Why I Had to Add Rice Cereal to My Baby’s Bottle

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When Jaxson was just little baby, we had to start thickening his bottles. I know there are information out there that tells you not to feed your baby solids until they are over 6 months old.

But, as you can see it just wasn’t in the cards for this little one.

Medical Disclaimer: The information on this site is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be a substitute for advice from a physician or other medical professionals. This information does not make claims regarding the diagnosis or cure. Every effort is made to keep up with the information on this site and it makes no attempts to mislead.

I am NOT advocating for the use of bottle thickeners.

Please seek medical advice if you suspect your child is aspirating or having feeding difficulties.

A Little Back Story

When Jaxson was younger he had difficulty feeding. As mentioned in my first post I tried nursing with zero success, tried a nipple shield with zero success, and finally went to pumping exclusively.

I pumped every two to three hours every single day for three straight months. Yes I probably could’ve kept going because I had great supply but in all honesty mentally I couldn’t handle it anymore.

I pumped, I thickened and fortified his feeds, I paced his feeds, I tracked his feeds, and repeat.

What is Pacing Feeds?

Paced you may ask? Yes, when we were admitted to the Children’s Hospital in town they had us see a Feeding Therapist prior to being discharged.

They had us pace, or allow Jaxson to suck five times, and take the bottle away from him in order for him to compose himself.

We did that repeatedly until he was finished with his bottle, which could take up to hour. We were trying to prevent him from choking because he had difficulties swallowing, or better known as dysphagia.

He also had risk of aspirating which meant that fluid was going into his lungs — he was admitted for pneumonia twice.

In order to prevent aspiration they had us thickening his feeds on top of fortifying (I will explain fortifying in another post) his bottles.

Steps We Took

Picking the Best Bottle

This one is tricky. You might have to spend a little money to find the perfect bottle for you child. We tried the Medela brand first because it was what we used with our oldest and it came with our pump.

Needless to say it didn’t work, and we even tried purchasing the Special Needs nipple but no luck.

We then tried the Dr. Brown bottles and their Specialty Feeding bottles. Again, no luck. One day our friend’s mom was in town visiting and she recommended we try the MAM bottles because he did so well with the MAM binky.

At last! We found a bottle that worked for him! I think he liked that the nipple on the bottle was flat, might’ve been easier for his small jaw and recessed chin to use.

Types of Thickeners

There are many different types of thickeners on the market and your provider may select one of these thickeners for your child. Our Pediatrician and Feeding Therapist wanted us to thicken Jaxson’s feeds with rice/oatmeal cereal to prevent aspiration and choking from dysphagia.

  1. Simply Thick – Easy to use, great for travel.
  2. Thick It – Easy to use, dissolves quickly.
  3. Gelmix – Mix with warm milk/water.
  4. Rice / Oat Cereal – Easy to use, mixes well.

How You Mix Thickeners into Bottle

Medical Disclaimer: Please seek medical advice if you suspect your child is aspirating or having feeding difficulties.

1. Grab thickener your Medical Professional and/or Feeding Therapist recommended:
2. Prepare your bottle, here I used 4 ounces of water to show consistency change.
3. Mixed, see the difference in consistency once you mix it?

My Final Thoughts

As you can see it’s a lot of trial and error. Every child is different, what might work for one might not work for another. I’ve seen some children take to Dr. Brown bottles or Tommee Tippee bottles.

It all depends. I know it may get frustrating and you may get discouraged — don’t.

We are all in this together.

Did you have to use thickeners to help your child thrive?

0 thoughts on “Why I Had to Add Rice Cereal to My Baby’s Bottle”

  1. My daughter loved the Tommee Tippee bottles but we tried a few others first (she had awful colic and it was worse with some bottles than others). I've never heard of thickening feeds though…

  2. Thank you Kate. We had to start thickening Jaxson's feeds when we were admitted to the Children's Hospital. He was having feeding difficulties so they put in for an upper GI test and swallow study. Swallow study showed he aspirated and so they started thickening his bottles with rice cereal. He's come a long way! He no longer needs thickened bottles since his most recent swallow study showed no penetration/aspiration ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Patricia Chamberlain

    When my daughter was born, she also had feeding difficulties. Now at 19 months, they are gone, but I remember the struggle to find the right bottle. We had to have made 4 separate trips to the Babies R Us closest to the NICU before she finally was able to drink from the Dr.Brown bottles. Thank you for continuing to share your little ones story!

  4. My daughter had terrible reflux and so we used a thickening agent under the care of her paediatrician to thicken her feeds. It did help a little but also increase her digestive issues, it was a vicious circle!

  5. April Marquardt

    I never had to use a thickening agent for my kids but know so many who did! I am so thankful for that but know so many people who could benefit from this post.

  6. We had to thicken the formula for my oldest son. (I tried breastfeeding and it was not my thing at all!) At his four month checkup he hadn't gained weight since his three month because he had bad reflux. His pediatrician recommended getting the formula with the thickener in it (we used Enfamil AR) and that helped a lot. As he got older we would thicken with rice or oat cereal if we couldn't get the AR. It made such a difference for him in his weight gain and being happier since he wasn't having reflux after every meal.

  7. Well I might not be apparent that this is a very good green for future reference in to get understanding of what to expect in the future when you become a parent yourself

  8. #FedisBest! I haven't tried AR! We used the Sensitive brand with the oatmeal. I knew some moms were using Neocate or Nutrigamen and boy they're expensive! We were worried he would need that but he seemed to thrive once we stopped with my BM and switched to FM.

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