View Full Version : Is a 3 month old too young for cereal?

09-30-2002, 09:44 PM
Hi Ladies!
This is my second try for posting this question (I don't know what happened with the first since my message is not showing!).
Anyway, I wanted to tell you ladies that I think you do a great job with your advice and I try to follow the message board regularly.
I'd like to ask your opinions on at what age is a baby ready for cereal? I have a 3 month old, Sabrina, who was 9 lbs 4 oz at birth. She's already close to 14 lbs now and I feel she needs more than just formula (I'm unable to breastfeed). My ped says babies should be 4 mo. old before they begin solid food but I ask, are all babies alike? I don't think so. Some babies are bigger than others and need more.
Also, Sabrina was sleeping through the night since she was born and, lately, she's waking up and fussing a lot during the night. She's also drooling constantly and putting her hands in her mouth (teething already?!?)
I would greatly appreciate any advice you can give me.
Thank you in advance,
Annette :)
Annette :)

10-01-2002, 08:05 AM
Hi Annette,

I have to say that yes, a 3 month old is too young for cereal. Formula or breastmilk provide all the nutrition that a baby needs until they are at least 6 months old. The only reason you start them on solids before 6 months is to get them used to the texture, etc.

(Please, people, don't jump down my throat. I'm just repeating what my pediatrician told me!!)

Now, having said that, we just started my four month old on rice cereal. Why, you ask? Because he was giving us cues that he was ready. He would watch us while we ate, he would reach out for our food, and he can hold his head up steadily.

It is possible that Sabrina could be teething, but it is not likely. 95% of babies teethe between 4-12 mos of age. She could be in the 5% outside that area, but it's not likely. My son went through the same thing (actually is still going through it). Babies are drooly and they put things in their mouths. That's one of the ways they learn about things around them.

Ok, now after saying all of that, I have to say one more thing: if you don't trust your pediatrician's advice, I would shop for a new ped. There must be some reason you think your doctor is wrong, either not listening to what you are saying, or lumping you together with all the other "new moms". If I'm off base, sorry, but I would definitely shop for a new ped that you can trust.

-SAHM to Matthew Nicholas, born 5/22/02

10-01-2002, 09:15 AM
Most babies go through growth spurts at around 3 months, and they also discover their mouths around that time. Your baby may need more formula, but she is not ready for cereal. In general they say that babies aren't ready until they can hold their heads up by themselves. I nursed my baby full time (on demand) until she ws about 5 1/2 months and then began cereal because she was waking every 45 minutes and I was exhasuted! Babies go through stages where they wake up at night, for a variety of reasons, growth spurts, learning a new skill, seperation anxiety, teething (could start around 3 months but usually teeth don't come until later, my dd started "teething" with her hands in her mouth, etc at 4 months and got her first (2 at once!) teeth at 7 1/2 months). Anyhow, hang in there, try not to give her solids until the doctor ok's it...hope this helps...!

10-01-2002, 10:17 AM
Just wanted to sympathize on the sleep thing! My baby did the same thing. I agree, though, 3 months is too young for cereal. A baby's digestive system steadily matures until about 6 months, regardless of weight. If you put something in her system that she's not developmentally ready for, she'll probably actually have a harder time. As long as she's getting enough formula, her nutritional needs are being met.

Mommy to Abigail Rose

10-02-2002, 11:32 PM
I was told no solids until at least 6 months.

Mommy to Jonah

10-03-2002, 09:24 AM
The AAP has changed their recommendation from starting solids at 4 months to 5-7 months. This is because of new studies in recent years indicating that the enzymes needed to digest foods are not present (ON AVERAGE) until 6 months. All babies are, of course, different. But I would wait until your baby is showing several of the milestones for developmental readiness for solids: watching you eat with intense interest, sitting up at least somewhat on their own, good head control, opens mouth of own volition when spoon is offered, closes mouth around spoon, baby has doubled birthweight AND weighs more than 15 pounds, and is eating more than 32 ounces of formula a day and is still hungry. These are the guidelines I was given at a "Baby's First Foods" class offered by my local hospital system that was taught by a pediatric dietitian.

A really great book that talks about how to feed baby in developmentaly appropriate ways is "Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense" by Ellyn Satter (a pediatric dietitian). FYI, this book is about developing healthy eating habits and patterns and not about making baby food.

My ped told me that at 3 months the saliva glands start really working and that is when baby starts to drool. It is a separate milestone from teething. And having teeth has nothing to do with being able to eat solids. My almost 14 month old has NO teeth and has no trouble eating anything that I give her. She has been on "table food" exclusively since 9 months. We started solids at 5 1/2 months.

But I also agree with the above post. If you are not comfortable with your ped, I would shop for a new one if that's an option.


10-03-2002, 09:24 PM
Thanks ladies! As usual, you have excellent advice! :)
I do trust my ped (very reputable group and great doc) but I think the problem I'm having is that all the rules have changed and I'm confused! It used to be that babies could eat cereal at 3 months a few years ago (they also slept on their tummies)and everything was fine. Now, because of SIDS, we put babies on their back and I'm terrified that the baby could choke if she gets a milk spit up. I try leaning her on one side but she moves to a flat back position.
And for the cereal, I remember many parents putting a little cereal in the bottle mixed with formula so that babies would feel fuller longer (actually, I know quite a few parents that still do it).
I guess I felt Sabrina needed more because she's a big baby....people think she's 4 or 5 months old by looking at her. She also sits in her high chair already and holds her head up quite steadily. At dinner time, she sits with us at the table, watches us eat and moves her lips trying to mimic our movements. We haven't tried the spoon test yet but I think we'll wait until she's 4 months like my ped said.
Thanks again for all your help!
Annette :)

10-06-2002, 12:55 AM
Just wanted to say that Evan got his first teeth at 3.5 months. His cousin got hers at 2.5 months.

10-06-2002, 08:26 AM
Hi, Annette. You are doing the right thing by putting your baby on her back to sleep. I know it's nerve-wracking. She will turn her head if she needs to, though. You'd also hear her coughing if she were spitting up and sputtering. That said, if you're really anxious, you could try a sleep positioner. Some of them are made to help prop babies on their sides. At 4 months, my daughter has begun rolling onto her side to sleep, so it's probably not too long before Sabrina really lets you know her preferences anyway. Hang in there!

Mommy to Abigail Rose

10-07-2002, 02:49 PM
By the time my son was 4 1/2 months, we had him on 3 real meals a day and as much breastmilk as he wanted. He's now only a month older and he's sleeping better and he is generally a happier baby. And it was my ped. who told me to try 3 meals a day to get him to stop eating so much at night and now he only wakes up once to eat. I must say that Jamie, in the past month, hasn't been constipated, hasn't thrown up, nor has he been fussy because of the solids and I think we've tried all the 1st foods out there. He's also a very advanced child who could roll from back to front at 3 months, he's almost crawling now at 5 1/2 months, and the doctor thinks he'll walk at 9 months. I personaly think that he was ready for more calories and food that could stick with him. He plays very hard. Every child is different and you know your child. I don't see why you can't try a little rice cereal if you want to see what happens. You'll know if she doesn't like it or it upsets her digestive system and then you can wait another week or two and try again. I must say that while I totally understand the recommendation is 6 months, I believe that we know what our children need.

Sarah, mom to Jamie 5 1/2 months.