Many parents have been adding cereal to their babies bottles with the hopes that baby will sleep better through the night or because they feel the baby is not getting enough to eat.
If you've heard the statements, "Add cereal to your babies bottle and he'll sleep for 5 hours" or "If your baby constantly wants to nurse or seems hungry, add cereal to the bottle," know that those are myths and not facts.
Your baby gets enough nutrition from breast milk or formula for the first 6 months of life. In fact, many medical experts agree that introducing cereal before 4 months of age can cause food allergies. Additionally, adding cereal to your babies bottle is a bad idea. Period.
Experts like Dr. Alan Greene, M.D. believe that the sucking and swallowing actions are not fully coordinated in some children, which can lead to pulmonary problems because they can inhale small amounts of rice cereal in their lungs.
What other dangers are there with adding cereal to a babies bottle? For one thing, your child could very well be on the road to obesity. The extra calories in the cereal itself is enough to teach your child to overeat. When your child is at least 4 months of age, it is more suitable to introduce cereal by feeding your baby with a spoon. Not only does this teach them to learn to eat from a spoon, but it also allows them to rest in between and it helps the baby learn the proper way to eat.
Well, what about your mother, and your grandmother, and your sister, and all those people who swear that adding cereal to a babies bottle will help them sleep and stay satisfied longer? Dr. Alan Greene, M.D. states, "I suspect the reason is that kids do fall asleep a bit more quickly, and some babies may even go a bit longer between feedings. There is no scientific evidence, though, to support the claim that cereal in the bottle will help an infant increase total sleep or decrease crying."'
The American Academy of Pediatrics also advises against feeding a baby cereal from a bottle. The only time feeding a baby cereal in a bottle is when your Pediatrician recommends it to help with reflux.
Obesity. Food Allergies. Pulmonary problems. Bad eating habits. Those are all enough reasons to steer away from giving your baby a bottle of cereal. You may be happy you did.