Should i feed my baby cereal before or after a bottle

Formula Feeding FAQs: Starting Solids and Milk

Home | Patients and Families | Health Library | Formula Feeding FAQs: Starting Solids and Milk

    Whether you've decided to formula feed your baby from the start, are supplementing your breast milk with formula, or are switching from breast milk to formula, you're bound to have questions. Here are answers to some common queries about formula feeding.

    When should I introduce solid foods and juice?

    The best time to introduce solid foods is when your baby has developed the skills needed to eat. This usually happens between the ages of 4 and 6 months. How do you know when your baby is ready?

    Babies who are ready to eat solids foods:

    • are interested in foods (for example, they may watch others eat, reach for food, and open their mouths when food approaches)
    • hold up their heads well, and sit up with little or no help
    • have the oral motor skills needed to eat (meaning that they don't push food of the mouth but move it to the throat and swallow it)
    • usually weigh twice their birth weight, or close to it

    Wait until your baby is at least 4 months old and shows these signs of readiness before introducing solids. Babies who start solid foods before 4 months are at a higher risk for obesity and other problems later on. They also aren't coordinated enough to safely swallow solid foods and may choke on the food or inhale it into their lungs.

    When the time is right, start with a single-grain, iron-fortified baby cereal (rice cereal has traditionally been the first food for babies, but you can start with any you prefer). Start with 1 or 2 tablespoons of cereal mixed with breast milk, formula, or water. Another good first option is an iron-rich puréed meat. Feed your baby with a small baby spoon, and never add cereal to a baby's bottle unless your doctor recommends it.

    At this stage, solids should be fed after a nursing session, not before. That way, your baby fills up on breast milk, which should be your baby's main source of nutrition until age 1.

    When your baby gets the hang of eating the first food, introduce a variety of other foods, such as puréed fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, or yogurt. Wait a few days between introducing new foods to make sure your baby doesn't have an allergic reaction.

    Experts recommend introducing common food allergens to babies when they're 4–6 months old. This includes babies with a family history of food allergies. In the past, they thought that babies should not get such foods (like eggs, peanuts, and fish) until after the first birthday. But recent studies suggest that waiting that long could make a baby more likely to develop food allergies.

    Offer these foods to your baby as soon as your little one starts eating solids. Make sure they're served in forms that your baby can easily swallow. You can try a small amount of peanut butter mixed into fruit purée or yogurt, for example, or soft scrambled eggs.

    Note: There is no benefit to offering fruit juice, even to older babies. Juice can fill them up and leave little room for more nutritious foods, promote obesity, cause diarrhea, and even put a baby at an increased risk for cavities when teeth start coming in.

    When can I start giving my baby cow's milk?

    Before their first birthday, babies still need the nutrients in breast milk or formula. But at 1 year old, your baby can try whole cow's milk. Why not skim or 2%? Because babies need the fat in whole milk for normal growth and brain development during the busy early toddler period.

    You can transition your baby from formula to whole milk by beginning to replace bottles of formula with bottles — or sippy cups — of milk. By 1 year old, your baby should be eating a variety of other foods and only 2-3 cups (480-720 milliliters) of milk per day.

    If your baby was put on a soy or hypoallergenic formula because of a milk allergy, talk to your doctor before introducing milk.

    When can I start giving my baby water?

    In their first few months, babies usually don't need extra water. On very hot days, most babies do well with additional feedings. But you may want to offer your infant water, especially if your baby's pee is dark or your baby pees less often than usual.

    Once your baby is eating solid foods, you can offer a few ounces of water between feedings, but don't force it. Water that is fortified with fluoride will help your baby develop healthy teeth and gums. If you live in an area with nonfluoridated water, your doctor or dentist may prescribe fluoride drops.

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2022 KidsHealth® All rights reserved. Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and

When Can You Start Feeding Your Baby Rice Cereal

Adding solid foods to your baby’s diet is a big milestone, and you may be wondering when to begin the process and what foods to start with. In the past, single grain infant cereals have been the traditional first choice when transitioning to solid foods, with rice cereal being one of the more popular ones. These days, though it is still OK to start with cereal, experts say that there is no evidence that introducing foods in a certain order provides any advantage for your baby (though babies do tend to like cereal).

Keep in mind that experts highly recommend giving rice cereal as part of a mixed diet of single ingredient choices, rather than as an exclusive food.

Find out how to safely give rice cereal to your baby, and what other infant cereals you might want to give instead.

What Is Rice Cereal?

Rice cereal for babies has been a traditional first food for infants who are being introduced to eating solids. The most common type is a dry powdered cereal, to which liquid is added to form an oatmeal-like consistency, but it can also be purchased premixed. It's one of the single grain cereals that have been recommended for infants when they start on solid foods.

Is Rice Cereal Safe for Your Baby to Eat?

It’s OK to include rice cereal in your baby’s diet as long as you’re not exclusively feeding your baby rice cereal.

The reason experts recommend rice cereal be limited is because of the naturally occurring levels of inorganic arsenic in rice (in this case inorganic refers to the arsenic’s specific chemical compound bound with carbon).

As rice is grown, the plant absorbs more inorganic arsenic from its environment compared to other crops. Arsenic is a naturally occurring element that can enter the food supply through water, soil, or air.

When body weight is considered, a baby’s intake of inorganic arsenic through rice cereal could be three times more than an adult’s. Eating too much rice cereal as an infant can cause long-term health problems.

What Infant Cereals Can You Give Your Baby Instead of Rice Cereal?

Instead of rice cereal, you can offer another single grain infant cereal such as oat or barley cereal. You can find many of these infant cereals in premixed or dry versions to which you would add breast milk, formula, or water to create a consistency that your baby will like.

Look for cereals that are specifically made for babies because they will be fortified with nutrients like iron and zinc that your baby needs.

Just remember that when introducing new foods — including different types of infant cereals — do so gradually, offering one new food at a time, and then waiting a couple of days before adding another food, to watch for any possible allergic reactions. Once your baby has become accustomed to eating solids, feel free to offer a variety of single ingredient, soft foods.

How Many Times a Day Should You Feed Your Baby Infant Cereal?

When your little one is just starting on solids, spoon-feed your baby a small amount of infant cereal once or twice a day, ideally just after he’s been bottle-fed or breastfed. Start with one or two teaspoons of cereal so that your baby can get accustomed to this new food.

Eventually you can introduce other foods one at a time—and you can even make your baby’s food at home.

Are Other Rice Products Safe to Give Your Baby?

Not necessarily. You can give rice to your older baby as part of a varied and balanced diet. However, it’s best to avoid certain rice-based products like rice syrup, often used as a sweetener in processed foods, as well as rice milk, which should not be used as a substitute for cow's milk.

If your child has turned 1 and is sensitive or allergic to cow’s milk, your healthcare provider will be able to recommend milk alternatives if needed, and can also weigh in on any rice products you’re considering giving.

At What Age Should You Start Feeding Your Baby Infant Cereals?

For most babies, 6 months is a good age to start to introduce solid foods, which can include infant cereals. Breast milk or formula will continue to provide most of your baby's nutrition for the first 12 months.

Waiting until this age is important because by this point your baby would have outgrown a natural reflex that all babies are born with that causes them to push their tongue against anything inserted into their mouths. Most babies grow out of this tongue thrust reflex between 4 and 5 months.

Can You Give a Baby Younger Than 6 Months Infant Cereals?

Most babies are not ready for solid foods, including infant cereals, until they are about 6 months old, though some babies could be ready a month or two earlier. Experts recommend that babies be breastfed or bottle-fed (with expressed breast milk or formula until 6 months of age.

How Do You Prepare Dry Infant Cereal for Your Baby?

If you’re using dry cereal, mix one tablespoon of dry cereal with four tablespoons of breast milk, formula, or water; or follow the recommended directions on the container.

Be sure not serve the cereal from a bottle for reasons we mention in the next section. Gradually, you can add less liquid to the dry cereal to find a thickness your baby likes.

Can You Feed Your Baby Cereal in a Bottle?

Although this might be a practice you’ve heard of, don't feed your baby cereal in a bottle unless your baby’s healthcare provider says otherwise. Feeding your baby through a bottle can lead to unnecessary calories—she may consume more food than she actually needs.

Although rice cereal may have been a popular choice, experts now say there are other infant cereals and first foods that may be safer for your baby. If you’re ever unsure about which infant cereal to give, or need advice about expanding your baby's menu, reach out to your baby’s healthcare provider for advice.

As your baby transitions to solid foods, you deserve lots of rewards for all those diaper changes. Download the Pampers Club app to get rewards for all your Pampers purchases.

How we wrote this article The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.

Artificial feeding for the little ones

The advantages of breastfeeding are undeniable: the child receives the necessary vitamins and minerals, strengthens the immune system, besides, food invented by nature itself is the best suited for the stomach and intestines of the newborn. But there are circumstances when a woman cannot breastfeed: due to illness, stress, and also after a caesarean section, milk can disappear very quickly. The baby has to be transferred to artificial feeding, but this does not mean that he will not grow up healthy if you follow some simple rules.

Only a pediatrician can advise which formula is best to give to a newborn, since only he and the mother herself know the baby and the state of his health best of all. And how to feed a baby from a bottle, the mother's intuition will tell. If a woman does not have milk at all, the first days will have to worry a little for both the mother and the child. It does not matter if the child does not immediately take the nipple: newborns are usually fed only after 10-12 hours, and the first time the baby does not drink much milk - no more than 20 g. After discharge from the hospital, he will drink more, so you can artificially feed gradually and more often.

Hold the bottle so that there is milk in the nipple all the time so that the baby does not swallow air. Still, a baby who is not yet able to suck properly from a nipple will still swallow some air. He may stop sucking and become anxious when air interferes with milk flow to the stomach. The newborn needs to be lifted, putting his head on his shoulder, and hold it for several minutes. Perhaps he will burp and calm down, but if he does not want to eat more, no need to insist.

It is important that the hole in the nipple is the correct size. You can check this by turning the milk bottle upside down and seeing how the mixture flows. It should come out in a thin stream for the first seconds, then drip. If it continues to pour, then the hole is too large, and if it only drips at first, then it is too small. The hole can be pierced with a hot needle of the required thickness. When the child grows up, but will continue to drink from the bottle, the hole can be made larger.

For older children, you can alternate artificial milk formula with liquid cereals. After 2-3 months, you can start giving your baby oatmeal. It is prepared as follows. A little oatmeal is poured with hot boiled water and allowed to brew until a liquid paste is formed, then filtered through gauze. This paste is added to boiling milk, then cooled to a temperature normal for feeding a baby. Liquid oatmeal is ready, it can be given to the baby from the nipple in the amount that the baby usually drinks. By 6 months, you can cook semolina porridge and give it from a nipple with a slightly larger hole.

Vegetable and fruit purees can be started along with oatmeal. If the pediatrician does not mind, they can be bought ready-made, or you can cook it yourself. For example, applesauce is prepared like this. A peeled apple is simmered in an enamel saucepan with a small amount of water and sugar. If the apple is very sweet, you can skip the sugar. Then the whole mass must be wiped through a fine strainer and the puree should be given to the child from a spoon. At 3 months, the baby is already able to grab a little food from a teaspoon, then he will be able to eat from a spoon better. In the same way, mashed potatoes can be prepared from soft vegetables - potatoes, carrots, pumpkins.

From raw fruits, you can give a banana mashed with a fork, and a little later, fresh fruits grated into a fine grater - an apple, a pear. It is better to choose green or yellow apples, especially in the first months, since red fruits often cause diathesis. If the baby does not have diathesis, then little by little you can give red vegetables and fruits.

Many mothers are very worried when they lose their milk and have to feed their baby artificially. Breastfeeding should not be abandoned if a woman has milk, but if she does not, there is nothing wrong with artificial feeding. You just need to follow the advice of the pediatrician, include the necessary foods in the child's diet and trust your baby not forcing him to eat what he does not want.

Bottle feeding organization | Philips

In the early days, mothers try to keep their baby safe and carefully monitor the cleanliness and sterility of everything that can get into the baby's hands or mouth. This is due to the fact that the child's immune system is almost not formed, and the body is vulnerable to external bacteria. That is why the process of sterilizing children's dishes cannot be neglected.

Every meal of the child should be held in accordance with the rules of hygiene, from washing hands and breasts, and ending with the sterilization of accessories necessary for feeding during artificial feeding. In terms of preparation, artificial feeding is always more time-consuming: before each feeding, clean dishes must be sterilized to remove all bacteria from the surface. It takes time to sterilize and dilute the mixture, and the baby can become very hungry and express his impatience by screaming.

Everything that comes into contact with the baby's food or mouth must be sterile clean: from the spoon used to apply formula to the bottle, nipple and breast pump if the baby is fed with expressed milk.

How to sterilize baby dishes

Today, every mother can choose the most convenient way to sterilize bottles.

Time-tested sterilization method used by our mothers, of course boiling . It is better to immediately allocate a separate pan of a suitable volume for boiling bottles and baby supplies, which will continue to be used only for sterilization. The volume of the pan should contain all the accessories, including the breast pump, if you use one.

Boiling time is at least 10 minutes: during this time, all bacteria are destroyed. However, too high temperatures can have a negative effect on the teat, and it quickly becomes unusable.

A more gentle method for children's dishes is to sterilize with a steam sterilizer. In addition, steam sterilizers are easy to use due to their compact dimensions. They are easy to use: water is poured into a special container, the mode is set and after 6 minutes you have completely sterilized dishes. Modern Philips Avent sterilizers destroy 99.9% of harmful microorganisms.

Interesting mobile versions of steam sterilizers are microwave sterilizers and sterilization bags. They can come in handy on the road if you need to quickly sterilize baby dishes or pacifiers that have fallen on the floor.

Second step: Milk heating and mixture dilution

Expressed milk

First of all, the milk must be heated properly. The consistency of milk is such that it separates into fractions, so it must be shaken before use. There are several ways to heat milk.

Water bath

A container of water is heated on the stove, after which a bottle of water is placed in it.


  • The most inexpensive way
  • Milk is quickly heated by


  • It is very easy to overheat milk
  • is not convenient on trips
  • bottles placed in a water bath, they must withstand boiling and do not contain bispenol- A

Hot water

The bottle is placed under the hot water tap or lowered into a container of hot water.


  • The method does not require financial costs
  • A convenient method for defrosting


  • To bring the mixture to the required temperature, you need a lot of time

BUSE 9000

BUTY milk is placed in a special heater, after which the heating mode is set.


  • Milk warms up evenly, the overheating points of
  • are quickly heated
  • It is impossible to overheat the bottle, so all the useful substances are preserved


  • The purchase of financial costs
  • should fit the costs for food

microwave oven

The bottle or container with milk is placed in the microwave oven. It is necessary to make sure that the container is made of a material that can be heated in a microwave oven. Preheat on low or medium power.


  • Quick heating method


  • Microwave food is heated unevenly. For this reason, pediatricians consider this method unsafe, since there is a risk of burning the throat.

Feeding formula

Read the instructions carefully before preparing the formula, which must be followed. The mixture must be fresh: you can not use the leftover mixture from the previous feeding, so prepare a new batch each time.

Boil the water and let it cool. Too hot water can dissolve the mixture unevenly, and form lumps, which then clog the nipple. Each package has recommendations for serving size according to the age of the child. Try not to violate the recommendations, do not report the mixture to make the portion more satisfying. There is a risk that too thick a mixture will cause extreme thirst and dehydration.

Third step: Comfortable nursing position

The position for bottle feeding does not differ fundamentally from the position for breastfeeding. When you hold the baby in your arms, make sure that the head is raised so that it will be convenient for him to swallow. If the head is turned to the side or back, it will be difficult for him to swallow, he may choke on food. Pediatricians insist on this position of the child during bottle feeding, because the baby feels the warmth and smell of the mother, establishes close emotional contact with her.

Learn more