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Cereal Rarely Belongs In Baby Bottles

Photograph by Twenty20

Dear Dr. Tanya,

I've heard putting rice cereal in my baby's bottle will help her sleep through the night. Do you recommend this? When should I start?

Dear Reader,

Please don't. Unless your pediatrician recommends it for reflux (severe spitting up or vomiting), it's actually best not to put rice cereal or any other food in a bottle. Bottles are for breast milk, formula and water. Spoons are for cereals and other foods.

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Adding rice cereal to your baby's bottle won't help her sleep through the night, but it will increase the calories that she is drinking and potentially contribute to obesity later on in life. The best way to ensure your baby sleeps is to keep a consistent bedtime routine and, as she gets older, let her learn how to self-soothe and put herself back to sleep when she wakes up at night.

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Pediatrician and consultant Dr. Tanya Altmann is the author of four books on raising kids, most recently "What to Feed Your Baby: A pediatrician's guide for raising a veggie-loving, healthy-eating baby." Leave your food challenges and questions for Dr. Altmann in the comments below or on the Mom.me Facebook page.

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