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The Great Controversy: Rice cereal. Should you add it to baby's bottle?
Don't Google it. Save yourself. I Google'd this great controversy and I read every opinion on every message board and every article from this pediatrician or that one. Just don't do it. It's overwhelming and ridiculous and I am about to save you hours and hours by summarizing the internet.
At eight weeks, I decided to stop breastfeeding after a lovely bout of mastitis (it really does blow. I would rank all time worst illnesses I would wish on people starting with 1. Lyme disease 2. mastitis 3. stomach bug. Yes, it's that bad.) Once the babies were strictly on formula I knew I would be able to keep track of how much they were eating. At 8 weeks, they were eating 3-4 ounces every 2-3 hours. They were still getting up multiple times a night to feed even though they had doubled their birth weights and were getting enough calories during the day. What's a tired momma to do at that point?
Several people had suggested putting Gerber rice cereal in their bottles at night to help keep their tummies full. As usual, before making any decisions, I have this obsessive need to Google (everything!) and use multiple sources to make an informed decision of my own.
Pros and Cons of using rice (or oatmeal) cereal in bottles:
- It may not have any effect at all. You and your baby may not notice anything.
- It may not help them sleep through the night although, in our experience, I believe it did help stretch their feedings. Read: slightly more uninterrupted sleep for a tired mom.
- Some articles say that you're teaching them unhealthy eating habits for later down the road and they WILL BECOME OBESE because of this. (What?!?)
- Some refuse because the pediatrician didn't tell you to do it. Fair enough. But I know our pediatrician is very by the book and scripted. It's like talking to a machine. Insert question, receive computerized answer.
- They could choke/aspirate due to the thickness of the liquid or the size of hole in the nipple allowing milk to get through too quickly. This is the only con that I found but can be avoided using [not so] common sense.
- It CAN (and in our experience, does) keep their tummies full longer, it really does.
- It helps them learn different textures, consistencies, and even flavors.
- Your baby is getting the same nutritional benefits (cereals are fortified) but with fewer feedings and more sleep in between. Think about it this way. The rice cereals are fortified with vitamins, nutrients, iron, etc. If your baby drinks a 4 ounce bottle at bed time and you add a scoop of rice cereal to it, you are adding calories, yes. But you are also extending the amount of time between feedings, which balances it out.
- It is one of the treatments/recommendations for babies with reflux. So a minor case is usually treated by adding rice cereal to the bottle (weighing down the milk) to make it stay in the stomach. In essence, this is what the "special" acid reflux formulas are.
|Starting solids, like a boss!|
I am not a pediatrician, just a mom trying to figure out what works best for her family. These are my experiences and I hope that I can help out some new moms trying to figure out the world of babies!
Leave me a comment with your experiences!