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Baby food for 2-month-olds.
Q: My son is 2-months-old and I started feeding him baby food one time before bed because if I don't, he will wake up every hour. I don't give him cereal because my babysitter was giving it to him and he became very constipated. Is it okay to give him baby food?
Monica Bethel
A: 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 4-6 months old to give cereal or solid food by spoon, never mixed in a baby’s bottle. Until 4-6 months of age, 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 of abdominal discomfort and food allergies. You’ve already observed this—the cereal made your baby 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 and giving him cereal or baby food probably won’t help. Most babies are more ready to sleep through the night around 3-6 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 your baby awake more during the day. During the day, feed him for longer periods, interact with him when you change his nappy, talk with him, sing to him, play with him, hold him, take him out for walks, bathe him, etc. If he sleeps during the day for longer than 3-4 hours, gently wake him up to play with him and feed him.

  • Try to keep your 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 your 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 are going through a different phase of sleep, but then they 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.
Karen Sokal-Gutierrez M.D., M.P.H. Pediatrician