Cereal in the Bottle

Updated on October 04, 2008
S.L. asks from Rockville, MD
41 answers

I have a 4 1/2 month old and I want to start giving her cereal. She has been waking up in the middle of the night and the nuk isn't doing the job so much anymore. So I have been giving her a bottle and I am curious if the reason why she is waking is because she isn't getting full enough. She has been sleeping through the night for about 2-3 months (she is a great girl) and now waking up ever so often. So I thought either trying to feed her cereal or I have heard cereal in the bottle but how much cereal do you put in the bottle so it doesn't get clogged? She gets 5 oz bottles.

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A.S.

answers from Omaha on

I see you have lots of responses so hope i'm not repeating.I read that cereal in the bottle can promote excessive weight gain becuase baby tend to eat more then they need. Using a spoon is better because it is easier for them to pick up on fullness ques. Also it is a choking hazard.

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R.M.

answers from Omaha on

Hi S.,

I have never been a fan of putting cereal in a bottle. My mom and sister are both dieticians and also have worked for WIC and the concern is that babies can aspirate. I would try feeding it to her really watered down with formula or breast milk. I wish you the best!

Good luck, I have a 3 year old, 16 month and 1 more on the way and nights are still a struggle for me!!! I wish I had knew the magic trick! :)

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A.H.

answers from Appleton on

I started my daughter on rice cereal at 4 months, but I never put it in a bottle. I gave it to her at mealtimes in a highchair with a spoon.

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C.F.

answers from Green Bay on

I am going to go out on a limb to explain a little about why feeding cereal would be a detrimental thing at this point. Your baby has what is called a 'leaky gut'...every baby has one...babies cannot digest anything solid until this 'leaky gut' closes. If a foreign protein (solid food) is introduced too soon (before gut has closed) the body will flag these proteins as foreign and will attack them...creating an allergic or inflammatory response...there are so many children who have excema, food allergies, gluten intolerances etc that could have been prevented by waiting until the leaky was closed (when child has 8 teeth or at 1 year old).
Babies have little tummies - they aren't meant to sleep through the night...some can, but most don't. Perhaps baby is going through a growth spurt???

I hope this helps...making important decisions in our children's lives is not easy...it takes asking questions and researching on our own so that we are not doing things just because it is easy or because someone said to...you can look up 'leaky gut' and learn more - then make your decision on whether or not to feed your child cereal so soon.

Hope this helps - I have seen too many children with intestines that don't function properly and/or children with so many food allergies and inflammatory responses...If what I have said can encourage moms to research the effects of what they plan to do, then I feel that our children can live healthier lives.

:)
Be Well!
C.

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C.D.

answers from La Crosse on

I know I sleep a lot better if I eat a nice warm bowl of oatmeal before bed but for a baby that age, it doesn't have the same effect. Really, you are better to wait until she has gotten a couple months older before you begin introducing solids. The reason your daughter is waking up is because she is changing as she grows and sometimes patterns in sleep gets disrupted during this. You've got to just roll with the changes and be thankful that she was actually sleeping through the night for as long as she was because that really isn't common for a baby that age. She will probably sleep less at night now, and more during the day than she normally does...after all, she's probably teething and just needs more reassurance and cuddling from mommy during the dark, cold nights.

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L.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hello S.,

I gave both of my kids cereal in their bottle at 4 months with their bed time feeding and they both turned out ok :) I didn't make it thick - I had to make a bigger hole in the nipple --- I also started giving them some cereal during the day- so they could get use to it!! Like my mom says- they are always changing things don't do this- it is ok to do that...ahhhh You will have to do what you think is right
It worked for me and it may work for you- it may not- you are the mother!!
I wish you luck-
I was a bad mom!! LOL I didn't get up in the mid. of the night to feed the kids unless I knew that they didn't get much to eat before bed time. I didn't want to get them in the habit of it. It worked- the only time they would wake up is if they weren't feeling well or a bad dream.
HTH

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N.O.

answers from Sioux Falls on

I would NOT put cereal in her bottle. It would be a choking hazard, for one. I would try giving her a few teaspoons at a time, mixed with formula or breast milk. The first few weeks of having cereal, it should still be very runny. Just let her "suck" if off of a baby spoon.

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J.C.

answers from Minneapolis on

Babies wake up for many reasons in the middle of the night, my little guy woke up a few times the last few days because he is cold due to the change in the seasons and switch from a/c to heat. My sisters little girl woke up nightly for the first 18 months of her life so I felt grateful that my little girl only woke up for the first 8 months. The dangers of putting cereal in the bottle far outweigh the possible benefits. Sometimes babies wake up because they dont feel well, they are growing, teething, have a bad dream or get cold. Give her another bottle and make sure she is comfortable, dont turn the light on when you feed her, change her diaper and make sure she is warm enough and feels loved and put her back to sleep. This may seem like a big deal when you are tired but she needs you and that is why she is waking up.

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C.K.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi S.,

Even babies who normally sleep through the night will go through times when they do not, even if it's just for a day or two. My little guy (9 mos) is a champion sleeper, but Mon & Tues nights this week, he was up all night off-and-on. He's teething and growing--oh my! (LOL)

You know what--I never put cereal in a bottle. When my son was ready for cereal, I just fed it to him with a spoon. There's no rule that you have to put it in the bottle.

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A.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

We tried cereal in the bottle when the same thing happened with our son, but it didn't help. Maybe you'll be luckier...

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G.H.

answers from Duluth on

NEVER EVER give cereal too early in age because their tummies are not ready yet(they are not able to digest it properly) and it is not safe to give it in the bottle.
All babies wake up in the middle of the night, it could be a number of things, my kids are 10 & 7 yrs. old and still have sleep issues now & then!!

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T.C.

answers from Minneapolis on

I started putting cereal in the bottle for both my boys probably around 1.5 - 2 months. They would spit up a lot and had bad gas pains, etc before I did it and hardly at all afterwards. I just opened the top of the nipple a little bit and made sure that I mixed it in really well. The rice cereal worked really well for that. As the other mom said, just start with a little bit (approx a teaspoon per full bottle) and see how it goes. If she's fine with it after a few days, but still hungry, add a little more. I was putting about 1-2 Tbs in by the time they were 6 months...

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C.K.

answers from Bismarck on

Hi S.! We have a 5 mo. old son. He's been waking also all through the night ever since he started getting his teeth. It quit for a while after he got the first 2 teeth. Now starting in again. Sometimes he sleeps through the night depending on what time he goes to bed. He's in the 93 percentile in height and weight. He wakes for his bottle once a night. (it used to be every 2 hours.) If we feed him late in the evening, he usually sleeps all night. He's been eating since he was 2 months old. So he's still adjusting and so are we.
You are right, they change your life greatly all the way around. They are so sweet! You gotta love em to death.

I've heard of cereal in the bottle, but never tried it. If you feed her cereal late in the evening and her tummy is full, she may sleep all night. Depending on what time she goes to bed. Our son goes to bed around 8:30 or 9:00 p.m..

Sorry I couldn't be of help with the cereal in the bottle.

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L.G.

answers from Des Moines on

Hi S., my son has been on cereal at night since he was 2 months old. My doctor told me that the proper ratio is 1 tablespoon cereal for each ounce of milk in the bottle. We have been doing that and it has always worked great for us and he is now 8 months old. We actually just stopped the cereal at night about a week ago because he doesn't need it anymore. You will need to get a cereal nipple, because the milk will be too thick to fit through a regular size nipple. I know Avent makes cereal/thick liquid nipples but don't know about any of the other brands.
Good Luck!

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D.P.

answers from Minneapolis on

I agree...dont put cereal in the bottle, some people will swear by it, but it is not a good idea. maybe offer her cereal for dinner, it will need to be really watered down. but if she wakes in the middle of the night, feed her and change her (only if needed)...you can rock her, but dont over stimulate her by talking or turning the light on (we always had a small night light on so we can see what we were doing, but it wouldnt wake the baby).

She is growing and probably needs a little more to eat. A lot of babies dont sleep through the night so this is just a part of mommyhood...

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S.H.

answers from Milwaukee on

I would recommend checking with your pediatrician before you start anything. I know that current recommendations generally are against putting cereal in the bottle except for certain instances. From what I have read, babies who are given cereal in a bottle lose some of their self-regulating when it comes to when to stop eating. There is some thought this could lead to weight battles later in life. Also, there are different thoughts on when to start solids due to various issues of allergies and possible diabetes later in life. Babies have many reasons why they no longer sleep through the night. She may be getting teeth. She may just want to cuddle- nights are long for them and they are very social beings, so perhaps she just wants to see you. Maybe she is hungry and does need a small bottle. Eventually, she will grow and her body will allow her to sleep through the night. I don't think adding cereal to their diet did anything for my kids. It just takes time for their bodies and minds to understand that you sleep the whole night. Good luck!

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B.B.

answers from Minneapolis on

We are in the exact same boat! I have a 4&1/2 mo old daughter too, and she is starting to wake up in the night because I think she is hungry. I am also thinking of giving her rice cereal in her bottle. I am breastfeeding and I don't produce much at night, so I guess it's not keeping her full at night, so she wakes up. Last night she was up at 11:30pm or so, so I had my husband give her a bottle of formula. I heard that takes longer to digest than breastmilk, so it holds babies over til morning. But I think I am going to try some rice cereal in the bottle. You can just cut an "X" in the top of one of your bottle nipples (if you don't mind), and always use that one for cereal at night. Just put a little in to start with, and add more each time, not making it too thick. I think that will tide our girls over til morning. And you might think about formula, just for the night feeding if you are breastfeeding, as that helps too. I have a 2-yr-old son, so I have been through this before. Good luck!

B.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

She's hitting her 4mo growht spurt. It will last from a couple days ot a couple weeks, and is the biggest growth spurt in the first year. She will be hungry, so feed her when she wakes, and give it time, no need to give her something unnecessary, and introducing it at this age, especially in a bottle, will probably cause you more trouble than just getting upa nd tending to your baby at night. Rice cereal is a binder, so she will probably get constipated, and her body isn't ready to digest it fully yet, so it could cause tummy problems.

Its a growth spurt, its normal, feed her when she wakes and realize that its a phase and it'll pass.

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A.S.

answers from Rochester on

My to oldest had cereal in a feeder bottle by 2 months of age nothing filled them up. If you look at walmart they have special feeder bottles made for cereal. You mix it very loose with either breast milk or formula and don't give her much to start with around 2oz or so if she gobbles it down and isn't fussy after wards go ahead and give her more. you could also try giving it to her by spoon after her last feeding before she goes to bed. it will be messy at first but once she gets the hang of the spoon it will be less messy.

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L.H.

answers from Milwaukee on

They don not recommend ceareal in a bottle. It is recommended feeding them with a spoon. You make it kind-of runny at first then slowly make it thicker as they are more ready for it.

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K.W.

answers from Omaha on

I see you have a lot of responses and I don't have time to look through them all... But what I can tell you (with two under two) that it has been well documented in numerous studies that putting formula in the bottle does not help a child sleep through the night. I know this is a very hard myth to dispel but...it is the sad truth. My older daughter slept through the night at 4 weeks. My 9 month old still does not sleep through the night. Remember that "sleeping through the night" for an infant actually means sleeping at least five hours. Talk with your doctor first about options...he/she may suggest cutting back the calories at night although at four months...that might still be kind of young. Good luck.

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G.N.

answers from Minneapolis on

I wouldn't put cereal in the bottle. If you want to feed your daughter cereal you should do it with a spoon. Often the holes in the nipple of a bottle are not large enough for the cereal to pass and then you would have to make the larger. This sometimes causes a choking hazard as babies often suck very hard.

I think if I were you, I would offer her more formula first or consult with your doctor.

Good luck!

G. (Mother of 4)

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L.B.

answers from Minneapolis on

If she has gotten more than 32 ounces everyday for the past two weeks or more than I'd start feeding her rice cereal. I'd give it to her by spoon though. And don't worry if her tongue pushes quite a bit of it back out the first week or two, that's completely normal. Make the cereal with formula or breastmilk and make it very thin. And she won't eat very much of it the first week, but then she'll get the hang of it. I'd give it to her at her last feeding, right before bed. I would also give it to her before the breast or bottle. Now when she starts eating solids more often then you can decide whether you want to give the solid before or after the breast or bottle. But with the cereal I'd always give it before the breast or bottle to help them get through the night. Good luck!

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M.L.

answers from Minneapolis on

Our doctor advised us to do 2 things:
(1) Do not start solids until 6 months
(2) Do not add rice cereal to our daughter's bottle. Feed it to her with a spoon.

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K.K.

answers from Minneapolis on

i don't think putting cereal in her bottle is really going to help. i have read that babies tummies can't really digest stuff (other than breast milk or formula) until they are 6 months, so cereal may cause her tummy problems.

she could be waking up because at her age, her brain is really starting to grow and she is so much more aware of stuff! (aware that you are somewhere else, aware that she has hands!, etc)
she may be hungry, too, but why not just give her a bottle?

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K.D.

answers from Davenport on

S. - I'm a licensed daycare provider and per the State of IL licensing regulations as well as the State of IL Food Program, we are not allowed to put cereal in baby bottles at all - it's considered a major choking hazard. You can mix a little formula with some cereal in a bowl and give it to her with a baby spoon. It will take a few days or maybe even a couple of weeks but eventually she should get the hang of being spoon fed. good luck to you! K.

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T.F.

answers from Minneapolis on

I agree with the fact that she is going through a growth spurt and is just hungry. Babies systems are not designed for anything but breastmilk and formula at this age and they also say it is a myth that they will sleep better if having cereal at night.

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K.C.

answers from Milwaukee on

Hi S.,

I have a 6 mo. old boy who has been eating 7 oz. bottles at a feeding since he was 3 1/2 months old - yeah, he's a good eater :) We also debated whether or not to put rice cereal in a bottle. I would say 95% of my mommy friends have done it (and recommend it) so I checked with my pediatrician...he did not recommend it due to the possiblity that the child can over eat. We decided to try it anyway and after a few times and I dont really think it made much of a difference (and it certainly didnt hurt him in any way)...he was still hungry at 3am. He too had previously been sleeping thru the night (7+ hours usually), and around 4 mo. old started to wake up for another bottle at 3am. We talked to our pediatrician after trying it a few times and agreed it was best for our son to start solids at 5 mo. old. Now he eats solids twice a day and is sleeping 7-9 hours at night. We are sooo lucky - he's a great baby! Talk to your doctor...maybe she's ready for solids?!

A.H.

answers from Sioux City on

My doctor told me that one tabelspoon to 4 oz of formula/juice is what is recommended and it sure helped my little boy. Hope this helps.

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C.J.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi S.,
I also have a 4 moth old boy (Oct 11th) and I have been giving him rice ceral and baby food (Carrots, Peas, Squash, Pears, Bananas, Peaches) for about 2 weeks now and he still gets up 2-3 sometimes 4 times a night for more. I am breastfeeding and I am running on fumes I am sooo tired. He is a great baby and just going thru a growth spurt. Try rice ceral mixed with some formula. Make it a bit runny, she may push it out of her mouth because its something new, but keep trying. You can also start out with fruits, but only try 1 at a time to see if she is allergic. Same with Vegies. I use Gerber 1st foods. But I have also found great baby food receipes on line as well that have no artificial ingredients. email me with any additional questions. I have a 5 year old daughter as well. Good Luck!
C. ([email protected]____.com)

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E.I.

answers from Duluth on

DO NOT PUT CEREAL IN THE BOTTLE.

if you want to try starting solids, do it delicatly, and carefully. you do not want to start solids earlier than baby is ready. sure signs are available www.askdrsears.com and mostly include interest, sitting up on own, able to tell you when they are done, etc.

any spitting out of food is a SURE sign of NOT being ready. if there is any spitting out, it is because they are not developmentally ready to bring the food to the back of their mouths to swallow. yes some food will get down, and you can eventually get baby to eat all of the food, but really, baby is not ready if they are spitting out. follow your instincts and baby's cues.

also, if its interest that seems to be a sure sign of readiness, make sure baby isnt curious about just the spoon itself. give her a soft spoon and let her be curious about it before giving solids..

most likely, at her age, this is a teething issue NOT a solids issue. yes, many babies can and do start solids between 4-6 months, but put it this way, the longer you can wait the better. the longer you wait, the more developed the digestive system gets, and the less likely there will be food allergies, sensitivities, or other digestive issues. baby needs to take it slowly.

my son started at 5 1/2 months old, he was developmentally ready, and he never spit out his food (of course, until he learned how fun it was for playing - thats different) he just took that first bite, and down it went! :D
so remember that.

its best not to follow the calendar with these sorts of things, but follow the baby and her readiness.

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P.G.

answers from Sheboygan on

Hi S.,
I was told by our pediatrician to never put cereal in a bottle.
When you start cereal feed her with a spoon.
The reason she could be getting up is a growth spurt. Growth usually disrupts their sleep pattern.
I hope she starts sleeping again for you!!

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N.K.

answers from Green Bay on

Well it could be that she is starting the teething process and her gums are bothering her. It could also be that she is hungry, like you suspect. What I did with my 2 little ones is make their bottle just as I would normally (maybe increase her nighttime bottle to 6 oz) and add rice cereal to thicken it. You need to get a nipple with a larger hole so that the thicker liquid can flow through. If she is still waking up let her cry for a little bit before you run in to save her...she may just be waking up (as we do as adults) and just needs to learn how to get herself back to sleep on her own. I know this will be hard because I ran into my son's room everytime he woke up and I ended up doing that until he was over 1. It is hard to hear them cry, but allowing them to learn how to soothe themselves is important and it will help you when you have another child!

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B.B.

answers from Davenport on

Hi! Cereal in the bottle is BIG no-no. It is a huge choking hazard and it has been proven to not help the baby sleep through the night. In fact, recent studies have proven it could wake them up more because their little tummies are not developed enuogh to digest it until 4-6 months old, and with yours only being 4 1/2 months I would start cereal in the morning, a very small amount in breastmilk or formula. I'm sure you will hear from "old school" moms that they put cereal in their kids bottles and it was great...blah, blah, blah.....but, before you do it, call your ped and see what s/he says. I'll bet you 5 out of 5 times s/he says no, not a good idea. I can tell you from experience (my third is 5 months old today) that what your daughter is doing happens. My son slept through the night from 2 to 4 months and for the last month he has wanted to nurse ever 3 hours, 24 hours a day. Babies go through several growth spurts in the first 6-8 months of life and she probably is hungry, but cereal in the bottle isn't the answer, you just have to suck it up and give the bottle ;) Trust me, it's easier to get used to having no sleep the second time around, although it is annoying to have to get up after those wonderful full nights of rest :) I urge you to call your peditrician before you put cereal in the bottle....there's no reason to take an unneeded chance. Good luck.

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T.

answers from Milwaukee on

It would be fine. I started my son out at 3 months and he is still up through the night. He is now 11 months. We love him and his cute little looks but the no sleep is still an issue.

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L.D.

answers from Minneapolis on

Don't do cereal in the bottle. It can lead to choking and excessive weight gain. If you want to give cereal, give it from a spoon. If she isn't advanced enough to take it from a spoon, her body isn't advanced enough to digest it properly.

Also, cereal probably won't help her sleep through the night. My daughter was wakeing up once a night at 3 months of age. She started waking up twice at 5 months and we started spoonfeeding cereal at nearly 6 months. She is nearly 8 months old and gets cereal 3 times a day with fruits/veggies and meat. She now wakes up 3 times a night. That is because babies will eat until they are full baste on calories. If you give her cereal for more calories she will be taking less milk to compensate for the extra food and still be hungry a few hours later.

Sorry I don't have better news for you. Kids are unpredictable.

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J.R.

answers from Cedar Rapids on

My vote would be for not putting ceral in the bottle. But my pediatrition told us 4-6 months was the time to start 'solids.' So you would be right in line with that. We ended up startin at around 5 months because my daughter basically went on a month long breastfeeding strike! She screamed every time and barely ate. Soooo we started ceral in the early evenings. We chose to use a bowl and spoon so she started to know the difference between eating and drinking. (even though its pretty much slurping at first anyway!) She ended up breaking thru her first two teeth a week apart right after that so looking back i think maybe she was just teething.

Its a hard choice deciding whats best for you _and_ your baby in light of what everyone else thinks is right for your baby!
Good Luck!

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M.Z.

answers from Minneapolis on

S.:
I have 3 kids and one on the way and I've always put cereal in the bottle once they start not getting enough. I see nothing wrong with it -- and neither does my pediatrician. In fact, with my last one, they encouraged me to do that. I started doing it sooner than 4 1/2 months too. We bought bigger nipples or cut the opening a little bit on the nipple the baby is on now. It doesn't take much to begin with -- maybe a teaspoon or two. I wouldn't hesitate if I were you...its not going to hurt the baby at all. Trust your gut feeling...try it and see how it goes. Good luck!

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A.M.

answers from Grand Forks on

We put one tablespoon in every bottle. It helped him from spitting up, but did not help him sleep.

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S.D.

answers from Minneapolis on

Please do not put cereal in her bottle. This is not safe, not good for her, and not what cereal is intended for. Just know that babies schedules change often. Just when you think you have it figured out, they change it. It is very common for a baby to have been sleeping through the night and no longer be doing it. There are so many reasons as to why she isn't doing it anymore. What does she seem to want when she wakes? Do you feed her? With all of my kids, when they were that little and woke during the night, I feed them and they would go back to sleep. Babies have tiny tummies and they don't stay full long and most have a hard time making it through the night. It is usually us that wants them going 10 hours with out food, not them. 4 1/2 mos is pretty young to start cereal, I would wait til at least 6 mos. What I would suggest is making sure she has a good feeding before bed, let her eat as much as she wants. And if she wakes before morning, I, personally, would get her up and feed her and put her back to bed - doing nothing else (unless she has a poopy diaper), so she doesn't learn this is play/awake time. They are only tiny for a short time and I really enjoyed that one on one bonding time in the middle of the night, even as tired as I was. :) Good luck.
S.
mom of 3 and daycare provider

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S.G.

answers from Rapid City on

It will be messy at first but feeding them with a spoon teaches them the swallowing reflex without the sucking. It is fun to watch them learn to eat, so be ready with your camera or video camera.

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