Monica, many parents have questions about when to start cereal and other baby food. Although some people might tell you to give your 2-month-old baby cereal or solid food, child health and nutrition experts say it's still too early. Experts recommend you wait until the baby is between 4 and 6 months old to give cereal or solid food by spoon – never mixed in a baby's bottle. Until 4 to 6 months, your baby's digestive system is only prepared to digest breastmilk and formula and isn't yet mature enough to digest cereal and solid food. Feeding your baby cereal or solid food too early increases the chance he could choke or develop upset stomach, constipation, diarrhea, food allergies, obesity and even diabetes. You've already observed that the cereal made your son terribly constipated.
Although some people think giving a 2-month-old baby cereal or baby food will help him sleep through the night, most 2-month-olds are still too young to be able to sleep through the night—so giving him cereal or baby food probably won't help. Most babies are more ready to sleep through the night around 3 to 6 months of age. Here are some tips to help your baby learn to sleep longer at night over the next few months:
- Try to keep baby awake more during the day. During the day, feed him for longer periods, interact with him when you change his diaper, talk with him, sing to him, play with him, hold him, take him out for walks and bathe him. If he sleeps during the day for longer than three to four hours, gently wake him up to play with him and feed him.
- Try to keep baby up a little later in the evening. Feed him well and put him to sleep for the night around 10 or 11 p.m.
- Make your nighttime interactions with baby as brief and calm as possible. When your baby begins fussing in the middle of the night, wait and listen for a couple minutes. Sometimes babies fuss and move around as they go through a different phase of sleep but then put themselves back to sleep. If, in fact, your baby is awake and hungry, feed him quietly with the lights low and put him right back to sleep.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.