Did You Break the "No Solids Until 4 Months" Rule?

Updated on July 23, 2011
S.L. asks from Moab, UT
30 answers

4 months is what my pediatrician recommends but I know others out there are even older than that.

some of the older ladies on my street keep telling me to put rice ceral in her bottle to get her to sleep longer at night... while i've considered it, I haven't done it yet.;

So I was just wondering... did you break the rule?

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So What Happened?

Not to worry ladies- I haven't tried it... I was just wondering how many people have. All those mommy myths out there are interesting....

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answers from Kansas City on

Absolutely...none of my children ever developed any food allergies and none of them had colic. 1 of my children and my grandson had acid reflux and the cereal helped keep his food down. I am not going to say my kids slept through the night because of food. I just know they were happier and more content. My kiddos came out hungry and I didn't deprive them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My oldest had rice cereal at 5 weeks and slept through the night.
My youngest had rice cereal at 2 weeks and slept through the night.
My sister had rice cereal at 1 week and slept through the night.
Why did I break the rule? I needed sleep!!!
Why did my mom break the rule? She needed sleep!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

It really is a myth. I know so many people who tried it and were so disheartened that it didn't work. I'd stick with the carseat and swing. You'll have much better results.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Houston on

No, too many allergy and colic risks to give it that young. Besides infant's digestive tracks aren't really ready for rice cereals that age. I prefer to go by science and what is best for my child, than what happens to work for other mothers. Any good that comes from it from mothers who tried it is simply circumstantial.

From an "expert":

Adding cereal to a bottle of breast milk or formula has often been recommended to help a baby sleep better. But there's no evidence that babies will go to sleep faster or sleep better if they're given cereal — or even a full meal — just before going to bed.

For one thing, babies are programmed to wake up fairly often during the night, not only to eat, but also to socialize and touch base with their parents. Moreover, your baby won't be able to sleep through the night (defined as a five-hour stretch) until his central nervous system has fully matured; it has almost nothing to do with whether he has a full tummy. Every baby is different — and some will be able to sleep through the night sooner than others.

Keep in mind, too, that breast milk or formula provides everything your baby needs until he's 4 to 6 months old. Introducing cereal earlier than that puts him at a higher risk for allergies.

The next time someone tells you to "just give the baby a little cereal to get him to sleep better," ask what she would recommend for an adult who can't sleep. Chances are, her advice would be to drink a glass of warm milk.


5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

"Solids" helping babies sleep better is an old-wives' tale. Cereal, being all carbohydrate, is quicky digested and used up by the body. And many babies have a great deal of trouble digesting this new substance, causing further distress and challenging sleep even more. I have heard that most pediatricians today don't recommend solids earlier than 6 months.

While "solids" sound like they should last longer, cereal actually doesn't, and babies are even more likely to wake up hungry in the night. Breast milk or formula are balanced nutritionally to give babies everything they actually need for their first year or so of life, and include slower-digesting protein and fats. Cereals provide little more than calories and quick-digesting starch. Plus babies started early on cereals are statistically more likely to develop food allergies.

When your baby is ready for solids, he/she will become interested and start reaching for other foods he sees you eating.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

No - I exclusively breastfed until she finally wanted solids at 9 months, tho I had been trying since 7 months.

The immature and open gut of infants do not close and mature until around 7-8 months... and unless you formula feed - which has already introduced foreign bacteria and proteins, then keeping foreign bacteria out of the GI tract until closure is in the best interest for baby.

Feel free to google it - there are tons of studies on the infant GI tract.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

the rice cereal in the bottle is a complete myth.

I wouldn't start any earlier than 4 mos.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Bloomington on

i didn't give my kids anything until six or seven months. but i breastfed...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

yep i sure did. my 7 month old twins get rice cereal in their last bottles of the night and have been since they were about 3 months old. it helps them sleep better. my mom started spoon feeding me rice cereal when i was 5 weeks old and i would eat about 2 teaspoons before bed. just go with you gut, no one but you knows best for your child. if you dont feel comfortable doing it then dont, no matter what anyone else says!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kalamazoo on

No - tell them science has changed since they raised kids. It's too much for their little digestive track to handle - that's why they sleep thru the night, they are basically comotost (sp) like us after Thanksgiving dinner! Baby are supposed to wake up at night and eat.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Looks like you haven't put the cereal in there, from your "what happened" update. Good! Don't do that. There is a huge choking hazard. And, it's just not needed. When's the last time you fell asleep with a belly full of simple carbs? (Simple carbs = sugar = energy!) There digestive systems aren't really ready for anything, until 6 months.

To answer your question, I started my son at 6 months. Never did any cereals. Rice cereal has no nutritional value whatsoever. We never did baby-food, but steamed fruit and veggies and mashed them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I didn't read all the responses, so this may have been said already. There is a reason not to start solids so early. According to my son's pediatrician, until a child is about six months old the intestines have microscopic holes in them that let molecules from the food into the child's blood stream. This MAY set up a child for illness of all sorts, beginning with food allergies. The age-old notion that when a child is ready for solids, they'll start reaching for your food seems to be a pretty good rule to live by.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

YES! My pediatrician even let me with my son. Rice is smooth & very easy to digest. Start with a small amount. Up until the last 10+ years people always fed their kids. I raised my kids the old school way, being taught my grandmother's way (she had 13 kids). Its your choice...it's YOUR baby. My mom watched a baby for a friend of mine & she was almost a year old & all she (the mom) would give her was 3 formula bottles a day because her pediatrician said 1 can (which made 3, 8oz bottles - we had concentrate, not powder then, 14 yrs ago) was all she needed a day for nutrition & that baby screamed nonstop...to this day we still talk about her & how hungry she must have been. Good luck & do what's best or you & your baby...the Dr's aren't in the house raising them. BTW - feeding a baby rice cereal does NOT make them comatose!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

My sons are 9 years apart in age...& both of my sons were put on cereal before 4 WEEKS....by their pediatricians. It was standard procedure when my older son was an infant......& not used as much when my younger son was an infant. (they'll be 24 & 15 this summer.)

In both cases, the drs felt that my sons were "big boys" & required/could handle solids. So for both of them....rice cereal before 4 weeks, vegies & fruits at 3 months, & meats at 4 months. Both boys had a mouthful of teeth at 6 months....& began table foods then (fresh-cooked vegies, etc). Both could use the pincer grasp to self-feed during the 6th month.

Both boys had ZERO digestive problems or food allergies....until my younger son was 4 ? 5? & became "allergic" to peanut. His allergist swore it was due to overindulgence.

Soooo, would I recommend this for today's world? Don't know...but I do know this method worked for ALL of the kids in our extended family. My younger son is in the younger group.....most of the others are closer to 30... & not a single one of them have issues due to early solids. Peace....


answers from Washington DC on

No, I exclusively breast fed until they were 6 months old...

then we did rice cereal and oatmeal, etc...



answers from Minneapolis on

I was told it was 6 months, but I started feeding small amounts of cereal at a little over 4 months, with a spoon. Her sleeping habits didn't change a bit with the change. She woke up twice every night from day one. I was nursing.



answers from Albuquerque on

One of my twins had reflux and we put rice cereal powder in her bottle of breast milk starting at 2 months old. My other didn't get any cereal until 8 months when we started solids. I didn't notice any differences in sleep between the two of them. I think the rice cereal thing is just an old wives tale.


answers from Los Angeles on

I didn't, my ped recommended 6 months. She says that the sucking reflex is fine for milk, but not for solids, and that he could choke, so I definitely wasn't going to chance it. And while I am a "back-in-the-day" mom, having raised two children already to adulthood, I didn't start earlier than 6 months with them, either : )

Wow, J B., I would never insult a younger mom ~ "The older ladies will have all kinds of suggestions for you to ignore!" ~ and I thought we were all here to learn from each other...



answers from Chicago on

Nope, the digestive system isn't ready for it. As for the rice cereal in the bottle, my pediatrician says it's really an old wives' tale and he hasn't met many people it actually worked for. Honestly, babies that young aren't supposed to sleep longer at night. As hard and tiring as it is, they'll sleep through when physically able to.



answers from Dallas on

Go with what your doctor recommends. Remember, they know YOUR child and his/her specific medical needs and/or concerns.

Just remember that there's a medical reason why they do not want solids introduced until a specific age.

But trust me, I know how hard it is when we are all bombarded with advice to the contrary.



answers from Orlando on

my sons ped told me to put rice cereal in his bottles at 1 month old because he was a premie and had horrible reflux. so i guess it depends on the baby..



answers from San Francisco on

No, we stuck to it and waited until 6 months I think. Our pediatrician said it was better to prevent allergies. Worked for us!



answers from Joplin on

I know I did not with my first two...my first two were breast fed. I honestly cannot remember if I broke the rule with Alex or not, although I doubt I did...Alex was an amazing sleeper as a baby. Who knew he was just giving me time to get ahead, because as a toddler he is a Terrible sleeper.
I am pretty sure with all my babies they were 6 months before they started on baby food of any kind.
Although the craziest thing I have done is when my only daughter stopped nursing of her own accord ( I was heart broken) we could not find a single formula that agreed with her, and the Pediatrician approved whole milk, and I thought that was "out there" I should have pumped, as she would take breast milk from a bottle, but it was so uncomfortable to pump.


answers from Norfolk on

I tried my son on a little cereal at about 8 or 9 months, but the didn't really take to solids till he was about a year old (he was on the late side).
I'd be afraid their digestive system couldn't handle it before 6 months.



answers from Boston on

No - the newer thinking is 6 months anyway. I did 4 with my first (a million years ago), the 6 with my 2nd and 8 with my 3rd. Infants wake up every few hours for a reason - there's little reason to try to make a child younger than 4 months sleep longer or through the night. Go with your pedi and your gut. The older ladies will have all kinds of suggestions for you to ignore!



answers from Oklahoma City on

Their tummies are not ready for food until they are at least 6 months. Formula is complete nutrition and I can't understand why moms want to fill their kids full of empty food that has minimal nutrition in place of something that is needed and complete nutrition. Solids are for teaching a child to chew and swallow.



answers from Boston on

The most current recommendation is 6 months not 4. By starting sooner you run health risks and you should never put cereal in a bottle that is a choking risk!


answers from Washington DC on

you should wait 6 months to give solids. 4 months old, they just aren't ready yet. My son had some pretty awful reflux. He was on baby zantac (sp?) and I did put a little bit of rice cereal in his bottle. It helped a lot with his reflux. But I wouldn't say it helped him sleep through the night



answers from New York on

You know, I cringe when ladies try to pass on that advice to young moms. 4 months in the MINIMUM you should wait unless there is a medical issue with your child. It increases allergies and decreases the nutrition from milk. I started my son on rice cereal at 4 months because my breastmilk was not fatty enough. He didn't poop for 9 days. So no, do not follow that bit of bad advice.

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