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Will Starting Solids Help My Baby Sleep Better?

Have you heard the promise that introducing solids will improve your sleep?


Before you dive in and buy that rice cereal let me clear this up. After 20+ years working with babies I hope to help you understand the pro/con before diving into this big milestone.



SHOULD I START SOLIDS EARLY?


Has your doctor suggested starting solids early? In a hope to improve sleep?

That advice is outdated!


Current recommendations suggest your baby be 6 months of age.


There is absolutely no evidence to suggest early introduction of solids will improve your baby’s sleep.



HOW DO I KNOW IF BABY IS READY FOR SOLIDS?


Here at Enhance Sleep we like the path of least resistance and more sleep! Starting solids is MORE work and no guarantee of good sleep. So wait Mymma. Your baby will tell you when they are ready. They may show some/all of these signs:

  • Sitting with minimal assistance

  • Head and neck control

  • Can reach and grab

  • Showing interest in your food

  • Lost the tongue thrust reflex (this will mean baby won’t automatically spit food out as soon as it hits their tongue)

WILL WE SLEEP BETTER WHEN STARTING SOLIDS?


I wish I could promise more sleep after solids. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case. Most children will fall into one of 3 categories when starting solids.

  1. Nothing changed

  2. Baby slept better

  3. Baby’s sleep got worse.

There is no way of predicting how your baby will react. Exposing your baby to new foods could potentially increase digestive discomfort, increase risk of allergic reactions or alter baby’s bowel movements. All of which could impact your sleep.


If starting solids were the only simple trick to sleeping better, I would be out of a job. Instead, I encourage you to start solids when it is the right time for your and your baby.


HOW TO STOP SOLIDS DISTURBING YOUR SLEEP


My top tips to reduce negative impact of solids on your child’s sleep are;


1 - Offer new foods early in the day.


2 - Follow baby’s appetite - there is no “set” amount your baby should eat. When baby stops wanting food don’t try to fit in a few more spoon fulls - that could worsen gastrointestinal symptoms such as wind.


3 - Use baby massage to help your baby move gas/bowel movements easier.



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