It's an incredibly common concern that many parents have - will starting solids make my baby's sleep worse?
As your little one progresses through trying new foods and their digestive system adapts, they can be more unsettled at sleep times during the day and night. This doesn't mean they will be unsettled - it simply means they may be.
Here are some tips to support your little one to sleep as well as possible during their introduction to solids:
It can be helpful to offer new foods in the middle of the day so that they are less likely to be unsettled overnight - especially in those early months of starting solids.
For the first few months, offer plant based protein in the evenings rather than animal based protein. Animal based protein takes longer for our babies to digest and can cause some tummy upsets. After those first few months - start trialling some animal based protein at dinner time and see how they go with that new addition.
When blood sugar levels are low - adrenaline is released. This can lead to sleep disturbances for your baby. Offering low GI carbohydrates at each meal (sweet potato, legumes, lentils, baby rice, pasta) will support your baby to sleep well.
Being deficient in iron can result in poorer quality and quantity of sleep. Offer a range foods including iron such as red meat (beef and lamb), liver, eggs, salmon, poultry, leafy greens, tofu, lentils, pulses, beans, dates, figs, almonds, oats and quinoa.
Serotonin and melatonin hormones are sleep inducing neurotransmitters. They are supported by tryptophan rich foods such as turkey, chicken, nuts, kidney beans, oats, eggs and dairy. Include a variety of these foods to support these sleep inducing hormones.
The connection between food and sleep is significant in many ways. Empowering yourself with knowledge about how to best support your baby with the solids transition is key :)
Nutritionist and Mum Thea Doyle from Thea Jayne Nutrition and I have co-written a book talking all things food and sleep. Eat Well Sleep Well is a 76-page eBook that will inspire and educate you with the resources you need to make nourishing food for your baby and set solid foundations around sleep and nutrition early on.