"Cereal and "The Bottle"

Updated on March 13, 2013
D.W. asks from Buford, GA
17 answers

My 2 month old has reflux and is "starving" by late afternoon. The dr said it would be ok to start her on cereal in the evenings. 1 teaspoon per ouce...so, 4 teaspoons total! We use the Dr. Brown bottles. Nothing comes out!! So, I bought the Avent "thicker" flow nipples and bottle. It drowns her! Suggestions???


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So What Happened?

"Food for thought"..funny! She takes about 4 to 4 1/2 ounces every 2 1/2 hours. I guess perhaps I should clarify what I'm asking... ceral or no cereal is not my question. I'm simply asking for those that have used cereal which bottles and nipples they've had success with.

Thank you all for the input! I indeed may get another opinion.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

My dr recommended cereal in the bottle for reflux at that age also. I had the same problem when I tried faster flow nipples, he choked on the milk coming out too fast. So I took a few slow-flow nipples and used a pin to make the hole a little larger - but not as large as the faster flow nipples. It worked in that the cereal came out without choking him and he drank it down. So, you can try this.

That said, the cereal in the bottle didn't help the reflux at all for us, and after a week or so, I thew away the nipples that I had made bigger and gave up on the cereal until he was 6 months old and was interested in eating solids for real. I concluded that the cereal in the bottle is indeed an old wives tale, and that even doctors will resort to these when they have no other advice to give you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I agree that the pediatrician's advice sounds odd. I think 2 months old is too young for cereal, but hey, what do I know? I'm just a mom!!

If I were you I would find another pediatrician for my child, because he/she didn't seem to really want to dig deeper to get to the root of the issue and solve the problem. There is a difference between reflux and starving. Just feed her more.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Green Bay on

How often are you feeding her in the first place? Maybe you just need to feed her more often. She is only two months old!

I would not do cereal in a bottle. I would question someone who would recommend it for such a young infant. However, it used to be custom practice to put cereal in bottles and I am sure there are people on here who will tell you so. I just wouldn't do it.

If she is hungry, start increasing the amount or how often you are feeding her, not what you are feeding her.

I would see if a different formula was easier on her stomach or other options before adding the cereal to the bottle...but that is my opinion.

ETA - infants have a tongue reflex that pushes things out of their mouth. They don't grow out of this reflex until 4-6 mo of age. Trying to spoon feed her might not be your best option because she doesn't have the strength to maneuver her tongue to push the "food" back to swallow it, and it will just all drain out of her mouth. That is why we use bottles to feed babies, because until their mouth matures, the sucking reflex is what feeds them. So, any time you hear a mom say "we started baby on food and they just spit it out! Generally, baby did not "choose" to spit it out, their mouth simply hasn't matured/developed enough to handle being fed with a spoon yet. Just some food for thought...lol - didn't even think of the pun! :-)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boise on

Reflux...and starving are 2 different things.

Babies should NEVER be given cereal out of a bottle. There are to many risk. If you really feel that your baby needs to have a little cereal then spoon feed her, sure it will be messy, but it will be a lot safer.

As a side not, cereal is nothing but empty calories. The equivalent of card board box for adults. There are some medications available that will work a lot better then filling her up on cereal, and there are something you can do at home to lessen the symptoms.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

Sorry, not what you're asking about, I'm just surprised your doc actually suggested this.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

It's such a bad idea to do this. Her tummy is already having issues. Cereal has no nutritional value. So every bite of cereal you give your baby is keeping her from getting food. She will be more hungry because she'll be doing without nutrition. She needs her formula or breastmilk.

Her tummy is not able to digest cereal yet so it will sit in her tummy and rot, this will also irritate the reflux. Your doc is not someone I would continue with for this matter. They may not know how reflux in infants is treated.

For reflux you need your doc to write a prescription for a med to relax her tummy so it won't spasm and send the milk back up her esophagus. That is so painful for them.

Once she is doing the meds and takes them a few minutes before each feeding she'll keep her milk down and it will nourish her better. She won't be as hungry.

We had a prescription for Reglan, it smelled like oranges and he took it right down. Then his tummy was relaxed a few minutes later. He could take a bottle and keep every drop down. He stopped being so hungry and started growing better too.

We didn't start him on any cereal until he was a full 6 months old. We made it in a bowl with a teaspoon of rice cereal with about 2-3 table spoons of milk. This made it very runny and he was able to keep it down too.

We also made each and every bottle with Mylanta Gas Drops in it then added the powder formula and swirled it to mix it up. Shaking the bottle adds tons of air and that makes reflux even worse.

So, don't give the baby cereal unless you want to deprive them of nutrition and make life much worse with more puke and more gas.

Formula and breast milk is total nutrition, they need it for their body and brain to develop.

Cereal is filler, it has NO nutrition in it. She needs you to feed her formula or breastmilk.
As for your ETA we that have kids with reflux know this is not how you treat it successfully. The cereal will make the reflux worse. Much much worse. So a doc who tells you to do this is not very knowledgeable about reflux.

If the problem is a swallowing issue then thicker fluid is a good thing but there are powders that can be added to make a fluid thicker that does not need to digest. It simply goes on through the body and exits.

Small meals a lot more often along with a med that relaxes the tummy is the best treatment for reflux. Not filling the tummy with cereal that is going to sit there and not digest and rot and cause gas and bloating and pain.

Those of us that have kids with reflux know that your plan is going to not help. It will make life worse, we can't just not say anything because you are possibly doing something that is not great for your baby. Maybe even make them hurt.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

I know it's not what you asked for, but you've been given some very helpful advice below...the advice to get a second opinion, find a new pediatrician, etc. Not only is it NOT going to help your baby to do this, it can be dangerous. A baby's digestive system is NOT ready for cereal, it provides NO nutrition, and I won't even bother to continue. Only you can make this decision, and I hope you'll do the research and make the right one.

There are ways to treat reflux in babies. Cereal is not one.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

Our son had a swallowing issue (long story), so he had to have cereal in his bottle when he was 1 month old. It is true that this is, in general, not recommended, but there are medical reasons to do so. Many babies with reflux will find it is not as bothersome when they have a thicker formula.

We learned that you really have to shake the bottle to get the cereal and formula to mix well. My husband and I developed really strong arms for awhile!

We also used Dr. Brown's. Actually, we used them because of his swallowing issue. I would suggest buying a different Dr. Brown's nipple. Ordinarily we would have used a Level 1, as that's the slowest flow (and the one that comes with the bottle, I believe). You should be able to buy a Level 2, Level 3, Level 4 and Level Y. Level Y has a "Y" shaped hole. The higher the level, the faster the flow.

Do you have a Babies R Us? That's where we bought the extra nipples. Many stores that sell the bottles will also sell nipples, but not necessarily every level or they may not have very many in stock.

We ended up using Level 3, but it might be worth your time to buy a package of Level 2 and Level 3 and see what works for you.

Good luck!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Spoon feed her. I was told never to put cereal in the bottle. If she is a formula fed baby, is there another formula to try?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dover on

My kids never took the cereal in a bottle.

I tried to mix it that way for my son and we ended up throwing out the whole bottle of formula. He ate from a spoon...starting at 2 weeks. I know that is typically too early for starting cereal but it was per doctor's instructions because at 2 weeks of age he was taking a full 8 oz bottle every 2 hours. Since he wouldn't take from a bottle, I fed him from a spoon (it sure was messy). He liked it thicker though.

My daughter took from a spoon at about 3.5-4 months. Also thicker than suggested but not as thick as my son liked it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Spoon feed it to her. Much easier on everyone.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

Are you sure this is reflux? Just wondering based on the cereal in a bottle instruction - something my pedi back then said to NOT do! I had one kiddo that really took the formula down fast - and was moved to cereals and such earlier than his siblings!

btw - are you using powder formula? try the liquid concentrate that is much easier to mix w/o all the air bubbles forming and see if that helps! (that was part of my grand's problem, too much bubbles!)



answers from Seattle on

What mom2many said. She shouldn't be getting cereal yet.

There are lots of mommies on this site who have babies with reflux. Did any of their peds suggest cereal at 2 months?

For more info, check out this discussion. I realize it's not specifically about babies with reflux, but I suspect that the answer is the same.



answers from Washington DC on

We used Dr. Brown's bottles with cereal. Just enlarge the hole a little with a knife. Or move up to the stage 2 nipple. We used the knife trick for awhile first and when he got good at that, we bought the next size. Cereal in his bottle didn't help us with his reflux, so we added Zantac and it and the cereal combined were a LIFESAVER. Best wishes.

ETA: our ped also recommended cereal in the bottle at an early age (3-4 months, I think). I now have a happy, healthy 2 yo. We gave cereal in every bottle to help make it thicker so it wouldn't come back up, which she was hoping would help the reflux without having to medicate. Our ped is pretty conservative, but if you have any concerns about this based on the answers here, get a second opinion.



answers from Detroit on

they used to make bottles especially to feed baby food. i would check babies r us for them..

most regular nipples wont be able to handle the thich formula cereal mix.

you might have to use less cereal.. maybe 1 teaspoon per 2 oz.



answers from San Francisco on

This isn't what you wanted, but..... you need to know it is harmful!

Find another pediatrician. They are uninformed and this is sooooo old and outdated info. Babies who are fed through a bottle can choke easily and aspirate the cereal through the bottle. Also, tummy issues and adding yet another thing for your baby to digest is not going to help---it will hurt her, constipate her and is just an all around bad idea.

Get a new doctor and a new gameplan for your baby. There are multiple options for babies with reflux.

Prop crib up under mattress
Keep baby upright for 30 min after eating
Use a low air/gas bottle like dr brown etc.
Swaddle and use the 5 s's -- look up dr harvey karp
Medication etc.
Keep baby in a upright carrier./wrap
Have baby use a pacifier

Don't put it in the bottle.You can seriously harm your baby and make them sick by this. GL



answers from Savannah on

I've never done cereal in the bottle, but we did use dr. brown's bottles 2 years ago. They used to have a y-cut nipple . . . i think it was for a thicker formula. Maybe you can give those a try.

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