Rice cereal is the first solid that is introduced to your baby. It is recommended for babies 4-6 months of age. However, some babies do not seem to be satisfied with just a bottle or do not seem to sleep long enough in the night. Some parents have put rice cereal in their baby's formula bottle as early as six weeks old. While these parents swear by the supplement, it is not in your baby's best interest to follow this advice.
Your baby knows when they are full. That is why there are feedings in which they consume everything and other times they do not finish every ounce. The addition of rice cereal in the formula bottle can actually throw off their feelings of fullness. Over time this can lead to overeating.
Babies are developing their skills in feeding and swallowing from day one, and it is still a work in progress for the next few months. There will be times in which your baby will have coughing fits during feedings. This is due to aspiration, or when something accidentally gets into their airways or lungs. If your baby already has trouble swallowing normally, you do not want to exacerbate the issue and risk getting rice cereal in your baby's lungs.
Even though it is recommended, it does not mean that it will actually work. In fact, a study on infant sleep and bedtime cereal published in the American Journal of Diseases of Children found that there was not much of a difference between children who had cereal before bed and those who did not.
If you want to introduce your baby to rice cereal, wait until they show signs of being ready for solids. This includes head control, interest in food and how others eat, and little to no tongue-thrust reflex. Rice cereal is a great new food that is best served from a bowl with an infant spoon, not with formula in a bottle.
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