When Gracie turned three months old, we started putting a little cereal into her bottles during the day. We did this with Bean to help him sleep through the night, but for Gracie it was to help with her reflux. She spits up so much that we put her on soy formula at the suggestion of her doctor. That formula is thicker and is supposed to stay down a little more. But the soy tore up Gracie’s tummy.
After trying it for a couple weeks, we went back to regular formula instead of the soy and started adding a little cereal to the bottle to thicken it up. We also cut her bottles back from 6 ounces to 4 ounces. We had to feed her more often, but the combination of smaller feedings and thicker bottles worked perfectly. She stopped spitting up so much and her digestive system went back to normal.
At four months old, we started giving Gracie cereal from a spoon. She took it like she’d been eating with utensils for years. Bean always had that darn tongue thrust that made feeding him a messy, frustrating ordeal. But Gracie instinctively knew what to do. After a week of just plain cereal, I started adding baby food to her routine. I remember with Bean I was so lost and worried about feeding him cereal and baby food. I was afraid I’d make the cereal wrong or that I’d mess up the order of the baby food I introduced to him. This time around, I’m much more laid back, but I thought I’d still document what and how we’re feeding her for any first-timers out there who are like me and need a step-by-step manual.
There are a lot of different methods and ideas for introducing your baby to solid foods, but Chris and I always default to whatever our pediatrician recommends and I strongly suggest you do the same. Pediatricians are great resources not just on healthy habits, but on practical ways to do things (like feeding your baby), so just ask if you have questions. Another great resource for advice and suggestions on feedings are your childcare providers, if you have them. They not only know your baby, but have fed lots of other babies, too. I always ask our daycare teachers what they recommend when starting a new feeding routine.
Gracie gets cereal and baby food twice a day (in addition to the 1/2 spoonful of cereal in each of her bottles to thicken it). We try to space them out so that they fill her up at optimal times. Here is her current feeding schedule:
7:00am – Wake up, 6 ounce bottle (bigger bottle because she hasn’t eaten all night)
9:00 – Cereal and fruit
10:00 – 4 ounce bottle
12:30 – 4 ounce bottle
3:00 – 4 ounce bottle
3:30 – Cereal and veggie
6:30 – 6 ounce bottle before bed
When she eats cereal and baby food, I start by putting one scoop of rice cereal into a bowl. I use a scooper from an old formula can just so we’re consistent with measurements.
(Side note: I keep her cereal in a Tupperware container because I like it to be airtight. Plus, it’s a lot easier to dip into it in the container than try to pour it from that little spout, which I always end up spilling…)
Once the cereal is in the bowl, I add a little bit of formula from a bottle.
You hear a lot that you shouldn’t make the formula too thick because you don’t want the baby to choke, but I make mine a little on the thick side for two reasons. First, it seems easier for Gracie to gum it when she can feel it. If it’s too runny, it just dribbles out of her mouth. Secondly, I keep it pretty thick because I add baby food to it and that adds more liquid and thins it out some. I’d suggest trying several different consistencies and seeing what your baby prefers.
Then, I add 1/2 a small container of baby food to the cereal. I mix them together because the cereal tastes pretty bad on it’s own and because the cereal gives the baby food a thicker consistency that seems easier for Gracie to eat.
Mix it all up good. When it’s done, it looks like the consistence of cream of wheat.
When feeding Gracie, I sit her in her Bumbo, but you can also put them in a bouncer seat or non-moving swing. Gracie sits on our kitchen table and eats during Bean’s two snacks (morning snack and afternoon snack), so we’re all sitting together. She likes to be part of the crowd. Also, I find using paper towels to clean her as she eats to be neater than using a burp cloth. When the baby food gets on the burp cloth, I end up accidentally dragging it across everything, getting baby food everywhere. With the paper towel, I just fold it over and wipe, fold it over and wipe, fold it over and wipe, and then throw it away. It seems to make clean up easier for me.
I put just enough in each spoonful that she can gum it, but not a whole spoonful. Otherwise, it’s too much and she just spits it out. She takes a little bit at a time and eats the whole darn bowl!
It’s a little messy, but Gracie loves it!
Every baby eats differently at different times, but this is what works for Gracie Girl. With her reflux, eating has never been a pleasant experience for her, even on good days. But she has taken to cereal and baby food like a champ. She laughs and coos all through her meals and it is really helping to keep her bottles down, too.
I can’t believe how fast Gracie is growing. Rolling over, cereal, baby food… SLOW DOWN, PUFFALUMP! YOU’RE MAKING MY WOMB ACHE, KID!