Many mothers swear that starting their infants on cereal early by putting it in their bottles helps their infants sleep longer through the night and to be more content. However, putting cereal in an infant’s bottle is dangerous, unwise, and to put it frankly a bad parenting practice.
I should note, that there is one exception. Cereal in a bottle is a good and helpful treatment for reflux. However, if your infant has reflux, then your pediatrician will be monitoring your baby’s intake. Otherwise, cereal in the bottle is a practice that you should stay away from.
#1. You can cause your child’s allergies. . .
While no one agrees completely on what it is that actually causes allergies, we do have enough research to see certain connections. One, very well documented connection to serious allergies is when a baby has been exposed to the allergen too early. Putting cereal in your baby’s bottle, even rice cereal, can cause allergies.
#2. Choking hazard
Some infants do not fully have their swallowing reflex fully developed at birth. Sucking cereal from a bottle can cause a choking hazard. . .and babies have actually died this way. Choking on cereal from a bottle certainly isn’t a common cause of death. . .but why do it when it is linked to something like choking?
#3. Digestive Issues
There is a connection between babies who have solids too early and digestive problems. The fact of the matter is that baby tummies are designed to take in breastmilk. When you can’t breastfeed, there’s formula which mimics breastmilk. Baby tummies are not designed to take in solids, and it’s not surprising that they malfunction when forced to do what they’re not designed to do.
One key factor in obesity is infant feeding. Infants are born with a self regulatory ability to take in only what they need. By feeding on demand and following a baby’s cues, you are essentially helping them form habits of eating when hungry and eating until they feel full. This sets them up for a lifetime of healthy eating habits. But when you add cereal to a bottle, it bypasses their system and essentially they take in more calories than they need.
#5. It Doesn’t Work!!!
There is no scientific evidence to support the notion that baby’s sleep better with cereal in their bottles. The truth is, babies are designed to wake frequently at night. Dealing with sleep deprivation is part of the parenting package.