Rice Cereal. Parents just CANNOT wait to start giving their babies cereal, whether in their bottles or with a spoon. Parents are lead to believe that cereal is harmless and will make baby sleep all night long. They assume that a baby wanting to eat every 2 hours definitely needs to be "filled up" with some rice cereal. They mistakenly believe that reflux or spitting up will be instantly solved by the addition of cereal to a bottle.
Let's start from the beginning...rice cereal was originally made because it is hypoallergenic, meaning hardly anyone is allergic to it. It's easy to make runny and last but not least, it was made by "baby food" companies to extract more money from parents. According to Gerber, your baby "HAS" to have "baby" food, it "NEEDS" purees, it "CANNOT" live unless you give it purees from 4 months old. Somehow, our views have been skewed to actually believe this garbage.
If you ask the mom that believes this, she will tell you how her 9 or 10 week old baby "HAD" to be fed something besides breastmilk/formula because he "just wasn't satisfied" on milk alone...
If you ask a mom that has researched "baby led solids" and the effect of early solids, she will tell you how her baby is thriving on milk alone at 7, 8, 9 months and sometimes even older.
Did you know that the AAP and the WHO recommend waiting until at least 6 months before introducing anything besides breastmilk or formula to your baby? Do you think they do that to be mean or punish your "starving" baby? No. It's because evidence shows that babies digestive systems are NOT ready for solids. In fact, until they are no longer on breastmilk or formula, they don't even need solids. Solids are introduced before one because we have a ton of folks that formula feed and switch to cow's milk around 12 months. So, kids need food then to make up for the nutrition they will no longer be getting. If they are still on breastmilk or formula, they don't "NEED" food to "fill them up". They need more breastmilk of formula.
I want you to look at your baby's fist. Imagine a cup that size...how much do you think it would hold? Definitely NOT 8 oz of formula/breastmilk PLUS cereal. Your baby's stomach is the same size as their little fist. Let me repeat that: BABY'S STOMACH IS THE SAME SIZE AS ITS LITTLE FIST!!!!!! So, there is NO way baby is drinking a huge bottle and then needing jar upon jar to "fill them up". Perhaps baby is full, but, thinks that pain is hunger and is confused. As tiny as their stomachs are, they need small amounts of breastmilk or formula often. They don't need stuffed enough to do without for 4 hours. In fact, new studies are showing that small bottles given often help sooth reflux.
Baby's MAIN nutrition is their breastmilk or formula, NOT foods. They should be getting enough of their milk to meet this need and after 6 months, if they want, some solids to play with.
Sadly, this notion that mom/grandma and whoever knows best has been around since the 1800's at least where babies were fed Pap from a pap boat. Pap is a mixture of breadcrumbs, flour, rice or barley mixed with fluids such as broth, milk (if the infant was lucky), water, wine and even beer, to aid the digestion of pap it was often pre-chewed by the nurse or nanny.
Pap was a popular form of infant nutrition for almost 300 years and used in many well to do homes. However for unwanted or illegitimate infants in foundling homes it was often the only form of sustenance as a result the mortality rate was appallingly high. Despite a growing number of experts advising against the use of pap it never-the-less persisted as a major source of infant nutrition in many nurseries until the late 1800’s, largely due to the ignorance of nannies and nurses who took great delight in disregarding the advice of physicians, who they believed were usurping their position in the household. ‘Nanny knows best’.http://www.webchildhoodmuseum.com/index_files/Page379.htm
As a side note before the defensive early feeders come out claws first:
"I have to say, the research showing that early solids leads to obesity and what not are referring to ADULTS. Not to your 14 month old that is "healthy and fine and skinny and perfect and smart and...". So, please don't throw that out to me. Oh and I am NOT a food snob or Holier than thou Mommy or whatever else you want to call me. I also don't care if you and your grandma and everyone else on the planet had rice cereal and early solids and are "just fine". I was given fried eggs from 2 weeks old plus whatever else mom wanted. I also was given Gatorade as a juice... my mom was given some concoction of a formula and my son was given rice cereal starting at 4 months plus other foods. SO...I KNOW about giving foods early and everything that goes with it. Also, I am not blaming all of the overweight kids today on early solids, again, this is referring to ADULTS that were fed early solids."