If people call your baby a “poor sleeper,” I will bet anything that some grandma has told you to add rice cereal to a bottle or offer purees before bedtime. I have heard this so many times. Grandma/Great-aunt/neighbour/perfect stranger will claim your baby will sleep longer. There are few things a mom won’t do at the promise of a few consecutive hours of sleep!!!!
Literature DOES NOT SUPPORT this suggestion. And it makes sense that it doesn’t. A tablespoon of squash or carrots is diet food in comparison to a breast or bottle feed. Rice cereal will certainly add some calories, but literature shows that it does not translate to babies who sleep for longer durations. If anything, it will just cause logistical problems with nipple flow (you will need a cross-cut nipple to accommodate the thickness). Or you will end up trying to spoon feed food far earlier than your baby demonstrates developmental readiness, which is associated with it’s own risks.
The myth-busting literature is all quite old so I have no idea why it is still such a common suggestion!
If your family is struggling with sleep and you are ready to completely loose your marbles, get some help rather than offering a small baby purees before bedtime. By “small baby”, I mean a baby who is not showing readiness signs for starting solids, or developmentally younger than approximately 6 months.
The seemingly contradictory information that exists in the sleep world is overwhelming when you have a clear head, let alone when you are running on fumes. You are not a failure if you get help, you are an advocate.