Food and Sleep

Food and Sleep

Food and Sleep

Food can have a huge effect on your little one's sleep. Done rightly, it can be the catalyst for sleeping through the night. However, done wrongly, it could ruin any sleep you were getting at night. 
When I started my first baby on sweet potato, she loved it, and I wasn't warned about how much to feed her. Unfortunately, too much sweet potato caused her to wake up with a very sore tummy. My amazing little sleeper, who was only waking for one bottle a night, started waking at 8 pm crying and nothing I did would help her to go back to sleep. She became constipated, and then her naps fell apart. I had no idea what I had done wrong or why her sleep was falling to bits. 
After consulting with a nutritionist and researching online about food and infant sleep, I realized I needed to ease up on the sweet potato, reduce the volume I was offering, and give my girl some fruit so she could get her bowel movements back on track. 
Luckily for you, you don't have to learn things the hard way that I learned about solids and sleep. The World Health Organization recommends exclusively breastfeeding for six months, and worldwide pediatricians agree you should not start solids before 17 weeks corrected. 

Once your baby is ready for solids, work your way through the root vegetables and some easy-to-digest fruits, and add in an iron rich food such as red meat.

  • Always cook first foods, and if you are following traditional weaning methods, puree their food too. 
  • Consider staying away from raw banana and avocado as a first food (if your baby is under 6 months) as this can upset some babies' tummies and ruin their night sleep. 
  •  This doesn’t mean never serve these foods, just try something different as a first food.
  •  Pay careful attention to what they are eating, think about their carbohydrates, protein, and fiber, as they need a balanced diet. Try not to rely on bought baby food; it's good to offer a mix. 
  •  Try not to feed their solids too close to a nap, as this can ruin their nap or their night sleep. 
  • Introduce iron-rich foods once they are six or seven months plus, as low iron, magnesium, zinc, or protein can all be reasons sleep is disrupted, especially in toddlers! 
  • If your child has a dairy intolerance or allergy, this applies to their solid food, too, not just formula. 
  •  If they are sensitive to you eating certain foods while breastfeeding, this can also occur if they eat them as solids. 
  • Watch for a change in bowel motions and any skin reaction. Always try a new food at midday so night sleep is not ruined if they do react! 

How is your weaning and solid food journey going? 

Watch our Facebook video on Solids and Sleep.

Our online sleep program comes complete with starting solids information.

Plus complete lists of stage one, stage two and stage three foods so you will never be lost about what to feed and when.


Emma Purdue

Emma is the owner and founder of Baby Sleep Consultant, she is a certified infant and child sleep consultant, Happiest Baby on the block educator, has a Bachelor of Science, and Diploma in Education. Emma is a mother to 3 children, and loves writing when she isn't working with tired clients and cheering on her team helping thousands of mums just like you.


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