*This post contains affiliate links, but all opinions are 100% mine!*
While there is plenty of parenting topics we can argue about, one thing that I’m certain all mom’s can agree on is how hard breastfeeding can be, especially during those early weeks.
For me, it seemed like I was pretty much nursing around the clock for the first few weeks, which I know is normal. I always tell people that God designed babies to nurse often in the beginning to establish a good supply for down the road. Still, this doesn’t make the constant need from your newborn any easier.
As I continued through the months it got a bit easier and weight gain for my little one continued to be outstanding. Then, as we approached four months it was as if she was no longer satisfied and began to eat much more frequently. I decided to begin giving her Rice Cereal.
Now, I know there are many pros and cons regarding baby cereal. And for that reason, I didn’t give my first baby cereal at all. After seeing the difference with Andie though, I wish I would have. Almost as soon as she began getting cereal, she started showing signs of being stronger and developing super fast. While Allie Beth sat up at just over five months (still super early), Andie sat up at just four months old. I definitely think the added vitamins from cereal contributed to this.
I also noticed she was staying full a bit longer and was able to replace one feeding per day with cereal. One feeding doesn’t seem like much, but it really saved my sanity as a mom of two.
So, here’s what I found worked best for us:
I mixed the cereal with breast milk in a bowl. I wanted it thick enough to spoon feed, but thin enough for her to take it well. As she got older I was able to gradually go a little thicker with the consistency. The directions on the cereal recommend 5 parts milk to one part cereal.
I chose to spoon feed so that she would begin to have a feel for a spoon as I knew she would soon add puréed vegetables into her diet. I also read from a few sources that adding it to a bottle increased risks of choking.
For a while after starting cereal, I would pump to replace that feeding and keep up my supply. This kept me from “digging” into my supply without replacing it. But, if you’ve ever spent twenty minutes attached to an electric breast pump, you know that there is absolutely nothing fun about it. So, I found a secret that worked amazingly well.
I purchased a Haakaa Silicone Breastfeeding Manual Breast Pump Milk Pump 100% Food Grade Silicone BPA PVC and Phthalate Free. I wish that I would have had this all along because I could have “caught” some insane amounts of milk during those early weeks of engorgement and crazy intense let downs, but better late than never. This thing was a game changer. By placing it on the opposite side of my nursing baby for a few feedings a day, I could easily get 3 ounces stored to use in cereal the following day.
I found that the milk collected in the Haakaa Silicone Breastfeeding Manual Breast Pump Milk Pump 100% Food Grade Silicone BPA PVC and Phthalate Free was usually mostly foremilk meaning it was usually pretty skim-like. If I had given it in a bottle, I’m sure it wouldn’t have kept my baby full for very long at all. Instead, by mixing it with cereal and spoon feeding it to her, she stayed full longer and also learned to use a spoon. It honestly saved my sanity and probably my breastfeeding journey.
Obviously, this isn’t advice from a medical professional, this is just what worked for us. Always talk to your pediatrician and use your mommy intuition. My pediatrician gave us the go ahead for cereal at four months; your may recommend waiting longer.
If you haven’t already, check out my other posts on breastfeeding: