How Early Is Too Early to Feed a Little Rice Cereal in the Bottle?

Updated on September 06, 2009
C.R. asks from Denham Springs, LA
19 answers

Hi! I have a 11 week old who is a bottomless pit and does not sleep during the day (15 to 30min. catnaps here & there)! I am nursing and supplementing with formula... I feel like I am literally feeding her all day. I also have a three year old running circles around me & wanting my undivided attention...LOL. My house is a total disaster! I feel if I can get the baby to feel fuller, maybe she will take longer naps...and I can get something done. My question is "Is it too early to put a little cereal in the bottle? I have read up on it on the internet and read several different responses. I also know the recommended age is 4-6months. My baby is a healthy weight and I would only put a half or 1 teaspoon in the bottle...before I make my own decision, I wanted to get some responses from you Mamas out there.

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So What Happened?

WOW! Thank you all for the great and very informative responses! I read every one and took each one in consideration. I have decided to wait before I start her on cereal. Everything seems to be getting easier and I am finally finding my groove with having two little ones. She still takes short naps, but will entertain herself on the baby floor mats. However, she is not crazy about her swing...she swings 10mins. max. I guess that is not her thing...LOL! She even seems to be more satisfied during the day...maybe she was going through a growth spurt before. I am still breastfeeding majority of the time and only give her a bottle 2 or 3 times a day...especially when I need a break. I have come to realize my family is more important than worrying about the house being in a mess! I will never get this precious time back and the cleaning will always be there! Again, thank you for all the wonderful advice. For those who offered there email, I am putting the email address in my contacts in case I need more advice.

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A.W.

answers from Oklahoma City on

All kids react different to the rice cereal, i was feeding my kids cereal at 2months and never had problems with gas or any of those things. So maybe try for 1 or 2 weeks and see how he response to it.

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K.G.

answers from Oklahoma City on

I started giving my son cereal at 4weeks for the same reason and so has the rest of my family. My son is a happy healthy 12 year old now and nothing is wrong with him or any of the other kids in my family. We have all used an infant feeder twice a day. Once in the morning and once in the evening. The last one that we did it with is a happy 1 year old baby girl and she is just fine as well.

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M.P.

answers from Texarkana on

Please resist the temptation to put cereal in the bottle. Babies digestive systems are not mature enough to handle solids until they are 4 months old. If they were, God would have put it in breast milk. It causes tummy troubles, not to mention obese babies/children. Just stick to the breast milk and formula until the baby is 4-6 months old.

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V.M.

answers from Little Rock on

Never put rice cereal in your baby's bottle!
Listen the thing about nursing is that all you do is nurse. After having four kids I finally figured out that the reason I had so much trouble nursing my kids was because of two reasons; first I listened to too many people who didn't really know what they were talking about and second because I wouldn't sit still and nurse!
Formula works completely differently than breast milk, mainly because it forms large soft "curds" in your baby's stomach, which makes them feel full.
Breast milk doesn't do that, it nourishes and goes right through. Your baby is growing faster now than ever, her brain is developing, and she needs all the nutrients she can get. God made her to nurse almost constantly during this time so her brain and everything else can get all the nutrients it needs to develop as well as possible.
So my advice? Sit down and nurse.
Call somebody to help with the older child if you don't have time to keep her fed and clothed, and explain it to your husband that you need his help too. Don't worry about the cleanliness of the house, just do what's necessary and relax. Use the time to bond with your baby and let your baby bond with you and your older child. You'll never regret the time.
When you are watching your grown up children walking out the door too busy to talk to you, I don't think you'll be wishing you'd kept the house cleaner...

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C.M.

answers from Oklahoma City on

I agree with everything Liev B said!! Cereal does not make them sleep better. Try cosleeping, you will both be more rested! I never felt sleep deprived with my kids, we coslept, when they would start to wiggle, I rolled over and fed them with out getting out of bed. They did not have enough timeto wake up before I fed them, andneither did I! As far as amessy house...my mom has cross stitch from my aunt tha says- cleaning the house while kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it starts snowing!
your kids won't be impacted by a perfectly clean house as much as they will by your time and by breastfeeding!

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S.J.

answers from Tulsa on

NEVER feed rice cereal from a bottle. Introduce rice cereal at 6 months at the earliest (they actually don't need any food at all besides breast milk or formula until one year), but only feed it with a spoon, never mixed in the bottle. The only reason to introduce food at that age is to get them to learn how to eat food, from a spoon, not because they actually need it. It is actually harmful to your child to give them cereal younger than that because their digestive systems are not developed enough to digest anything besides milk. And thickening the milk with cereal "to make them feel fuller longer" is not good. You don't want to trick your baby into feeling fuller when she's not - that actually deprives her of nutrients that she should be getting from breast milk or formula. Please don't deny her some of the milk she needs by filling her up with rice she doesn't need or can't digest. Also, feeding cereal from a bottle makes it hard for them to suck out of it, and if you enlarge the nipple it comes out too fast and chokes them or they get too much. It is really not a good idea. A good rule is if the baby is too young to be able to eat cereal from a spoon, then she is too young to have cereal! Please wait on this - your baby's digestive system is not meant for anything but milk at this stage and it will cause all sorts of digestive and gastrointestinal problems.

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T.P.

answers from Tuscaloosa on

Please don't do it! You'll probably hear several moms say they did and the kids were fine, and it doesn't hurt all kids, but it really increases the risk of food allergies, as well as obesity and MALNUTRITION! When fed out of a bottle, babies can't control how fast or how much they eat...it just runs out, and they learn to overeat and take in too many calories. They also take in less milk/formula (because a % of it is cereal) which is where the real nutrients are. I actually tried the cereal thing with my first child, because my husband was in Iraq at the time and I was exhausted! It backfired and he screamed ALL NIGHT because his little stomach was in knots. They really can't digest it until their stomachs are ready (4-6 months).
My kids are roughly the same ages as yours. Both of mine ate every 2 hours all day and slept 30-45 mins. at a time repeatedly throughout the day. That is a normal sleep schedule for some babies. I feel your pain, for sure, but this will soon change, just hang in there. Your baby is getting what rest he/she needs as long as he/she is sleeping more at night.
The chaos at my house drives me crazy too, but it's temporary, and the price I pay to get to stay at home, which is the best decision I ever made. Hang in there...it gets better!!!

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A.K.

answers from Tulsa on

I totally understand your stress C.!! The only problem is that baby's system is just not ready to digest the rice. You would start dealing with bigger problems than not sleeping...constipation, gas, reflux. There really is a reason they don't recommend cereal this young. The best thing you could do is talk to your pediatrician about what he/she thinks is best for your baby. Have you tried doing something different for naptime like letting her sleep in her swing or bouncy seat? Two out of my four kids had to nap in a swing to sleep at all during the day. Hang in there and it really will get better. Good luck!!

A.

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M.H.

answers from Alexandria on

My doctor told me that I could start feeding my son cereal at 6 months. I was thinking, you aren't the one who has to stay up with him when he's still hungry! but we started at 2 months. just a little bit at a time and your baby will eventually (hopefully sooner than later)become full and not wake up as much. Hope this helps

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B.S.

answers from Hattiesburg on

Hi C.,
Putting cereal in the bottle would predispose your child to allergens from the grain which are the most allergenic food that there is. General consensus concerning asthma and allergies it to wait until a year fo give the baby grains. They are the last food that should be introduced into the diet because of the allergen factor and because they are hardest to digest, contrary to what a pediatrician might tell you. The first food should be fruit, then vegetable, since they are the easiest to digest. If you introduce food too early, you ,may not only have allergy but colic from indigestion also! Your baby is the age that often there is a growth spurt w hich may be the reason for the hunger, or it may be colic from the formula. Supplementing with formula will lessen y our breast milk supply. (supply and demand) If you nurse more your milk supply will catch up with t he demand and your baby will be satisfied and sleep about 2 hours. I suspect she most probably has colic as she should sleep longer than 15-30 minutes. Did she get fussy before or after you started to supplement with cows milk formula? Colic lasts about 3 months and then the length of sleep will become much greater. 11 months is way too early to start solids for the baby's very immature digestive tract. You may begin more problems if you introduce anything other than breast milk which is the preferred food for an infant. It is what God created and you can't beat that! Hope this is helpful. You may contact me at [email protected]____.com if you have further questions.
B. S. RN CCM

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D.L.

answers from Shreveport on

My son had the same problem when he was an infant. Never slept for more than 15 minutes at a time 24/7. He was also a bottomless pit. I started putting rice cereal (1 tsp)in his bottles at 6 weeks. It worked wonders for me. He slept longer and didn't nurse as frequently. Good luck.

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D.R.

answers from Huntsville on

I too had a bottomless pit that napped 25 minutes tops! I started adding a bit of cereal at 8 weeks with my doctors agreement. I know lots of info out there says it will lead to obesity and all kinds of horrible things. My son is now almost six, far from obese and healthy as a horse. Best of luck to you!! My husband used to always tell me to rest when the baby rests. Well, with a few 25 minutes naps by the time you put in a load of laundry or load the dishwasher, etc... Your time for resting is pretty well shot!!
Have a fabulous day and god bless!!

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G.F.

answers from Tulsa on

I started feeding my daughter rice cereal the day I brought her home from the hospital. I bought some baby spoons, mixed up about a teaspoon of the cereal with breast milk and actually fed it to her before she went to bed after I breast fed her. I only gave her a bite, maybe 2 of the Rice cereal and she would usually sleep from 8 until between 2 and 3. If you feel like she isn't getting enough breast milk during the day when you supplement with the formula you may want to give her an extra ounce of the formula or a small quantity of the cereal. It does work. You might also try burping in the middle of her feedings as well as after to make sure that she is full on the food and not a gas bubble. I read some of the responses that you have been given and you need to read them and then decide what you feel is best for your baby. But for the record my mother did this with me and all 5 of my siblings and my grandmother did it with all 3 of her kids and my sister and all 3 of my sisters-in-law did this as well and we have had no health problems.
Congratulations and best of luck
G. C.

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G.B.

answers from Tulsa on

It's too early. Ask a friend or find a local church that has a mothers group to see if you can get some help. Express some milk and have some time to yourself. They could come in and let you rest/clean/shop a few more hours during the day.

I suggest you try a Mothers-Day-Out program too. We found one that we still use and they start taking babies at 6 weeks. You can take them several days a week or just one. We all need time alone to get stuff done.

When we gave K rice in her bottle she screamed all night and was constipated for days. We had to do a baby enema to get it out.

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C.P.

answers from Tulsa on

to be honest with you my son is 4 months old today and i started giving him cereal at6 weeks. he was a bottomless pit too. i gave him cereal for a few days and them he was off for a few days. i didnt want him to get consipated. he sleeps alot better now and i really get things done and get to spend time with my almost 3 year old. he sleeps all night and he takes 3 naps during the day and each nap is about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. he is alot happier now and he seems to be fuller and quieter. good luck to you. hope i helped a lil bit.

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B.C.

answers from Alexandria on

All of the different pediatricians I've had said to wait until the baby is 4 months, but six is better, to introduce rice cereal. All three of my kids ate every 2 hours for the first two months. I completely understand though about feeling like all you do is feed a baby all day. I have a 4 year old, 2 year old, and a 10 week old. I've found that I can read books to the other two while I feed the baby and that keeps them a little happy. I also try to think of games for them to do while I am sitting. I've had them run to a point to see how fast they were. Or have them walk and make noises like certain animals. If your 3 1/2 year old naps definitely take a nap when she does. And if she doesn't just try napping when the baby naps and have "quiet time." I usually put a movie on for my 4 year old and make sure he juice cup is full and that she has a little snack. She will usually let me get a 30min-1 hr nap in on some days.
And I know you didn't ask for cleaning advice, but I would try a baby wrap. You can make one yourself for only a few dollars. (http://www.make-baby-stuff.com/make-a-baby-sling.html) Wearing them is also very easy (http://www.wrapyourbaby.com/pocketwrapcrosscarry.htm and http://www.hugabub.com/flex/tying_the_hugabub/89/1). I used the wrap with my second and I use it with my third. I can get a lot more done when I have my hands free. You can clean or play with your other daughter. I have also found if I just try and clean one room a day I don't feel like the house is a wreck....just very lived in. Good luck!

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W.C.

answers from Oklahoma City on

40 years ago when i had children i put cereal in the bottle the day they came home from the hospital it did not seem to hurt them at all.

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M.S.

answers from Fayetteville on

That sounds all too familiar of when my children were that age. It is normal for your baby to want to eat 24/7 at that age. I too found all I could do was sit & breastfeed. I called a nursing RN at the pediatritian's office and she reassured me that they go through a growth spurt around 10 days old and will want to eat and eat and eat...just feed on demand is what she said. You might want to call a nurse at her Dr.'s office for medical advice or get in touch with Le Leche league in your area. Our ped's office had a nursing hotline for breastfeeding Mom's. See if the Dr.'s office offers anything like it. Good luck, I will say a little prayer for you. I know it can become overwhelming at times. Just hang in there, it gets easier.

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J.S.

answers from Lafayette on

hey C.. I also have a three year old and a 4 month old baby. I also felt like I was nursing all day long! About 3 months my baby started slowing down, so it got easier. I gave my baby a pacifier in between nursing because she wanted to nurse every 1-2 hours! She gained so much weight! My pediatrician said he doesn't usually reccommend it, but to try giving the baby water in between feelings and if she's really hungry, then the water wouldnt satisfy her...I chose not to give the water because I've always heard that you shouldn't give babies water.. I would try a paci, it worked for me. I noticed that my baby started sucking her thumb and it all got easier from there. She sleeps longer periods of time and eats every 3-4 hours except at night.
The fact is, you need to do what works for you. Other older generations of mothers gave their children rice cereal starting at 6 weeks and it didn't hurt any of us. I think the main concern would be over eating or too much weight gain. Doctors usually only reccommend giving the cereal at night. I think it would be ok, you are only 5 weeks away from the suggested age. I know it can be tough sometimes with a new one and an infant, but I'm sure you'll do great! Since we're both have a similar situation, feel free to email me [email protected]____.com to talk or vent! Good luck!

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