rice cereal — The Bump
D.C. Area Babies

rice cereal

Our pediatrician recommended mixing a little bit of rice cereal in the bottle with pumped breast milk to thicken it up a bit to help Warner not spit up as much. I haven't done it yet basically because I haven't had time to go to the store since that end of last week when we had our 1 month appointment.

And I know the doctor recommended it and I do trust her, but I'm still apprehensive about giving him anything but breastmilk. Has anyone else done this? Did it actually help with the spitting up?

Re: rice cereal

  • I think there are other products you can add to breastmilk to make it thicker other than rice cereal. Simply Thick? A blogger I read whose son had really bad reflux/aspiration problems used it. I think she also used rice cereal, but her baby was older (7-8 months).
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  • We just got this rec from the doc today, but Molly is showing reflux signs like Maggie had - fussiness while eating, crying while eating, back arching, in addition to excessive spit up (pretty much just like your old post I saw).  So we also got a prescription for Zantac to try if the cereal addition doesn't help.

    It didn't help Maggie's reflux to add the cereal but she also didn't have this excessive spit up problem like Molly has.  She is bringing back up at least half her meal once a day - doesn't matter if it is from the bottle or the breast either.

  • image tracy042206:

    We just got this rec from the doc today, but Molly is showing reflux signs like Maggie had - fussiness while eating, crying while eating, back arching, in addition to excessive spit up (pretty much just like your old post I saw).  So we also got a prescription for Zantac to try if the cereal addition doesn't help.

    It didn't help Maggie's reflux to add the cereal but she also didn't have this excessive spit up problem like Molly has.  She is bringing back up at least half her meal once a day - doesn't matter if it is from the bottle or the breast either.

    Warner never cries while eating--he looooves eating--and I haven't noticed him arching his back. But he does spit up a lot afterwards and sometimes he's fussy before and after he spits up and sometimes he's not. It's so frustrating because everything that DH and I have tried (that the doctor or friends/family have recommended) doesn't work, there's just no rhyme or reason. And like you, it doesn't matter if it's breast or bottle, in fact, I think it's worse after breastfeeding because I think he eats way too much (he's quite the little piggy). 

    So since the one thing we haven't tried is the rice cereal, I guess I'll give it a shot. I'm glad to hear that someone else's doctor recommended it, it just sounded kind of out in left field compared to what I've read.

  • I have, though we currently use Enfamil AR (which has rice starch added).  It does help IMO, but rice cereal clumps more than the Enfamil AR (I also think the AR works a little better because it expands when in their stomach).  Also, you will likely need a bigger sized nipple because the formula gets thick enough.  With the rice cereal, you will want to stick with the dr. recommendation for the amount (I think it's usually a teaspoon per 4-6 oz. bottle?  Can't remember for sure though so don't trust me on that).  I mention this because I remember another person on this board having problems with the baby choking when they added more.  IIRC it was so bad her H had to perform the heimlich or CPR on the baby.

    Another thing, it may make the baby constipated.  If that happens, the ped. will probably let you add some prune juice (I think 1-4 tsp per day total is normal).  The Enfamil AR alone makes my son constipated like you wouldn't believe, so we give him 2 parts AR to 1 part regular formula, plus 4 tsp prune juice (the whole day is prepped in the am in a pitcher).  GL!

  • Our doctor suggested this at DD's 6 month check up and we haven't noticed a difference, if anything she's spitting up more.  I can maybe see where it might help with a younger baby but at her age she's already eating solid foods so she gets cereal mixed with breast milk anyway.

    How much did the doc tell you to use?  Ours said 1 tablespoon per ounce but when she's drinking 5 oz bottles that's ridiculously thick.  We're going to see a different doctor in the practice to get a second opinion.  

  • Our ped mentioned the same thing yesterday. Chase has been spitting up more lately and randomly making gagging sounds, even inbetween feedings. He seems miserable during and after eating, screaming, arching, pulling legs up, etc. She said he's classic acid reflux and she listed the basic stuff we could do to help him - elevate head after eating, burp in the middle of feeding, etc. We're already doing that stuff, so we're going to watch him for another week or so and then look at Zantac/rice cereal. I'm just not sure how much longer I can listen to him scream! It's so heartbreaking to know they are miserable and in pain and not be able to help them at all...

    You're not alone! I was surprised by the mention of the rice cereal too, but I guess if it makes him feel better I'll do it. I'll let you know what we end up doing. I guess luckily we're already pumping so it won't be that big of an adjustment to add a teaspoon to the bottle - it would be harder to transition from BFing if you'd never pumped before. If you find a magic cure let me know!

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  • My DD had the same symptoms as your son, but she spit up a lot after every feeding.  During the worst of it she was going through 3-4 outfits per day and 6-8 bibs.  It was pretty bad.  For us, rice cereal did nothing but constipate her.  I stopped after a few days because it didn't help and I really thought she was too young to have cereal (she was the same age as your son).  What did help was me going off of dairy and soy (it took a month to notice a difference) and putting her first on Zantac and finally on Prevacid.  We found out about the food intolerances when she spit up her entire feeding three times in a row and we ended up in the ER at our ped's suggestion.  It was after hours and they were worried about dehydration since she was only 5 weeks old.  At the ER they found occult blood in her stool and after ruling out structural issues they finally decided it was a food intolerance.  She is 8.5 months old now and she stopped spitting up about a month ago. We tried weaning her from the Prevacid when the spitting up got better, but she stopped sleeping through the night and we think that now her reflux is just 'silent' -- she still has the acid reflux, but just doesn't spit up (probably due to the solids). I'm still dairy/soy-free (obvious and hidden).
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