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rice cereal and breastfeeding

I've been thinking about starting my baby girl, who will be 4 months on the 9th, on cereal. She's sleeping a lot longer at night (yay!) but I'm concerned she's not getting enough to eat now that she is nursing less often. I will also ask her doc at the 4 month appt, but I was hoping to get some opinions from some other breastfeeding moms. When did you start your breastfed baby on cereal?


Asked by rhianna1708 at 2:32 AM on Apr. 30, 2010 in Babies (0-12 months)

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Answers (12)
  • rice cereal actually has less calories than breast milk, so it wouldn't really be giving her more to eat necessarily. It does give them iron which breastfed babies usually don't get enough of without vitamin supplements. My daughter slept through the night at one month old and has ever since. I never had to give her more food. I started the cereal at 5.5 months. Don't put it in the bottle, spoon feed it.

    Answer by moviemom22 at 11:48 AM on Apr. 30, 2010

  • I think 4 months is the perfect age to start your little one the cereal. That"s when i started my DD on cereal on cereal just a very small amount at a time and your baby will make funny faces at first just keep at it and she will get use to the spoon and taste.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:41 AM on Apr. 30, 2010

  • She doesn't need the rice cereal at 4 months. Rice cereal provides NO nutritional value whatsoever. The only reason people give it to their babies is to get them "ready" for solid food. She is pertectly fine with just breastmilk for the next month or two. She is likely not nursing as much due to teething, or just getting older and not needing to eat every hour or so like she did as a newborn. She knows how much she needs to eat. She will not starve herself. Just keep feeding her on demand and you two will be great.
    Also I have two that were bf and they both didn't start solids until 6months.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:43 AM on Apr. 30, 2010

  • I didn't start any solids until about 7 months. Once I did though she completely lost interest in breastfeeding. I'm not saying that will happen to you or anyone else, just that it's what happened to me.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:52 AM on Apr. 30, 2010

  • Keep in mind that solids fed to babies before they turn 1 are for the experience of eating them, not for nutrition (a subject most doctors know little about).Nutritionists recommend starting solids at 6 months; many now recommend skipping cereal and starting with a bit of avocado mashed with breastmilk (or formula). Then baked sweet potato, oatmeal, pumpkin, pureed peas, etc. Jarred baby food tastes awful, is expensive, and you never really know what is in it. Be sure to avoid the allergy trigger foods. This is not a complete list: before age 1, no soy, dairy, wheat, citrus, egg white, strawberries; before age 2 no honey, chocolate, nuts.
    Two great books /websites on feeding babies, with differing philosophies, Baby Led Weaning and Super Baby Food You should be able to find them at your local library

    Answer by rkoloms at 6:18 AM on Apr. 30, 2010

  • If you want to start her, that's your choice, but keep in mind that rice cereal is filler mostly, and isn't going to fill any nutritional void. Also, just because she's not nursing through the night anymore does NOT mean she's not getting everything she needs from you during the day. Personally, I recommend no sooner then 6 mos for solids, and fruits and veggies rather then cereal.

    Answer by Krysta622 at 8:12 AM on Apr. 30, 2010

  • Krysta622 is right and gave great advice. Rice cereal is not necessary and your baby is getting all she needs from you breast milk as long as you are feeding on demand. Cereal is just a filler and won't provide any of her nutritional needs like your BM will.

    Lately I've been seeing a few questions by women who are only nursing their babies 3 times a day. So, I do want to be sure you're feeding more than that. As long as you're feeding on demand (at this age that is usually every 2-3 hours during the day) and your baby is wetting at least 6 diapers daily, then she is getting what she needs.

    My baby is 4.5 months old and I'm going to hold off for another month before I start rice cereal. But, unlike with my first 2 babies, I now know cereal is just to practice eating off a spoon and not necessary. The first year of life, baby's nutritional needs are met with breast milk.

    Answer by ThrivingMom at 11:00 AM on Apr. 30, 2010

  • Thanks ladies, now I know at least a few more things that I will bring up with her doc! and no worries about cereal in her bottle, she won't take one at all.

    Answer by rhianna1708 at 12:46 PM on Apr. 30, 2010

  • There are lots of benefits to waiting until 6 months and no benefits to staring early. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends EXCLUSIVE breastfeeding for the first 6 months. Chceck out the info and research at Why Delay Solids?

    As long as you are letting her nurse as much as she likes she is geting enough milk!


    Answer by maggiemom2000 at 1:48 PM on Apr. 30, 2010

  • mm, who told you breastfed babies don't get enough iron without supplements, especially at only 4 months old??

    Their iron stores are depleted around 6 months NOT 4, true, but the iron in breast milk and NATURAL FOODS (like squash and meat) is much better absorbed by the body than a supplement or rice cereal is. Actually the iron in supplements and rice cereal actually interferes with the absorption of the iron in breastmilk and food and is not used by the body as efficiently.

    I would NOT start rice cereal at 4 months. Their digestive tract is still the raw gut at this time and this could lead to a host of issues.

    Your baby nursing less just means it isn't growth spurt time. Give her a little time she'll go through another spurt and nurse like crazy again. AND they get VERY efficient at nursing and can take in 4-8 oz in under 5-10 minutes at this age!

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:07 PM on Apr. 30, 2010

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