Oh dear rice cereal, how I loathe you. And loathe is putting it nicely. I’m not kidding. Ask my husband how I feel about rice cereal, and he just might laugh out loud. I’m admittedly stubborn and hard-headed, as much as I am anti-rice cereal. The animosity stems from day one.
From the moment my child exited the womb, my family began force feeding me the idea of rice cereal. When I say force feeding, I mean more or less nonchalantly, innocently and loudly voicing their thoughts and opinions. “So and so did this. So and so did that. Add it to the bottle. Makes them sleep through the night. Cereal, cereal, cereal.” WHAT THE HECK?!? I didn’t even know I had feelings about rice cereal prior to baby – definitely hadn’t googled it – but hearing about it already made me completely annoyed by the whole idea.
Apparently, adding rice cereal to a baby’s bottle can help him/her sleep through the night. Or so the theory goes. Believe me; there are plenty of people out there who swear by it. But I consulted Dr. Google, and Dr. Google basically said stats are based on coincidence, that by the time people start adding cereal to bottles, kids are at the age to naturally start sleeping through the night.
Dr. Google also said that a baby’s digestive system is not necessarily ready for processing of cereal at too early of an age, that it can add too many calories, lead to weight gain and cause food allergies, amongst other things. Plus, it has no real nutritional value. Maybe some of this is exaggerated or too uptight, but these sure sounded like good reasons to justify why exactly I had no interest in adding cereal to my baby’s bottle, since my family totally ignored my sleep-myth stance. Silly me and my Austin ways.
If for any reason I would have added cereal to a bottle, it would have been in an attempt to reduce our spit up problem, but I consulted our actual doctor on that piece (sorry Google, cheated on you). He explained that cereal can add weight to formula to potentially help keep it down, but breast milk was already heavier than formula. Since we bottle fed breast milk, adding it would be pointless. (Something like that. Don’t quote me. I’m not the doctor.) I may have still experimented out of desperation, but let’s get back to the fact that I’m stubborn and not interested in eating my “no cereal” words.
I was also still on a mission to prove everyone wrong about sleeping through the night, that a baby can sleep through the night without cereal. (Really chill mom here, obvs.) Two and half months and boom – 9+ hours from then on. Death to cereal theory.
EXCEPT THAT the cereal theory is like a roach that never dies EVER.
Next, family was surprised by our healthy weight gain from only having “must be some fatty breast milk.” Then the rice cereal push was revived for transition to solids. A whole box of it magically appeared at my mom’s house. And it even showed up on our beach trip a few months later! You tell family you’ve tested some foods and out come the milks shakes and RICE CEREAL.
Whhhhhy rice cereal, why? I just don’t get the obsession.
Lo and behold, the rice cereal gods have jokes.
One day, when we were still getting a good grip on solids, I arrived for pickup at our new daycare and asked our provider if she was able to feed any of the meh baby food I sent along. Her response?
“Yes, I mixed it with some rice cereal. Isn’t that what you do?”
Ha. Rice cereal. You win.