The running theme this month has been mostly on feeding impacting sleep. The connection between breastfeeding and weaning to support sleep. In the last week I’ve helped three families who hadn’t considered that the type of solid food and the frequency of milk feeds were sabotaging their baby’s settling ability and length of solid sleep. Milk and food intake is one of the first things to investigate when working with new families.
Did you know
The frequency of breast or bottle feeding can make a huge difference to how well your newborn settles and sleeps. Of course with breastfeeding this is also determined by milk supply.
Feeding until full and focusing on digestion will promote longer stretches of sleep. Too frequent feeding will result in lower milk intake per feed which moving forward will work against sleep. The more feeds per 24 hours, the less milk per feed.
When moving onto solids food, the age and stage you start weaning will also impact sleep much like the type of food offered. For example, given that babies are ready to wean between 4-6 months of age and say your baby is ready to wean at 4½ – 5 months but you wait until month 6? You are likely to hit sleep regression if offering single veggie purée for a few weeks or months that won’t support sleep as well as nutritious balanced complete meals.
The type of food offered when weaning might not be working well to support sleep. Single veggies at month 5-7 are unlikely to have the same impact on sleep as complete meals. There is no reason why you can’t food combine from the off and this will ensure a higher calorie intake per spoon and sustaining hunger for longer.
What foods support sleep?
Here is a typical first food combining meal for a baby with sleep regression or settling issues, between the age of 4½ – 5 months.
Sweet potato, carrots and pea or avocado purée blended with milk.
Sweet potato – carbohydrate
Pea – protein
Avocado- fat and protein
Milk – fat and protein
If you bake root vegetables instead of steaming you will need to add liquid to make your purée. Add warm milk to blend to the right consistency, adding fat and protein to the meal.
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