Many tired parents are tempted to try just about anything in the hope of finding what can be considered the parenting Holy Grail – as much sleep as possible. If you’re like these parents, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard about adding things to a bottle of formula or breast milk that will help you get a bit of extra sleep. Even though these are the things that your grandma may have done, science and research has helped us know better now.
Like any parent out there, you may be struggling with baby constipation or fussing and received conflicting advice about things that may help out. A majority of remedies focused on helping constipated or fussing babies include adding things to the baby’s feeds. To begin with, it is highly recommended for mothers to exclusively breastfeed their babies at least for the first six months. After that, they may continue breastfeeding along with suitable solid food for one year. But with time, parents are advised to put various things into their baby’s bottles other than formula or breast milk. They are told that adding these things can help cure various conditions like constipation, wind, colic and may even help put the baby to sleep. But are these things really helpful? Here’s a look into the different things that you should not put in your baby’s bottle:
1. Gripe water
Parents who have a baby struggling with wind are usually advised to add gripe water to the baby’s bottle. While some parents have found it rather useful, there is no scientific evidence as such that may support its case.
The worst part, which most parents don’t know about, is that gripe water contains nearly 4% alcohol. For this reason, it is possible that any perceived benefits of gripe water may come due to the sleep-inducing properties instilled by alcohol. The worst part is that sleeping longer and/or deeper has the potential to increase the risk of SIDS. So if you don’t want to put your baby at risk, refrain from putting gripe water in his bottle.
Babies and alcohol don’t mix
A major reason why gripe water appears to be so effective at calming fussy babies and easing tummy troubles is because the formula contains alcohol. With the amount of alcohol found in gripe water, it can easily knock out a baby weighing about 8.8 pounds, thereby making parents feel that their child is at ease. Apart from that, gripe water is known to contain herbs which have not been regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. These herbs can trigger side-effects leading to serious allergic reactions, which adds to the reason why you should refrain from giving gripe water to your baby – and why you should not add it to your little one’s bottle!
2. Corn Syrup
Watching your child in discomfort when he suffers from constipation is extremely hard. As you ask around for advice, you may come across someone telling you to use corn syrup to treat constipation in your little one. I mean, come to think of it, it is an old commonly used remedy. However, there is no denying the fact that experts no longer suggest using corn syrup to treat constipation in babies. This is because its utilization can prove to be dangerous as may lead to botulism.
Although corn syrup was used in the past to relieve infant constipation, the commercially prepared syrup these days simply doesn’t contain the sort of chemical structure required to draw fluid into the intestine to soften stool. Apart from that, the fact of the matter is that this thick, sugary substance is not a normal part of an infant’s diet. To put things simply, babies should not be given corn syrup because it is a known artificial sweetener and will only offer empty calories in the form of sugar.
It can trigger health problems too
Considering that corn syrup is a known artificial sweetener, it has the potential to lead to several health concerns. These include things like obesity, diabetes and even heart diseases. Apart from that, it can also increase the blood level of triglycerides, which may further complicate heart conditions. So if you want your child to have a healthy life, make sure that you don’t add corn syrup to his bottle.
People at times think that giving water to babies in hot or humid weather is an absolute must for the simple reason that they need a bit of extra hydration. This isn’t true at all. To begin with, water is not required at all for exclusively breastfed babies even on the hottest or most humid days of all. Although formula fed babies may require extra water under some circumstances, it is highly recommended for you to get in touch with your infant’s medical care provider instead of adding it to his bottle on your own. Remember, giving water to an infant can turn dangerous and you must act cautiously to ensure your little one’s safety.
In case your baby is exclusively breastfed, there is no need at all for you to consider giving him water through a feeder. Instead of putting him through agony and risking his life, just refrain from putting water in his bottle – he does not need it.
What about formula fed babies?
Things are a bit different with formula fed babies. Formula is known to contain higher concentrations of salts and minerals as compared to breast milk, which may require you to give a bit of extra water in the bottle to your baby. However, it is not recommended at all for you to give sips of water to your baby before he hits the 6 months mark or until you start introducing solid foods to him.
While breast milk is approximately 88% water, formula is not and many pediatricians will recommend that formula fed babies be given sips of water from 6 months of age or when solid foods are introduced. Letting babies drink water is a recommendation only and it really is not needed. The recommendation is not intended to be taken as an absolute directive that you must offer your baby water.
The utilization of Infacol is recommended by many to parents with a baby struggling with colic and excessive wind. For those who don’t know, the active ingredient found in Infacol is ‘simethicone’. A research study carried out back in the year 2014 suggests that simethicone isn’t really effective in terms of treating colic. But apart from that, there are plenty of other reasons why you should refrain from adding Infacol to your baby’s bottle
To begin with, there are many other ingredients used in the formulationof Infacol, one of which is known as Methyl Hydroxybenzoate (E218) and another is Propyl Hydroxybenzoate (E216). . Infacol also contains parabens, which, as all of you may already know, are known to be potentially dangerous to a baby’s health. So in order to protect your infant against the ‘harmful’ side of this medicine, it is highly recommended for you to avert from its usage to treat excessive wind and colic in your baby.
Side-effects of Infacol
Like any other medicine, Infacol has several side-effects associated with it. These are inclusive of hypersensitivity reactions, which may come up a little while after giving the medicine to your baby. In case your baby experiences other side-effects, it is highly recommended for you to seek medical advice right away. In case giving Infacol to your baby is a must, then make sure that you do so with consent from your infant’s medical care provider and follow the dosage recommended by him.
5. Rice cereal
If your baby stays awake during much of the night, there is a good chance that well-meaning family members and friends may drop in bits of advice over how you can get your little one to sleep at night. One piece of advice that such parents commonly receive is to add rice cereal to their baby’s feeding bottle so that he may sleep longer. However, studies have shown that giving solid food to such a young baby does nothing in terms of making him sleep. In fact, it just might end up making things worse by triggering negative reactions in the baby to the solid food – in case your baby is under 6 months, he may experience a strong tummy ache.
So what makes people think that adding cereal to a baby’s bottle will make him sleep longer? This new longer sleeping pattern adopted by the baby makes parents believe that it is the rice cereal doing the trick – but it isn’t. What makes their baby sleep longer is a natural progression as he continues to age and mature. This coincidence is what has got parents to believe that getting a baby to sleep longer is all about adding cereal to his bottle.
What about 6-8 month old babies?
Think of things this way – when your baby becomes about 6-8months old, he will probably start waking up at night for a feeding. By this time, your little one should be eating solids, but by now, these solids are not going to help him sleep through the night. This is because he will be experiencing yet another growth spurt and will continue to wake up during the night for more feedings.
Parents are at times told to use thickeners for the treatment of reflux. The basic notion that leads to this recommendation is that by making the feed ‘heavier’, it will end up ‘staying’ in the stomach rather than rising back up in the esophagus. The thickeners that are typically used for this purpose are inclusive of:
· Corn flour (made from wheat or corn)
· Rice cereal
· Commercial milk thickeners
· Bean gum
Unless advised by the doctor, it is highly recommended for you to refrain from adding thickeners to your baby’s feeds. Although research suggests that adding thickeners to a baby’s bottle can assist in decreasing the amount regurgitated by the baby, it is ineffective in terms of decreasing the number of episodes of acid exposure. This shows that the utilization of thickeners cannot assist in the management of complicated GOR (gastroesophageal reflux). Apart from that, it is recommended for parents to avert from the utilization of thickeners with breast milk as it can prolong the length of time required for the feed to pass through the stomach – and it may even increase reflux.
Other unwanted effects of thickeners
There are plenty of other unwanted effects of thickeners that your baby may experience overtime if you add these to his bottle. For instance, thickeners have the potential to increase constipation and coughing. In case you have a premature baby, it may trigger the onset of a life-threatening condition called ‘necrotising entercolitis’ in which the tissue in the intestines becomes inflamed and dies. For this reason, it is highly recommended for you to refrain from the utilization of thickeners in your baby’s feeds.
7. Prune juice
Giving diluted prune juice to their baby is a tip that most parents struggling with a constipated infant receive. Prune juice is known to contain high amounts of fibre which can reduce your baby’s ability to absorb other nutrients from his feeds. For this reason, doctors suggest that babies under 6 months of age should not be given prune juice to relieve constipation.
At times people will say things like, “I gave prune juice to my baby and he turned out fine”, but now you know better. As a mother, you spend nine long and hard months to grow your beautiful baby inside of you while ignoring even the most basic of things like a glass of wine and deli meats etc. Now that your baby is out of the womb, your responsibility of keeping him protected at all times has doubled and you need to be very careful as to what you are feeding him. For the harmful effects that it may trigger,it is highly recommended for you to stay away from using prune juice to relieve constipation in your baby.
Any juice is a major no-no
You must not give any juice at all to your baby until he is at least six months of age. Until that time, you can rest-assured that he will receive all of his required nutrients for healthy growth and development from breast milk or formula – whichever you choose. Remember, until your baby becomes 6 months old, his small tummy is just not ready to digest anything at all apart from breast milk or formula.