How Can Solids Benefit Sleep? 😴

How Can Solids Benefit Sleep? 😴

Written By: Jaime Hughes, Baby Sleep Consultant

When you start introducing solids to your baby between 4-6 months of age, you may find that their sleep improves. It is a big milestone in their development and while there isn’t a direct universal link between starting solids and sleep, there is a lot of proof in the pudding -excuse the pun – that this actually works.

A quick run-down of how solids can positively impact sleep:

👉🏼 Solid foods can provide additional calories and nutrients...

...which can contribute to a full stomach and help them to sleep for longer periods of time as they stay fuller for longer. When starting to introduce solids, you may find it can disrupt their sleep during the first week as their digestive systems learns how to break down these new foods. Not to worry – it does get better with time and as their body starts to get used to it.
 

👉🏼 Solid foods tend to be more filling than liquids...

...such as breastmilk and formula. In saying that, until around 9 months of age it is important to continue to give breastmilk or formula before giving your child the solid foods as this is still their main source of nutrition.

👉🏼 Establishing a routine with solids can be beneficial to sleep...

When starting off, its recommended that you give them 1 meal a day which could be a teaspoon in the morning, so this doesn’t affect their night sleep. Once they are comfortable with that meal, you can add a second meal and space the two out, so they are having a meal in the morning and a meal at dinner. As a child grows, they tend to need more fuel so adding a meal at dinner can help their overnight sleep as they tend to be fuller for longer and helps to regulate their sleep-wake cycle.

 

👉🏼 Solid foods offer a wider range of nutrients...

...this applies to both puree and baby led weaning feeding approaches. This can include iron, essential minerals, vegetables and fruit and low GI carbohydrates which are important for baby’s development. I recommend introducing iron rich foods as iron helps to stabilise their blood sugar levels which prevents night wakes which can be caused by hypoglycaemia which will encourage the body to produce adrenalin instead of melatonin, and that isn’t helpful for sleep.

 

👉🏼 As babies start to transition to solids, you may notice a gradual shift in their feeding patterns...

...as their solid meals get more frequent. The intake of solids can often lead to longer periods of uninterrupted sleep which is what we all want.
   
My 8 month old is now on 3 meals a day and loves her Le Puree meals 🥦📦 – both baby led weaning and purees. We decided to do both BLW and puree as I wanted her to be able to learn the self help skills from a young age to feed herself, but also using the puree to ensure she is full and getting the nutrients in to fill her up.
   
Remember all babies are different and always check with your healthcare professional before starting solid foods. It’s important to know the signs of when your baby is developmentally ready to start their solids journey and of course if you are needing any assistance with sleep, I am just a phone call away.
  

Written by Jaime Hughes – Owner of Sleepy Dreamers and Baby Sleep Consultant

info@sleepydreamers.com.au

www.sleepydreamers.com.au

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