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Thread: Using Cereal for exclusively breastfed baby

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    West Virginia
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    Question Using Cereal for exclusively breastfed baby

    Hi all. My son will be 12 weeks old this coming Wednesday. I am so proud that I have been able to exclusively breastfeed so far. I am planning on breastfeeding until he weans, my goal being to not ever use formula with him.

    I have a question for you all. My Mother-in-law keeps bringing up putting cereal in a pumped bottle at night. Mind you, she did not exclusively breastfeed - to my horror she told me that she actually fed my husband evaporated milk mixed with karo syrup the whole time because she said it was all he would keep down with his reflux. She justified it by saying she added liquid vitamins to it.

    My son also has reflux issues, but it is not affecting his growth or weight, so we are just rolling with it for now.

    He sleeps fairly well through the night. We usually put him down between 8 and 9. He typically goes 5-6 hours before wanting to eat again, he will eat, then go back to sleep for another 3-4 hours and then be up for the day. The longest he has ever gone is 8 hours.

    It seems to bother her that he eats during the night and keeps pushing the cereal. It does not really bother me too much that he wakes up to eat through the night. My preference would be to NOT use cereal.

    Do you all have any opinions on this? I am not going to do the cereal yet, but my concern is that as he gets older he might start to get up more at night. I do not know if this is the case or not.

    Also, any opinions on how to convince my Mother-in-Law that breast milk alone is sufficient? She asked the other day how long I was going to do it and seemed mortified when I said we wanted to exclusively breastfeed until 5 or 6 months and then continue until he weaned which could be over a year.

    Thank you all in advance!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    5,329

    Default Re: Using Cereal for exclusively breastfed baby

    No, this is NO LONGER recommended for breastfed or formula fed babies. Even if a baby is starting solids 'early,' (not usually a good idea anyway) this is absolutely the wrong way to do it. You don't have to tell your MIL this but rice cereal in a bottle is considered potentially dangerous and very unhealthy. Besides the potential choking hazard, you run the risk of baby filling up on a VERY inferior food, nutritionally, which leads to baby nursing less than baby should, which is how babies end up malnourished and/or slow gaining, and mom loses her milk production.

    The AAP now says no solids AT ALL prior to 6 months. And yes, that includes rice cereal no matter how much it is watered down.

    Sleep: Babies are supposed to wake up and nurse at least a few times overnight. A normal one time sleep stretch for a 3 month old is 5 hours per day (hopefully taken at night) AT THE MOST. Longer sleep stretches are fine is baby is gaining very well on breastmilk alone, but you are asking for trouble encouraging long stretches. It harms milk production. You want baby to be nursing at least 8 times a 24 hour day.

    Reflux is helped by encouraging FREQUENT feedings, allowing baby to be upright most of the time (grandma can get lots of snuggle time this way) and, if needed, with medication.

    Will your MIL come to a LLL meeting with you? Talk to a LLL Leader or IBCLC about her concerns? Read these?

    For grandparents: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...sbreastfed.pdf

    Fussy baby ideas: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...ybabyideas.pdf

    And this one could be helpful to you as well: Tips for breastfeeding to (or past) one year: https://www.llli.org/nb/nbjanfeb06p4.html

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    20,860

    Default Re: Using Cereal for exclusively breastfed baby

    with everything above. Cereal in a bottle = a dangerous and outdated idea.

    If your MIL is being a bit too nosy/pushy when it comes to breastfeeding- and to me, it sounds like she is- now is a good time to draw a line in the sand and make it clear that you're not going to change the way you parent. Otherwise the pushiness never stops. Drawing the line doesn't have to be mean. You can be gentle about it. But the next time your MIL says something like "Are you really planning to nurse for months and months?" (or whatever), you can respond with something like "You know, my nursing relationship with my baby is kind of a private thing. Instead of talking it to death, let's just let it unfold as nature intends."

    One last thing- your baby sounds like a really good sleeper, especially for a kid with reflux issues! Don't be too surprised if he starts waking more than 2x per night. Most babies do start waking more as time goes on- but that doesn't mean it's time for cereal in a bottle. It's just a natural part of babyhood.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
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  4. #4
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    Oct 2009
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    Default Re: Using Cereal for exclusively breastfed baby

    Agree with PPs. Rice cereal or any sort of non-milk/formula in a bottle is a huge choking hazard.

    There is one major place (sorry I can't remember) that says solids 4-6 mos, AAP says after 6 mos, I believe. Either way, 3 mos is too early and it's not your MIL's business. She had her chance with your DH and any other kids. Now it's your turn to raise your child to the best of your knowledge and ability. My MIL asked me how long I was going to nurse DD when she was about a year. I said until she was done and I had no idea how long that would be...I didn't advertise that she was nursing after 2 yrs or 3 yrs but it wasn't MIL's business or problem (it wasn't a problem for me either but people get pretty opinionated about nursing past x months or x years).
    Nursed my sweet daughter 3 years, 3 mos.

  5. #5
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    Apr 2013
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    West Virginia
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    Default Re: Using Cereal for exclusively breastfed baby

    Thank you all. I was actually not aware that AAP had come out against using cereal. VERY good to know and I am VERY glad I have not used any, and do not plan on using any now. I agree that I need to jus be more firm with my MIL.

    My son has done so well so far I really don't want to mess it up! He usually nurses about 8 times per day, which I know is on the low end, however he is gaining weight well and growing well. He currently weighs over 14 lbs (at almost 3 months old). He was 7 lb 10 oz at birth and dropped to 7 lb 1 oz before my milk came in.

    I really appreciate the advice. I think my MIL (and my own mother too) grew up in a different time. They can have their own opinions but the choice is ultimately mine on how to raise my child. I need to just trust myself more - I knew in my gut that cereal was not a good idea. Nice to feel validation that I was right.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    Default Re: Using Cereal for exclusively breastfed baby

    Definitely a lot of old ideas still out there with the grandmas. Even my mom, who is usually pro-BF, told me I should get the baby used to formula in case I ever needed to use it.

    A helpful suggestion I've seen on this board is to just say something like "My pediatrician said no cereal yet" if your MIL is someone who trusts doctors.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Using Cereal for exclusively breastfed baby

    It's hard, because their experience is so different from what is recommended today. Breast feeding and old formula feeding myths simply don't mix. They just want to help but the reality is that their advice can actually be harmful.

    My answer regarding weaning became "When we're both ready, after she's 2." I then made a point of leaving the conversation. If you stay and continue to explain, they tend to think that they still have an opportunity to change your mind. Say it. Short. Sweet. To the point. Walk away. It's not rude. However it also doesn't leave any doubt that you've made up your mind.

    Also make sure that your husband is on board and says the same things you do. Especially saying it to his Mom, in front of you. Seeing you both on the same page, together, tends to further affirm that this has been an educated decision between the two of you.
    Mommy to our DD1 early bird (34 weeks, 2 days, 7lbs, 14oz)! Oct. 2nd, 2008 Emergency C-Section, Frank Breech, HEALTHY Girl!
    Weaned @ 17 months
    Our DD2 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 12oz) Aug. 10th, 2010 Our Successful VBAC, growing like a bad weed!
    Weaned @ 15 months
    Our DD3 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 6oz) Feb. 16th, 2012 Our 2nd VBAC and lightening speedy birth!

    Loving being a Mom of 3, 40 months apart!!
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