Experts Label ‘Knockout Bottles’ a Dangerous Way to Put Babies to Sleep. We Agree.


Having a little one who won’t sleep through the night is frustrating. Trust me, I know ALL about it. My daughter is 14 months and she has yet to sleep a solid eight hours straight.

When your baby or toddler is waking at night, one of the thoughts you may have is that they are still hungry. Or perhaps they are teething? Whatever the case, mums overseas are taking drastic and dangerous measures to help get their kids to sleep better at night.

In an effort to get their infants to sleep, parents are mixing cereal, medicine, and even melatonin into their baby’s bottles and calling them “knockout” bottles.

While we understand how frustrating it is to go through night after night of no sleep, this is not something we recommend. 

In fact, experts are warning parents of how dangerous “knockout” bottles can really be.

Knockout bottles pose serious concern 

The “knockout bottles” trend started on social media when a mum from New York shared a picture of her baby’s bottle. In addition to adding baby cereal to the bottle, she also added a bit of Tylenol (similar to Panadol).

She writes,

Y’all parents today! Don’t know these knockout bottles! Sh*t worked every time. Especially when (the baby) is sick, add some Tylenol. Awww man out like the kite.”

mum central
Mums are sharing their dangerous “knockout” bottles on social media. Source: Facebook

While many parents voiced their concerns about doing this, many others agreed that “knockout’ bottles are the way to go. One mum explained:

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.”

Please note: Mum Central DOES NOT condone ANY of the above methods in ANY circumstance. 

Nutritionist weighs in on ‘knockout’ bottles 

After seeing the images and stories of “knockout” bottles cropping up on social media, nutrition consultant Charlotte Stirling-Reed shared her advice as well,

Knock-out bottles put babies at risk of choking. 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.”

Fact: Babies often don’t sleep through the night

This means that parents also don’t sleep through the night. Which means we’re tired, grumpy, drained and at our wits end by morning.

Bulking up your baby’s bottle is not the way to go. There are much safer ways to help babies sleep.

It’s also important to remember that many babies won’t sleep through the night until a year or longer which is completely normal. In fact, one study showed that having a baby who wakes up often could mean they will be a genius down the road.

If you’re struggling with sleep deprivation, please see our following articles on tips and tricks to help you cope and help your baby get a better night’s sleep, no medication or rice cereal necessary.

Is my baby still hungry at night?

While feeding baby cereal from four months on is okay, it should NEVER be mixed in with a bottle. Mix it with breastmilk or formula to make a puree consistency and spoon feed your baby.

If you are concerned that your baby is still hungry at night and if over four months, try offering more food during the day. Gradually work up to three meals a day, including rice cereal, veggies, fruits, yoghurts as well as chicken, fish and meat (pureed). For more information, see our guide on first foods and introducing foods to your baby.

You may also like to look at our article on various purees which can be a healthy way to introduce baby to foods and ensure they are getting the nutrients they need.

For older kids, check out this visual guide on how much your toddler should be eating. 

And, if ever in doubt about baby’s eating and/or sleeping habits, make an appointment to see your GP.

Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar of Blossom

    I know one Mum who was recommended to try a few teaspoons of baby cereal at night via a teaspoon at night feed when she was about 4 months old rather than waking up numerous times overnight but not wanting to feed properly.
    I definitely helped. The baby slept much longer at night and the rest of the family did too.

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