MOTHERS who have taken to social media to boast about feeding their babies "knock-out" bottles to make them sleep through the night have come under fire from experts.
The "dangerous" concoctions, which are made from formula or breast milk mixed with cereal, baby food and even in some cases medicine, have been called a "choking hazard" by child nutritionists.
It comes after a mum from New York, posted on Facebook to say the method – which included adding Tylenol when her little boy was unwell – had worked "every time".
Sharing a snap of the concoction, the woman called Alexis wrote: “Y’all parents today!! Don’t know these knockout bottles! S**t worked every time. Especially when [the baby] is sick, add some Tylenol. Awww man out like the kite.”
The controversial post attracted a storm of criticism from other parents, who voiced their concerns over giving solid food to babies younger than six months.
The NHS recommends that until this time babies are fed solely by breast or formula. Adding "extras" to baby’s formula powder can cause constipation, dehydration and undernourishment.
This goes far beyond bad parenting.
The post, dated from November, has resurfaced after being shared thousands of times online.
A fellow mum hit back over the resurfaced concoction on Facebook, arguing: “Cereal is NOT made to be bottle fed!”
Another wrote: “I’ve never used rice cereal in or out of the bottle. There’s no nutritional value. Learn to love the babies' cries at night because one day you will look back and miss it and wish you could have that back.”
A third person branded parents "idiots" for using "knockout bottles", writing: “That is disgusting, and very dangerous to any child!!! Who let these idiots ever take a baby home from the hospital!?! This goes far beyond bad parenting.”
However, other mums spoke out in support, admitting they had fed their babies the concoction to help them sleep, with some revealing they mixed formula milk with apple sauce, chicken, cereal, fruit and jar food.
One added: "Knockout bottle? Honey almost every bottle Myah had was like this – she was GREEDY! & she loved it so."
GP warning on 'knock out' bottles
Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and Clinical Director of Patient.info says:
"There are very good reasons why every single guideline recommends only feeding your baby breast milk or formula designed for their age group – ideally until they’re 6 months old.
Babies’ digestion is very immature and they are extremely prone to digestive problems such as constipation.
What’s more, because they’re so small, even small amounts of the wrong ingredients (such as salt) could be very damaging to their kidneys and general health.
And of course let’s not forget that babies need to learn how to swallow solids, starting very slowly.
Food like this is a completely different consistency and could lead to choking.
Adding medication which has not been prescribed for your child, or without good reason, is also an extremely dangerous idea.
Medicines such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can be extremely useful if your child is in pain.
But they are not recommended just to bring down a fever if your child isn’t distressed.
And they are most certainly never recommended because you want your child to sleep."
Another posted a photo of a bottle concoction, writing: "This is a real 'mommy had a long day son, I love you but good tf night bottle."
A Twitter user revealed: “I couldn’t get my teething four month old to sleep through the night to save my life and I just started working again so I desperately needed sleep.
I mixed some cereal in a bottle with [medicine] benadryl and melatonin. Put him down, let him scream for about two hours and he was OUT for the whole night.
“I mixed some cereal in a bottle with [medicine] benadryl and melatonin. Put him down, let him scream for about two hours and he was OUT for the whole night. For any of you that needed some tips on how to get your infant to sleep.”
A third admitted: “Cereal milk bottles knock my son out! He will be asleep for 5-6 hours straight!”
And a fourth added: “My baby is only four months and already finishing 8oz bottles with cereal.”
However, Charlotte Stirling-Reed, a nutrition consultant who specialises in maternal, infant and childhood nutrition, said: “Knock-out bottles put babies at risk of choking.”
When can you start your baby on solid foods?
Introducing your baby to solid foods, sometimes called complementary feeding or weaning, should start when your baby is around 6 months old.
At the beginning, how much your baby eats is less important than getting them used to the idea of eating.
They'll still be getting most of their energy and nutrients from breast milk or first infant formula.
Giving your baby a variety of foods, alongside breast or formula milk, from around 6 months of age will help set your child up for a lifetime of healthier eating.
Gradually, you'll be able to increase the amount and variety of food your baby eats until they can eat the same foods as the rest of the family, in smaller portions.
She explained: “It’s not ideal and not recommended to offer babies solid foods from bottles.
“The action of drinking milk is very different to the action of swallowing solid foods, and therefore this could potentially put babies at risk of choking.
“Additionally, formula milks need to be made using very specific measurements and so it’s not ideal to alter the proportions of milk/water in a baby’s bottle.”
Renowned baby expert, sleep consultant and health visitor Jill Irving agreed and said any child health professional would strongly advise against "knock-out bottles".
The action of drinking milk is very different to the action of swallowing solid foods, and therefore this could potentially put babies at risk of choking.
“The main reasons being it can cause choking or a baby to overeat and hence have an inappropriate weight gain,” she said.
“Parents who add food to their baby’s bottle are often doing so prior to 26 weeks which is when a baby should be weaned and not before. So this is also a big no.
“There are absolutely no guarantees that a baby will sleep just because food has been added to the bottle.
“Also no medication should be added to a bottle unless otherwise advised by a medical practitioner.
Why wait until six months?
- Breast milk or first infant formula provide the energy and nutrients your baby needs until they're around 6 months old (with the exception of vitamin D in some cases).
- If you're breastfeeding, feeding only breast milk up to around 6 months of age will help protect your baby against illness and infections.
- Waiting until around 6 months gives your baby time to develop so they can cope fully with solid foods. This includes solid foods made into purées, cereals and baby rice added to milk.
- Your baby will be more able to feed themselves.
- Your baby will be better at moving food around their mouth, chewing and swallowing it. This may mean they'll be able to progress to a range of tastes and textures (such as mashed, lumpy and finger foods) more quickly, and may not need smooth, blended foods at all.
“So for example if a baby has reflux then the GP/HV will advise that something like Infant Gaviscon is added to the milk.
“If a parent routinely adds medication to a bottle and then the child doesn’t complete a feed then they have no idea if the drug has been taken.
“To summarise to add anything to formula milk unless recommended by a child health professional is a big ‘no’.”
Specialist paediatric dietitian and founder of UK Kids Nutrition, Bahee Van de Bor, admitted she was "shocked" by the photos.
She advised: “Adding solids into a formula bottle increases babies risk of choking. It can also increase a baby's intake of calories (above and beyond their requirements) and wouldn't necessarily promote sleep.
“It's perfectly natural and normal for babies to wake up two or three times overnight.
“It's a natural instinct to try to stop babies from crying at night, but research suggests that letting babies cry a little bit with your loving support to teach them to learn to fall back to sleep, could help babies learn to soothe themselves when they do awake.”
In other parenting news, we told you how a mum explained her "genius" trick for persuading her kids to eat fruit and veg using Disney stickers.
We also revealed how a mum of an 18st teen says she "didn't realise" he was obese until his hip collapsed.
And a mum has made her daughters cheap personalised costumes for World Book Day inspired by their favourite authors.
Source: Read Full Article