“Will putting cereal in my baby’s bottle help him sleep better?”
We hear that all the time. I know it’s an old wives’ tale. Your grandmother probably told you, “Oh, put cereal in the breast milk or the formula, and this baby will sleep all night.” The truth is that is not true.
You want to be very careful and cautious about when you introduce solids to your baby.
I know it’s so tempting when you’ve got a three or four-month-old baby who is up every hour, hour and a half throughout the night, and you’re thinking, “What can I do?”
You’re thinking, “Is there anything I can do to help this baby sleep well?” Food is not the problem unless, you’ve got a baby who’s been struggling with weight and has any kind of health issues. Then, yes, food might be the issue. They’re waking through the night and look for food, because they truly need it.
For any healthy baby who’s gained weight well, food is not the problem. You need to look at how this baby falls asleep initially.
Most of the time it’s that they’re rocked to sleep, they’re feed to sleep, they’re bounced to sleep. So now they have associated the rocking, and the feeding, and the bouncing with sleep.
Therefore, an hour and a half, two hours into their night they’re going to have a wake-up. That is normal and natural. There’s no way around that.
Everybody has wake-ups through the night. However, if they’re used to being fed, bounced, rocked, you name it at bed time, then they’re going to wake through the night looking for that again.
For example feeding… that is hands down the number one reason why baby’s waking through the night - because of the association between the feeding and the sleep, not the food. That gets confusing. I get it.
You think your baby’s waking up from hunger, but really it’s the strategy that that baby’s using to get himself to sleep every night. It’s nice that he gets food with it. That’s a little bonus, and I’m sure he appreciates it, but it’s more the strategy.
Before you run to the store, buy yourself some cereal and give that a try, I want you to stop yourself and have a good look at how does this baby fall asleep at night? That is the first place you need to start to teach him to sleep well and through the night.
And of course - if you need help teaching your baby to fall asleep without rocking, feeding or bouncing (or anything else for that matter!) please don't hesitate to contact us!
Kelsey & Natasha