To Add Rice Cereal or Not... That is the Question!

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Guys… I had a fantastic question this week from a client. One that I get often and one that I thought we can shed some light on. 

“Everyone’s telling me to feed my baby rice cereal before bedtime to help my little guy sleep through the night. Should I do this?”

Oh, the rice cereal debate. (There’s always a debate about the “right” thing to do!) If you tried this and it worked for you, then great! But more often than not, there are other things we need to work on to get sleep together and have the best chance at success before considering rice cereal as an add-on. In fact, I have never even recommended adding rice cereal. But to each their own – of course you can! 

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HERE’S WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY:

Instead of speculating, I went to the source. The fantastic pediatricians over at Beverly Hills Pediatrics and asked them if adding rice cereal to a baby’s bottle will help with sleeping. 

Here’s what they said:

“Do not add rice cereal to increase sleep as it will not change in anyway the baby sleeping from 3 hours to 10 hours, but sleep training will.” - Dr. Scott Cohen, MD, FAAP (author of Eat Sleep Poop)

AND…

“When it's time to eat solids - it should be with a bowl and spoon or finger foods (if stronger kiddo). 

And, I generally tell folks to avoid rice cereal when doing solids because it is nutritionally poor and overly processed. I encourage parents to do real foods right from the start. - Dr. Inessa Grinberg, MD, PhD, FAAP

I couldn’t agree more! Straight from the sources.

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WANT MORE EVIDENCE?

I got crafty and looked up research on this topic and found no evidence for adding rice cereal to prolong sleep. The authors studied whether feeding infants rice cereal before bedtime promotes sleeping through the night.

They compared babies sleeping patterns who had rice cereal before bed and those that had none among babies 5 weeks and 4 months of age. Sleeping through the night was defined as sleeping at least 8 consecutive hours, with the majority of time being between the hours of midnight and 6 AM. There was no trend or tendency for one group to have higher sleep than another. Thus, we have our adding rice cereal to the bottle to help with sleep as a myth!

So, at the end of the day if your little one is not sleeping well, and you’ve tried the rice cereal thing, maybe we just need to adjust a few things to get you on a path of setting a healthy sleep foundation.

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one last thing…

If you need a little extra guidance in figuring out feedings with your little one and how they coincide with sleep, I’ve got ya! Go here to schedule a FREE 15-minute call with me, and we can chat about it!

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Oh, one more thing!

Every other week I share my newsletter — The Healthy Little Note — where you can get this directly in your in box plus other great curated content to help you and your little can get the most out of their first 5 years of life.

If you have little ones, I’m sure you’ll love it!

You can check out the most recent issue here.

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Susie Menkes, PhD is a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant through the Family Sleep Institute (FSI) and is dedicated to helping families get their little ones to be healthy little sleepers. She serves on the Medical Board for What’s Up Moms (the #1 Parenting You Tube Channel) and has a sleep talk series at Beverly Hills Pediatrics and Hatch Collection in Brentwood.. As a mom of two, she knows and understands what you are going through and is here to support, educate, and guide you on all matters related to sleep... and more!

Susie Menkes, PhD is a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant through the Family Sleep Institute (FSI) and is dedicated to helping families get their little ones to be healthy little sleepers. She serves on the Medical Board for What’s Up Moms (the #1 Parenting You Tube Channel) and has a sleep talk series at Beverly Hills Pediatrics and Hatch Collection in Brentwood.. As a mom of two, she knows and understands what you are going through and is here to support, educate, and guide you on all matters related to sleep... and more!