Will Solid Food help my baby sleep through the night?


No! That is a myth.

Many parents ask me if starting solid food will help improve their baby’s sleep. Solid food or a full tummy is not what helps a baby sleep when they are over four months old. There are no studies which show that starting solid food will lead to a child sleeping through the night. Solid food takes longer to digest than milk, but it is not the slower digestion or full tummy which keeps the baby asleep.

A newborn baby needs to eat frequently. Hunger will wake the baby up and filling that little tummy will promote sleep for the new baby. A newborn is going to need to be fed every two to three hours during the night. As the baby grows, the baby will develop the ability neurologically and physically to increase the time between feedings. Babies will tend to get the correct amount of calories within a 24-hour time period. If a baby receives the majority of their food during the daytime, the baby will not physically need as much food at night by the age of three or four months.

Around the age of sixteen weeks major sleep development happens. Their sleep changes to include sleep cycles similar to adults but the cycles are shorter. The baby needs to learn the skill of moving from one sleep cycle to the next sleep cycle. A tummy full of milk or solid food does not help the baby move from one  cycle to the next. Sleep is not dependent on having a full tummy.

Sleep is a skill your baby needs to learn. It is good to have a plan to promote your baby learning the ability to get from the awake state to the sleep state on their own, which leads to learning to move from one sleep cycle to the next during the night. That ability will lead to better and longer sleep for your baby and you.

Your baby will learn to love solid food, but the solid food does not promote sleep.

Questions? Contact me at: https://www.gentletouchsleeptime.com/contact-me/

Helping Babies Sleep

Arlene Fryling

Arlene is a registered nurse and certified sleep consultant for children 0-5 years. She has cared for premature, sick, and many healthy babies. For over 15 years she has taught expectant parents how to care for their newborns through classes teaching basic baby care, infant massage classes, and moderating support groups for new moms as they deal with parenting issues.

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