It's never a good idea to give rice cereal in the bottle, be it in breast milk or formula. I think the only instances it is suggested is in extreme cases of reflux, and even then it is controversial. Some people do choose to introduce rice cereal made with breast milk at 4 months, fed by spoon. In general, it is recommended that breastfed babies wait until closer until 6 months to maximize the benefits of breastmilk. Basically, rice cereal has no nutritional value- it is empty calories. Giving it to your baby takes the place of nutritional milk. It also can contribute to diabetes and obesity because it trains the baby to fill up on empty calories. The studies are interesting. If you do introduce it by spoon, it is to begin introducing the baby to taste and texture.
With my first, we waited until just about 6 months and started with rice cereal. This was at the recommendation of my ped. He said that while it's OK to start after 4 months, I should try to maximize the benefits of breastmilk by holding off. I have been reading a lot about it, and I think because it has no nutritional value, I am actually going to start fruits and veggies around 6 months instead. The most recent article I read from the AAP said it doesn't see a need to start with rice and grains.
by the way, i forgot to add that another reason we waited with dd was because she was born 4 weeks early. I wanted to make sure her digestive tract was mature enough to handle it.
Thanks for the feedback! I made her 4 month appointment today and they told me to bring cereal because they give it to her at the appointment. I was worried because she was born 5 weeks early and it seems like we should wait another month unless she really needs it. She's sleeping pretty good at night, but doesn't nap for longer than 30 minutes at a time all day long. She's eating about every 2 hours, but as long as she sleeps at night I don't mind.
they recommend babies are breastfed exclusively for 6 months now with no introduction of any solidas before that time. This is to minimise alergies. I would tell them you don't plan on giving her cereal yet, if it were me. But up to you.
Many pediatricians suggest adding cereal to BM only if your baby is underweight and for the added calories. Please know, there really is no nutritional value at all to doing this, they are in a sense empty calories. Is there a reason you want to do this at 4mos? I would try and hold off closer to 6mos, then at that time introduce more nutritional choices.
She is on the smaller side, but I don't think underweight. They just told me to bring the cereal. I assumed it was something they do for all babies that age. She weighs 11 pounds now and is 4 months old.