Tag Archives: baby eat solids

Get Your Free e-Book Today!

Should You Feed Your Baby Cereal From A Bottle?

When it comes to feeding a baby, you’ll find that everyone (from your grandmother to your aunt to the stranger on the street) has opinions on how babies should be fed, when babies should be fed, and what babies should be fed.

Some opinions are based in solid, researched evidence (for example, there’s plenty of evidence to indicate that breastfeeding is a healthier option for babies than formula-feeding.) Other opinions, however, will be based less on facts and more on past experience. You may hear a number of people say, “My mom did this with me!” or “My grandmother had 8 children, and she always did this…”

Putting Cereal In Your Baby’s Bottle

For example, you may have friends or family members suggest that you feed your baby cereal in a bottle. People often suggest this to parents whose babies don’t sleep, or whose babies don’t seem to be gaining much weight.

So, is this a good recommendation? Will putting cereal in your baby’s bottle help her sleep well, or eat more, or gain weight?

Is Putting Cereal In Your Baby’s Bottle A Good Idea?

Probably not. There are many risks associated with feeding your young baby (under 6 months) cereal from a bottle. Some of those risks include…

  • Choking. Adding cereal to a bottle thickens the milk. This makes it harder for young babies to swallow, increasing the changes that they’ll “aspirate” (or inhale) the thickened milk and choke on it.
  • Increased food allergies. There’s lots of evidence to suggest that introducing solids to a baby before 4 months of age significantly increases the risk that the baby will develop food allergies. This is because a young baby’s digestive system isn’t mature enough to handle solid foods until 4-6 months of age. We discuss food allergies in more detail in this post; check it out for more information.
  • Habitual overeating.Babies who take cereal from a bottle tend to drink more than babies who drink straight breastmilk or formula. This is the idea behind putting cereal into the bottle in the first place — that baby will take in more food.The problem is that when a baby routinely and consistently takes in large quantities of thickened milk, it can lead to a habit of overeating. And since childhood obesity rates are already problematic (and are on the rise), we definitely don’t want to teach our little ones to overeat from birth!
  • Lower nutrient intake. When parents add cereal to a bottle, they often reduce the amount of breastmilk or formula they put into the bottle (to make room for the added cereal). This is dangerous. For the first 6 months of life, breastmilk and formula provide all the nutrition a baby needs, while cereal provides little nutritional value until after 6 months. So if your baby is taking in less breastmilk and formula, he’s getting less of the vital nutrients he needs.

Will Putting Cereal In Your Baby’s Bottle Help Her Sleep Better?

This is usually the number one reason that parents even consider putting cereal in their baby’s bottle — friends and family members assure them that a little cereal in the bottle will help baby sleep longer and better. And for exhausted, sleep-deprived parents, even a little extra sleep sounds too tempting to pass up!

However, before you go racing to fill your infant’s bottle with rice cereal, you should know something — there’s no evidence that feeding your baby solids (whether by spoon or by bottle) will help her sleep better. That’s because when babies wake at night, they’re not just waking from hunger — they’re waking for a variety of other reasons (like sleep associations.) So adding cereal to your baby’s bottle likely won’t make a difference in her sleep, but it will put her at risk for a variety of complications.

Will Putting Cereal In Your Baby’s Bottle Help With His Reflux?

If your baby struggles with reflux, you may have heard friends and family members suggest adding cereal to his bottle as a way to thicken the milk and help it say down. Is this a good idea? Does it work?

The reviews on this are mixed. Some pediatricians actually recommend this to parents, and many parents claim that mixing cereal into their babies’ bottles reduces spitting up. However, other pediatricians caution that while adding cereal might reduce episodes of spitting up, it doesn’t actually cure the reflux. Others advocate for using a special reflux formula.

The bottom line: if your baby suffers from reflux, check with your pediatrician before making any changes to his diet.

Our Recommendation

Here’s our advice, for all parents: don’t add cereal to your baby’s bottle unless your doctor has advised you to. There are far too many risks associated with feeding your baby cereal from a bottle, and there are no actual benefits. Instead, stick with feeding your infant breastmilk and/or formula, and hold off on offering solids until close to 6 months of age.

Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!

thumbnailWhat if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid-foods mistakes, and a weekly mean plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!

What are your thoughts on feeding a baby cereal from a bottle? Share them below!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Should You Feed Your Baby Cereal From A Bottle?
Get Your Free e-Book Today!

How To Feed Your Baby Solids

At this point in our article series, we’ve laid a good foundation for starting your baby on solids.  We’ve learned when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, and how your baby may react after starting to eat solid foods.  But, wait, how do you physically feed your baby solids and at what time of day?

How to Feed Your Baby:  When Should Meals Happen?

Some parents find themselves wondering when solid feedings should happen — first thing in the morning?  Before bed?  Three times a day?  In the first week or so of starting solids, it’s probably best to start off with one or two “meals” of solid foods each day.  And keep in mind that it’s best to feed your baby when she’s well-rested — that’ll ensure she has the energy to tackle this challenge!  Finally, avoid trying to feed your baby solids when she’s very hungry; as the video mentioned, she probably won’t have the patience!  Instead, nurse your baby first (or offer her a bottle); then, when she’s had her fill of milk, offer her a few spoonfuls of solid food.

How to Feed Your Baby:  Getting Situated

The first step to feeding your baby is to get her comfortably seated.  You may opt to place your baby in a highchair for feeding time, but as you probably noticed while watching the video, that’s not your only option.  You may want to place your baby in her Bouncy Seat or another type of infant seat (just be sure not to set your baby on a table or counter while in their seat), or you may find it easiest to have someone else hold her on their lap while you feed her.  Ultimately, do whatever makes you and your baby most comfortable.

How to Feed Your Baby:  The Right Equipment

Having the right tools for feeding is essential.  It’s best to use a small, flat, plastic (or rubber-tipped) spoon so that your baby can easily suck food from it.  And plastic bowls are best to start with; there’s always a chance your munchkin will get his hands on it!  Remember, if you choose plastic utensils and dishes, make sure they’re BPA-free.)  Finally, it’s necessary to have plenty of bibs (and consider water-proof ones) on hand, as they’re going to get dirty fast!

How to Feed Your Baby:  Quantities and Kinds of Food

In these early days of starting solids, you’ll probably feel like your baby is hardly eating anything.  Don’t worry — that’s normal!  Start off small — offer 1 tablespoon of food at each meal, and then gradually increase the quantities as your baby becomes used to solids.

As for the types of foods to offer your baby in the beginning, you can refer to our “How To Introduce Solid Foods To Your Baby” article, or our Solid Foods Charts for tips on what kinds of foods are best to begin.

“Sweet” foods (like carrots, sweet potatoes, fruits, etc.) are good first foods, since they mimic the sweet taste of breastmilk.  And infant cereal mixed with breastmilk or formula can be good to start with as well.

Whatever foods you introduce first, remember that their texture should be thin and perfectly smooth, so that baby is able to easily swallow them.  Down the road, you’ll be able to introduce lumpy, mashed foods, and eventually, small pieces of finger good!  But for now, stick to runny purees.

Remember to introduce foods one at a time and to allow at least a few days to pass before introducing a new food.  This will help you monitor for food allergies; it’ll also help your baby get accustomed to the taste of each food before you start mixing them together in the later months.  Finally, make it a priority to introduce a variety of foods to your baby.  This may help produce a less-picky eater in the months to come!  And remember — just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean your baby won’t like it!  Personally, I’m not a fan of pureed prunes, but my daughter loved them when she was 7 and 8 months old.

How to Feed Your Baby:  Have Fun!!

It’s appropriate to end with that reminder, don’t you think?  It can be easy to get lost in the details and questions about starting your baby on solids, but remember to stop and enjoy this process.  This is one of the first of many milestones you and your baby will share, so snap a few pictures!  These first few meals of solid foods will be precious memories in the years to come.

Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!

thumbnailWhat if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid-foods mistakes, and a weekly mean plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!

Have any tried-and true tips for how to feed a baby solid foods?  Share them here!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments
Get Your Free e-Book Today!

How Your Baby May React To Starting Solids

If you’ve been following our article series so far, you know the guidelines for when and how to start solid foods with your baby.  And if you’ve put our advice into practice, your baby may now be eating small amounts of solid food.  If that’s the case — congratulations!  We’re hoping your baby loves this newfound way of eating 🙂

But some of you may be shaking your head right now and thinking to yourselves, “Love it?  He HATES it!”  Or your baby may have started showing some strange (or even alarming) physical symptoms now that she’s eating solid foods.  Is this normal?  Is it fixable?  Don’t worry — if your baby isn’t reacting well to solids, we can help you determine what to do next.

Reacting to Solids:  Love Them or Hate Them?

Obviously, every mom hopes her baby enjoys eating solid food and can’t wait to gobble up a little dish of cereal at mealtime!  It makes the introduction to solids so much easier and babies who really enjoy solids early on will typically “learn” how to eat more quickly than babies who prefer to take their time.

A word of caution, though — you may find your baby loves solids too much!  If you find him clamoring to eat cereal off a spoon but refusing to nurse or take formula, try cutting back on solids in order to encourage more nursing or formula-feeding.  You might also want to consider offering breastmilk or formula first (when he’s good and hungry), before you offer solids.  Remember, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that breastmilk or formula be your baby’s primary source of nutrition for the first year.

Of course, plenty of children don’t love solids; in fact, some hate them!  Some moms find their babies refuse solids altogether, clamping their little mouths shut at the mere sight of a spoon, or spitting out every bite of food that enters their mouths.  This makes introducing solids hard, of course.  But there are steps you can take to try and foster a love of solid foods in your little one:

  • Try different foods.
  • Encourage him to do it himself.
  • Give up (for a few weeks, that is!) and try again later.

Reacting to Solids:  The Poop May Change!

Introducing baby to solids often means big changes in her poop.  Feed her pureed carrots for dinner, and she’ll likely have a bright orange poop the next day!  And finger-foods that are rich in fiber (like raisins, or beans) may pass right through her system and look the same coming out as they did going in.

Baby’s poop may look different after starting solids; it may also stop altogether.  Constipation is a common problem after introducing solids.  After all, your baby’s only ever had breastmilk or formula; introducing new foods is bound to be hard on his little system!  You may notice that your baby’s poop becomes drier and more compact, or that he stops pooping altogether.  He may also grimace and draw his legs up when pooping, and he’ll probably seem crankier and fussier than normal. If you notice these signs of constipation, try the following to get your baby pooping normally again:

  • Offer more fiber-rich foods:  Think pureed prunes!  Peaches, apricots, pears, and beans are also good choices.
  • Avoid “binding” foods:  Avoid bananas, rice, and dairy products, as these can make constipation even worse.
  • Offer more fluids:  Offer the breast or bottle more frequently, and try to increase the ounces of fluid your baby drinks.  You could also offer a few ounces of water or diluted apple juice (although only do this if your baby is getting plenty of breastmilk or formula).

Reacting to Solids:  Watching For Allergic Reactions

Of course, poop isn’t necessarily the only thing to change when solids are introduced.  You may notice signs of an allergic reaction after introducing a new food to your baby.  Remember that as you begin introducing solids to your baby, it’s important to introduce one food at a time, and to wait at least 4 days before introducing a new food.  This way, if she develops an allergic reaction, you’ll be able to pinpoint the food that caused it.

Keep an eye out for these signs of food allergy:

  • Hives
  • Flushed skin or rash
  • Vomiting or diarrhea (call 911 if severe)
  • Swelling (call 911 if severe)
  • Difficulty breathing (call 911)
  • Loss of consciousness (call 911)

If you suspect that your baby has a food allergy, consult a healthcare provider.  He or she will be able to order the necessary blood test to determine what the exact nature of your baby’s allergy.

Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!

thumbnailWhat if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid-foods mistakes, and a weekly mean plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!

How did your baby react to solids at first?  Any tips to offer?  Share them here!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments