I know it’s an old wives’ tale. But still I hear it so frequently, “Oh, put cereal in the breast milk or the formula, and your baby will sleep all night.” But the truth is that is not true.
If you’ve got a baby who’s been struggling with weight and has any kind of health issues then, yes, food might be the issue. Your baby is waking through the night and looking for food, because they truly need it.
But for any healthy baby who’s gained weight well, food is not the problem. They are waking up because they just don´t know how to go back to sleep alone. They key is looking at how your baby falls asleep initially.
The most common problems are that they’re rocked to sleep, fed to sleep, they’re bounced to sleep etc. This is called a sleep association problem. Your baby is associating feeding, bouncing and rocking with falling asleep. You have essentially taught your baby he/she needs this to fall asleep.
Which means that once (or many times) during the night, they’re going to wake-up and look for that to go back to sleep. Both adults and children wake-up through the night but most adults know how to roll over and go right back to sleep. However, if your baby is used to being fed, bounced or rocked at bed time, then they’re going to wake up and need that to fall back asleep again.
Feeding a baby to sleep is hands down the number one reason why babies wake up through the night. It´s because of the association between the feeding and sleeping, not the food. Needing to nurse is a strategy that the baby is using to fall asleep every night. It´s a nice bonus that he gets food with it but it´s the only way he knows to fall asleep.
So, before you buy yourself some cereal and start mixing that into his bottle, I want you to stop yourself and have a good look at how your baby falls asleep at night? If he/she is not falling asleep independently then that would be the first place to start.