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Experts Corner

Pediatrics/Children's Health

Solids to Encourage Sleeping Longer?
By Barbara Parker, RN, ARNP, CNM

Q. I'm returning to work this week, and my seven week old baby can't last more than three hours between feedings, no matter how much I increase her formula. Would it hurt to add a tablespoon or two of infant rice cereal to her 11 pm feeding so that she's got something with a little substance in her belly? I'm hoping, of course, that she'd make it four or five hours in between night feedings.

A. I know you will have a lot of people telling you that is the right thing to do, however, I am not one of them. I believe the research shows you should not give solids to babies less than four months old. The truth is, it will most likely give her a terrible stomachache, make her more prone to allergies as she gets older, and she won't actually sleep any better anyway!

It's so hard to go back to work outside your home after you have a new baby, and then when you think of doing that on very little sleep, it makes it even worse. Have faith, she'll sleep through the night pretty soon and you'll get some rest too.

Ultimately, the decision is yours.

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