More than half of all infants experience reflux during the first three months of life, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Babies with severe reflux may require medication or other medical intervention, but simple dietary or lifestyle modifications can reduce many acid reflux symptoms. One of these modifications includes adding rice cereal to your infant’s bottle. Ask your infant’s pediatrician before trying this approach in an attempt to ease your baby’s reflux symptoms.
Prepare your infant’s formula or expressed breast milk in a bottle as you normally do. This may require mixing powder with water or simply warming ready-to-feed formula or expressed breast milk.
Add the rice cereal to the bottle. The specific amount to add depends on your situation. For example, the National Diseases Information Clearinghouse website recommends 1 tbsp. of rice cereal for every 2 oz. of formula or expressed breast milk, while the American Academy of Family Physicians recommends 2 to 3 tbsp. for every 1 oz. of formula or expressed breast milk. Always follow your doctor's direction regarding how much to add, since he knows your baby’s situation the best. After adding the rice cereal, shake the bottle well.
Check to see if the nipple size is appropriate. Since formula or breast milk with rice cereal is thicker, you might need to use a nipple with a larger hole so your infant can feed more easily. You could also cut a small X over the hole in the nipple with a pair of sterilized scissors.
Hold your infant upright as you feed her. Burp her after she consumes about 1 or 2 oz. Do not overfeed, as this can trigger reflux. In fact, babies with reflux are usually better off consuming smaller feedings more frequently.
Keep your infant remaining upright in your arms for approximately 30 minutes after feeding, if possible. This lessens the likelihood of reflux.
Call a doctor if your infant still shows signs of reflux. Your doctor may recommend another treatment option to try in conjunction with or as a replacement for this rice-cereal treatment.
The symptoms of a food allergy in infants are similar to that of acid reflux. Your doctor may recommend switching to a different type of formula before trying to add rice cereal to see if that helps to resolve the situation. Breastfeeding mothers may also find that changing their diet can help eliminate symptoms.
Although most causes of acid reflux are not a cause for concern, this condition may lead to a number of serious conditions in some infants. Some babies may refuse to eat, experience blood loss from the acid burning the esophagus, have poor growth due to the inability to hold down food or experience breathing problems. Always call a doctor if you suspect your baby has acid reflux to prevent these serious issues from occurring. Do not attempt to treat the condition on your own.