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If you are first-time parents, you may struggle with proper sleep for a few months after your baby’s birth or until you get used to your baby’s sleeping pattern. However, you may come across people recommending various ways to induce better sleep to your baby at night, and one of the suggestions may be adding rice cereal to your baby’s formula milk. Is it true? Is adding rice cereal to your baby’s bottle a safe option? Here’s what you need to know about adding rice cereal to your baby’s bottle.
Can You Add Rice Cereal to Your Baby’s Bottle
You may wonder if you can safely add rice cereal to your baby’s bottle. The answer may not be that simple because, sometimes, doctors may recommend adding rice cereal to the baby’s bottle due to various reasons, and some may not recommend doing so. Though many people swear by this practice, there is no proof available. It is important to understand that hunger and sleep in babies have very little connection. This is because even if the baby is well-fed, he may get up at night to feed or just to feel the presence of the parents. Whatever the reason may be, babies, unlike adults, have immature nervous systems, which do not understand the concept of sleeping at a stretch or to sleep for five or more hours. Therefore, in other words, until the time babies develop a fully matured nervous system, it may be too much to expect in terms of longer sleeping hours even if a baby is well-fed.
When and How to Introduce Rice Cereal to Infants
Most doctors do not recommend adding rice cereal to your baby’s diet until your baby may be six months or older. Also, you should not add rice cereal until or unless advised by a doctor to do so.
1. When Your Baby Can Consume Rice Cereal
You may be tempted to give a lick or a morsel of food to your baby, thinking that it may not cause much harm to him. However, the reality is, it may cause great harm to your baby if you introduce any solids to them before they are six months old. This is because babies have immature digestive systems and giving them solid food may trigger various kinds of allergies and other health ailments. Thus, you may give solid food only after six months of age.
2. How to Introduce Rice Cereal to Infants
You may give rice cereal to your baby in formula milk or breast milk only after he turns six months of age to give him the hang of solid foods. You may want to begin slowly by adding a teaspoon of rice cereal, and then, gradually introducing solid foods to your baby. However, avoid using the bottle to feed rice cereal to your baby; you should feed your baby with a spoon instead.
3. Precautionary Measures to Take
If you are wondering, ‘when can I start putting cereal in my baby’s bottle?’, the answer is that feeding rice cereal from a bottle is not recommended, until or unless you have been advised by your doctor. Also, whenever you introduce any kind of solid food to your baby, take it slow, which means to introduce one cereal at a time and also look for any signs of diarrhoea, vomiting or coughing, as these could be the possible signs of an allergic reaction.
Health Issues of Adding Rice Cereal in Bottle of Your Baby
Here are some health hazards that may occur by adding rice cereal to your baby’s diet:
|1. Allergic Reaction|
Rice cereal is high in starch and calories and including this in your baby’s diet may increase the chances of obesity later in your baby’s life.
Rice cereal has a thicker consistency in comparison to milk, and thus, feeding rice cereal in bottles is a choking hazard in babies. Also, babies may get confused when you fed them milk and semi-solid food from the bottle, which can make introducing solids foods a greater task in the later stages.
|4. Digestion Problem||
Babies do not have a strong digestive system to support solid foods before six months of age. Thus, if you introduce rice cereal to your baby before that, it increases your baby risk of having digestion problems later in life.
Will Rice Cereal Help Your Baby Sleep Longer?
Studies have indicated that there is no connection between feeding rice cereal and longer sleeping hours in babies. What may happen is, after you feed cereal in a baby bottle to help sleep, it may only lead to a satiated baby who may sleep for half an hour more than usual, but certainly not for longer durations.
Alternatives to Rice Cereal
There is no denying that sleep is very important for a baby and parents. Here are some alternatives to rice cereals that you may try to induce better sleep for your baby:
1. The Bedtime Routine
Though this may seem a bit far-fetched initially, creating a schedule or a routine helps. You may want to settle your baby to bed almost at the same time every night. Also, put your baby to sleep early and try and get sleep whenever your munchkin sleeps.
2. Warm-Water Bath
Try giving your baby a warm water bath before bedtime. Warm water baths are a great way to relax and soothe a baby, which means better and more hours of uninterrupted sleep.
3. Keep the Room Dark
Most people feel that their baby will get scared sleeping in complete darkness, and choose to leave the curtains open during daytime or a bright lamp on in the dark. However, light can actually disrupt sleep in many cases. You can opt to leave a nightlight on if your baby is afraid of the dark, so he can sleep peacefully, but still see familiar surroundings if he wakes up. This will allow him to self-soothe and go back to sleep.
4. Keep the Baby Comfortable
An extremely hot or cold room can cause your baby to wake up in the middle of the night or have disturbed sleep. Make sure the room is cool enough to cover your baby with a thin blanket. You can also keep the fan on, so the gentle breeze will make your baby sleep. Also, change your baby’s diaper before bedtime, so he does not feel comfortable due to any wetness. Dress your child in soft, breathable, cotton clothes as well. Making your little one feel comfortable during bedtime is conducive to good sleep.
Whenever you may come across something that may guarantee you uninterrupted sleep, you may feel tempted to try it. However, as far as feeding rice cereal from a bottle is concerned, do not do so without consulting your paediatrician.