Eating Like a Big Boy

This post also appeared on in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.

So there’s big news in the Gouveia household: Will is eating rice cereal.

OK, so I’m not really sure why everyone was so excited about this yesterday. But apparently it’s a major milestone. Truthfully I wouldn’t have noticed a difference except for the fact that it was in a bowl and we were feeding him with a spoon. The consistency was just ever so slightly thicker than milk, yet our whole family acted as if Will had just cured cancer.

MJ said it’s unusual because most babies start on rice cereal after they are about 4 months old. Will is just less than 2 months. But you should see this kid eat. MJ broke down and gave him the cereal because he had taken more than 30 oz of breast milk and formula by 6 p.m. yesterday. He simply needs more breastmilk than any woman can possibly produce in a timely manner, so now we’re supplementing the breastfeeding and formula with this new rice cereal.

I’m happy for his progress, but I’m a little bummed because now we have to incorporate bibs into feeding. Because spoon feeding liquid to an infant is juuuuuuuust a little messy. But he seems to love it as he was all smiles when I was feeding him today. The only weird thing was MJ begged me not to tell the doctor he’s already on rice cereal when we take him to his 2-month appointment later this week. Apparently it’s frowned upon to introduce this stuff so early. I was slightly taken aback because I’m not in the habit of lying to the doctor who is taking care of my infant son. But when I asked MJ, my mother-in-law and my cousin why doctors advise against this, they said something along the lines of “They’re mostly male doctors who think they know everything, but don’t worry it’s fine.”

Yeah…that answer doesn’t suffice. So even though it might get me in trouble, I’m definitely telling our doctor about this new development to see what he says. Moms are great and they make the world go round, but I’ve never met a bigger bunch of know-it-alls in my whole life. As soon as a woman becomes a mother they think they know EVERYTHING! And if we dads suggest anything to the contrary, we are met with snide looks and remarks politely telling us we have no idea what we’re talking about, because they know what’s best for their baby.

Call me crazy, but I’m going to listen to the doctor as well. What with all those years of medical training and all…

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12 thoughts on “Eating Like a Big Boy

  1. be very careful with feeding cereal this young…their digestive systems are extremely premature for cereal at this point.

    He could end up backed and really painful gas and blockage can be serious in an infant this young.

    Call your doctor and ask about cereal.

  2. That is very early for cereal. Mothers tend to like it because it quiets the kid down, but it is generally not considered good for him. I would definitley mention it to the doctor.

  3. rice cereal has no nutritional value and you are risking many serious side effects (choking, allergies, diabetes) by giving it this early. if baby is hungry feed him more breastmilk/formula because they have the nutrients he requires, not cereal. Basically you are starving him with cardboard. breastmilk functions on supply and demand, the more you eat, the more you make, breasts are never empty. If that chinese policewoman can breastfeed 8 orphans than I’m sure your wife can manage one baby. It’s your kid too, stand up for him. If the older folks go with “well we did it and you lot turned out fine” say “no we didn’t, there is a heart disease, obesity and diabetes epidemic going on in case you didn’t notice”.

  4. What does breastfeeding have to do with it? If my wife (or any woman) doesn’t want to breastfeed any longer then use formula. But from all of my research, it appears the risks far outweigh the rewards for introducing rice cereal so early. All it does is fill him up so maybe he’ll eat less, but there’s also more of a chance of developing food allergies.

    I don’t see what my being a man has to do with it. I’m a man and a father who does research and listens to pediatricians. I guess to you that’s a bad thing, which means I’m damn glad I’m not you!

  5. I’ve been where MJ is right now. There were so many times I was tempting to look further into putting cereal in his breastmilk and in the bottle or giving him formula. He ate all night long sometimes on my breast all night. I attribute that now to the desire to having something in his mouth. Most likely what she needs to do is find out what safer for her son. Request her to ask her doctor what would be better for her and her son: To breast feed all night long, to give him a pacifier (before it’s too late and he won’t take one), or to drink formula). Cereal is NOT safe at this point. It CAN trigger food allergies but it can also be binding. Just like when you introduce other foods, cereal is meant to be introduced for the sake of learning to eat, not to be full. So it’s doing more harm than good. It can cause obesity in the future, diabetes, food allergies and a whole lot more.

    The bottom line is, there is NO solution to a hungry baby other than feeding. Breast milk is best, so if MJ is tired, invest is a really nice pump and give him 8 oz at night. and then wake him again in about 5-6 hours before YOU go to bed. Try swaddling him tight after a giant burp, changed diaper and a lullaby. Put on a fan or an air conditioner for white noise and RELAX…babies can sense tension.
    Hope everything smooths over.

  6. I’ve read your blog for a bit here, but I haven’t commented yet. This entry made me want to say something.

    It sounds like you are doing your research on this, but I wanted to back up that this is too young for a baby to eat cereal! Sure there will be some babies who turn out just fine, but there is just too much risk. Some people start feeding their babies solids at 4 months, but it usually isn’t recommended until even 6 months.

    Not to mention your babies main source of nutrition needs to come from either formula or breastmilk. The only reason you really feed a baby solids in the first month is to practice and get them used to some other food.

    mention it to your pediatrician for sure. I’m sure your wife will forgive you because you are just being a good dad who wants the best for his baby!!

  7. You may want to look into him having reflux…babies eat more frequently at times because they have that uncomfortable sensation in their esophagus.

    Try propping him up after feedings, and not putting him down right away after a feeding. Also, there medicines that can help the food stay down and he will stay down as well…be sure to ask your doctor.

  8. Just curious, since everyone is an expert, how much iron fortified formula should you give a baby have in a day, week, or month?

  9. My boys were big eaters as well and started on cereal early. I did tell the doctor, not so much ask though. They were so happy with their cereal and it worked out fine. The only concern really is that you don’t slack on the other in pursuit of his fulfillment. Some people feed their kids too much cereal and the baby doesn’t want the milk, therefore losing nutrients. Good luck!

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