and I havent gave him any cereal in his bottle yet, he is just not ready. He was only 7lbs 13 oz and has always been satisfied with just formula. He has also had a lot of gas problems. I do plan though to start introducing him to rice cereal in the next 2-3 weeks. Use your best judgement. My pediatrician always tells me that she can tell me what all the books say, but to use my own best judgement, I am the mom and I will know what is best for my child.

if you are wanting to put cereal in her bottle to see if it will help her sleep, i think that is more or less a myth. seems their little systems are not ready for cereal until about 4 months old but you may ask your doctor what he/she thinks.

Glad to hear a Pedi actually gave medicine for reflux! Hope it's helping.

A.,

4 months is really the earliest that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting cereal. And in fact, should not be mixed with formula/breast milk unless the child is suffering from severe reflux, which can only be diagnosed by your pediatrician. Infants receive all the nutrition and fluids they need from the breast, or from formula. Contrary to previous thoughts, cereal mixed in with formula has shown to not have ANY effect on improving sleep patterns in infants (I assume that this is why you are interested). Good luck A.. I hope that this helps!
Enjoy that sweet girl!

Both of my daughters had reflux and had to have cereal in their bottles before they were a month old. Both were big babies but both turned out to be thin so it did not affect their weight in the long run. It did stretch out the time between feedings, although that isn't why I was doing it. I don't think anyone has ever harmed their baby by giving it cereal. Just start out with a little at a time and increase as she adjusts to it. But run it by your pediatrician if you would feel better about it. As far as the gas, it never bothered mine, but every baby is different. The gerbers cereal (plain, no fruit) in the box is really fine and doesn't thicken the formula as much as some of the other brands. I used a heaping tsp per oz of formula. Again, every baby is different. Good luck.

It is recommended that you don't start giving them any sort of solid before 4 months. If you do it raises their risk of childhood diabetes and food allergies. Also, they NEVER want you to put it in the bottle because the baby could gorge on it. My MIL gave my son rice cereal in a bottle without my permission and it didn't help him sleep through the night and also made him severely constipated. After that he didn't get rice cereal until he was 5 months, and I am waiting until then with my now 4 month old son also.

in every book i've ever read, and in every conversation with our pediatricians the answer has been the same. 4-6 months old is the only safe time to introduce anything other than breastmilk/formula. their systems aren't made to digest anything else until this time. mixing cereal in their bottle can lead to an increase in allergies, digestive problems, obesity and diabetes. i know lots of people do it, but it really isnt healthy for them. check with your ped. to be sure.

According to WIC, you're not suppose to add in cereal with the formula until the baby is at least 4 months old. Most people start mixing the two when the baby is eating a lot of formula and still doesn't seem to be getting satisfied. And no mixing it in the bottle. When she is really old enough, try mixing it with juice too. Gives the cereal different flavors.

you can start mixing it now. start with rice. i started giving my baby cereal and it was the best thing. he was more full and able to rest better. i don't care what anyone says, now is a good time to start.

6 months is the recommended age..
4 months is the earliest age that it should be introduced

and use oatmeal cereal over rice cereal...
as rice constipates little ones and gives gas, cramps and pain

oatmeal helps keep bowel movement regular.

of course consult your pediatrician as each child and child's needs varies....

hope this helps....
-mb

I started my son at 8 weeks and his doctor agreed. Many doctors and books are really against it. Some books even say that it promotes obesity. My son is 4 1/2 and he is by no means obese!! I say that you know your child and how hungry she is staying after feeding. If she needs the fuel give it to her a little at a time and you'll find what works for the two of you! THERE ARE SO MANY TERROR STORIES OUT THERE THESE DAYS!! MY SON LITERALLY DIDN'T HAVE A GAS PAIN UNTIL HE WAS OVER TWO YEARS OLD AND BECAME CONTSTIPATED. HE NEVER EVEN SPIT UP!! I KNOW ALL THE LITERATURE IS AGAINST IT BUT IT WORKED FOR US.
Have a great day and God bless!!

the baby's immune system is not ready for foods at this time. PLEASE, wait until the infant is in the very least, PAST THE AGE OF 8 MONTHS! the infant system needs time to build up immunity to food alleries, bacteria, etc. The best for the infant would be to give ONLY mother's milk for nearly the first year of life. If you are giving formula instead of your own highly nutritious breast milk, then this is harsh enough on the infant digestive system. For your baby's health's sake, please wait. Feed him/her more often if the infant cries of hunger, but DO NOT add cereals at this time.

you and your baby will regret that jump sooner than you think. i can promise you that! Ask your pediatrician what he/she thinks, then above all else use your own common sense with knowledge of your and your husband's family medical history in mind.

We started putting cereal in my son's last bottle of the night around 4 weeks, but he was 11 pounds when he was born and was just not getting enough breastmilk to keep him full through the night. You probably want to ask your pediatrician what she thinks is best for your baby, but mine actually wanted to start my son on it at around 3 weeks to help settle his tummy. The key is to buy the next stage up nipple for the bottle. We tried to split the nipple at first and about choked the poor child to death. Once we bought a stage 2 nipple (one for 3-6 month old baby), it came out for him at a comfortable rate and if it didn't, we knew we put too much cereal in. Once he graduated to stage 2 nipples regularly, we used a stage 3 (for 6-9 month babies) nipple for the bottle with cereal. I would try it during the day at first so you can see how well she tolerates it and make sure she doesn't have any adverse reactions before you do it at night. Hope this helps!

Hi A.
I know that your daughters ped. will tell you not to give them cereal until they are ready for you to start feeding them with a spoon. However, I am not sure why you are asking about the use of cereal but I did start putting cereal in my daughters bottle when she was about 6 months old. I did this because she alot of trouble with spitting up and that is one thing that was suggested. If you are wanting to give her cereal b/c she seems to eat all the time, that is very normal for a 3 week old. I know that I would not give her the cereal until she is older. At that age their little stomachs can only hold so much at one time. Well I hope this helps and good luck!
Thanks
C. Stork
www.forourkidz.fourpointmoms.com

A.,

First of all, i know how you feel. I personally didn't start my son on cereal until he was about 5 months old. I also spoon fed cereal/oatmeal and didn't put it in a bottle. That being said i also brestfed him and supplimented him with formula for those 5 months also, My best is advice is just to listen to your baby. She will tell you when she is ready to make that next step But everyone is right about one thing baby cereal/oatmeal is just a filler. I really doesn't have all that much nurticional value. so that is also something to think about. If you like and trust your ped. talk to them about it. Finally , Don't worry, remember you have had nine long months to prepare for her she hasn't had anytime to prepare for you and this HUGE world around her, besides you to are still getting to know each other. She trusts you and you trust her. Good Luck Sweet Pea.

Just a quick note about infant cereal - the newest information is that children under the age of 1 lack an enzyme necessary to truly digest complex carbohydrates. So the many up-to-date pediatricians are saying wait on cereals until the age of 1. Start with pureed meats, veggies and fruits around 6 months and then work up to cereal around 1 year. I have also read research that indicates that cereal at so young an age causes gas, discomfort, and even a very minor "allergic" reaction, like puffy eyes, etc. without really making them sleep longer.
I know it goes against the traditional wisdom (I fed my first daughter rice at 6 mos.) but in the last 3 years I've heard more and more about this. Do what's right for you and yours, but I would at least look into it. I'll be waiting until 1 year for my next one (due next month).
Good luck!

Here is just one article I found by googling infant carbohydrate enzyme, or inant cereal enzyme. The website is http://www.westonaprice.org/children/nourish-baby.html

"Is Cereal the Best First Food?
... Finally, respect the tiny, still-developing digestive system of your infant. Babies have limited enzyme production, which is necessary for the digestion of foods. In fact, it takes up to 28 months, just around the time when molar teeth are fully developed, for the big-gun carbohydrate enzymes (namely amylase) to fully kick into gear. Foods like cereals, grains and breads are very challenging for little ones to digest. Thus, these foods should be some of the last to be introduced. (One carbohydrate enzyme a baby's small intestine does produce is lactase, for the digestion of lactose in milk.1)

Foods introduced too early can cause digestive troubles and increase the likelihood of allergies (particularly to those foods introduced). The baby's immature digestive system allows large particles of food to be absorbed. If these particles reach the bloodstream, the immune system mounts a response that leads to an allergic reaction. Six months is the typical age when solids should be introduced,9,10,11 however, there are a few exceptions.
Remember, the amount of breast milk and/or formula decreases when solid foods are introduced. This decrease may open the door for insufficiencies in a number of nutrients critical for baby's normal growth and development. The nutrients that are often in short supply when weaning begins include protein, zinc, iron and B-vitamins. One food group that has these nutrients in ample amounts is meat.

Unfortunately, cereal is the most often recommended early weaning food. A recent Swedish study suggests that when infants are given substantial amounts of cereal, they may suffer from low concentrations of zinc and reduced calcium absorption.15

In the US, Dr. Nancy Krebs headed up a large infant growth study that found breastfed infants who received puréed or strained meat as a primary weaning food beginning at four to five months grew at a slightly faster rate. Kreb's study suggests that inadequate protein or zinc from common first foods may limit the growth of some breastfed infants during the weaning period. More importantly, both protein and zinc levels were consistently higher in the diets of the infants who received meat.16 Thus, the custom of providing large amounts of cereals and excluding meats before seven months of age may short-change the nutritional requirements of the infant.17

Meat is also an excellent source of iron. Heme iron (the form of iron found in meat) is better absorbed than iron from plant sources (non-heme). Additionally, the protein in meat helps the baby more easily absorb iron from other foods.18 Two recent studies19,20 have examined iron status in breastfed infants who received meat earlier in the weaning period. While researchers found no measurable change in breastfed babies' iron stores when they received an increased amount of meat, the levels of hemoglobin (iron-containing cells) circulating in the bloodstream did increase. Meat also contains a much greater amount of zinc than cereals, which means more is absorbed.21 These studies confirm the practices of traditional peoples, who gave meat--usually liver--as the first weaning food. Furthermore, the incidence of allergic reactions to meat is minimal and lower still when puréed varieties are used."

Just some food for thought!!

Eating every two hours is what she is supposed to do at this age. In fact, her sleeping 4-6 hours at night already makes you a very lucky mama! Her eating every two hours during the day is what makes those long stretches at night possible, so consider yourself blessed by this schedule.

My son and all of my friends' children woke up every 2-3 hours at night until they were at least 6 weeks or older. Once she is about 8 weeks old and starts consuming a bit more formula in one sitting as her tummy grows she will go longer between meals during the day, but she will continue eating or having a bottle at least every three hours past her first birthday.

I agree with the other posters and you should not introduce cereal to her this young unless your doctor says she needs it due to reflux. It could cause more harm than good and probably cause her to wake up to eat more often at night.

I started my son on cereal at 3 months and solids at 5 1/2. He's done great.

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