by on September 29, 2021  in Baby Education /
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Does feeding your baby solid foods earlier help in them sleeping more soundly?

Does feeding your baby solid foods earlier help them sleep more soundly? Oh, my, is that ever a loaded question! First, let’s think about a few things. Is the baby breast fed? How early is “earlier”? Earlier than what? Does the child have food allergies? Are food allergies common in the family? Is the infant on special formula? Without knowing the real answer to these questions, the initial one is difficult to answer. Let’s go at this a different way.

The Perfect Baby Food

Under most circumstances, the milk of a healthy human mom is the best food for a human infant. It is perfectly balanced, calibrated to the child’s heritage and it is chock full of antigens and antibodies that can help keep a baby from catching every passing germ. More than that, it is convenient. It is always on tap, requires no heating, no bottles to wash. With minimal personal hygiene, the mom should not experience any of those horrible things that are described in many books such as chapped nipples, cracked or sore nipples, engorged breasts, etc., etc. That is not to say that these things cannot happen. But in most cases, the solutions are easy – a food grade moisturizer, making sure nipples are dry after a feeding, and similar common sense solutions. For a stay-at-home mom, breast feeding is the easiest, most economical way to feed a baby. Here a some tips on how to properly bottle feed your baby.

In today’s economic environment, it is a lucky mom, indeed, who gets to stay at home with baby after the first six weeks. To maintain breastfeeding, she is likely to have to pump during the day, and that isn’t always easy to manage on the job. Being unable to allow the baby to nurse can cause some of the problems described above, and the sheer, unmitigated hassle of trying to deal with breast milk, daycare, breast pumps and the whole rest of it can lead to early weaning to a bottle at the very least.


One Tired Mama

Working all day then caring for an infant half the night can lead to high stress and a sincere longing for the little darling to please, please sleep through the night. So by about the time Baby is eight weeks old, or two weeks after mom goes back to work, rice cereal gets mixed into formula or breastmilk at the eight or nine pm feeding in the sincere hope that Baby dearest will have a full tummy and will snooze until the alarm goes off, instead of being the 3:00 am alarm system.

Sometimes, it works. But, sometimes, it backfires.

Maturation and Digestion

Prepared baby foods are, in a very real sense of the word, the result of commerce. The baby food business is big business. That doesn’t make it bad. Having food that is ready for Baby to eat without the extreme labor of cooking, mashing and straining is a true blessing.

But here’s the real scoop: your baby has a perfectly sound biological clock that dictates when he or she is ready for solid food. Your best indicator that your infant is ready to taste-test solids is when he or she starts teething. Even then, for at least the first six months of life, your baby’s best nutrition is a healthy mama’s milk or the formula prescribed by your pediatrician. Your little mammal is hardwired to live on milk until he or she has chompers and hands that can hold and manipulate food. This will usually start to occur around age four months.

What happens when you feed your baby solids before he or she can properly digest them? Just about what you might expect: a tummy ache. You can bet that you won’t be getting any extra sleep if you are up most of the night with a colicky baby!

Taste Testing the World

One way your baby signals that he or she is ready to try solids is by watching you eat or perhaps even grabbing at the spoon as you guide it toward your own mouth. This is when you can judiciously start allowing your little one to try a taste of this or that. Most pediatricians will recommend introducing one single food, then waiting a week or two. There are good, solid reasons for this.

If your baby develops a reaction to a food, it is easier to track the cause of the problem if there has been only one small change in his or her diet, instead of dozens. Although a lot has been said (often loudly and long) about commercial baby foods, most go through much more stringent testing and care than regular foods. You can be pretty sure they are safe for your youngster to try. But babies have been introduced to gravy, ice cream, bananas, and even food pre-chewed by mom for centuries and often thrive on some pretty weird stuff. It probably doesn’t hurt to err on the side of caution, however. We do know about germs these days.

Tiny Tank Needs Filled Often

Babies are doing some pretty important stuff in those first weeks when it seems as if all they do is eat, make dirty diapers, sleep, eat and make more diapers. They are working hard at learning about their new world. They are listening to their mom, to people around them and getting a feel for how things are. They are learning to connect. And they are growing, body, brain, mind and soul, they are growing. All that growing takes a lot of fuel, and they don’t have a very big tank (tummy), so it needs filled up often. Breast milk digests quickly and well, so breast fed babies might need to top up a little more often than babies on formula. Don’t worry – they’ll catch up just fine.

Levelling Out

You don’t have to do anything special to get your baby sleeping on your schedule. Feed your little sweetie when that tummy is empty, cuddle briefly and tuck him or her back into bed. Take some time to talk and play during the daytime. Maturation is a wonderful thing. Soon you will both be able to sleep through the night.

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