In our parent's day they were told to put a little rice cereal in their babies' bottle from as early as 6 weeks to help with sleep, now days that’s looked at as a big no-no. Our parents were told to introduce puree as their babies first solid, which is still a popular option that lines the supermarket shelves. But now baby lead weaning is what you need to be doing!
It can all be so overwhelming and us parents want to make sure we are doing what's best for our bubs, we are the sleep specialist so were here to help make the process of introducing solids that little bit easier by letting you know how it will affect your babies sleep and what you can do to try and make sure the household is getting the right amount of shuteye.
Starting your baby on solids is such an exciting time but it can also leave you feeling a little confused about what is best. Your mind is rushing with things like start earlier so it will help bubs sleep better and then someone else mentioned to wait, where here to help shed some light and make the decision a little easier for you. But remember whatever you decide doesn’t mean you can’t change it or that what worked for someone else is going to work for your baby.
So when will my baby be ready for solids?
- They have good head & neck control
- They can sit up on their own
- They are grabbing at your food and opening their mouth while watching you eat
- Baby has lost the tongue-thrust reflex and does not automatically push solids out of his/her mouth with their tongue.
- Bubs can pick things up between the thumb and forefinger
How will this all affect my babies sleep?
A recent study indicated that your baby will sleep longer once they are weaned onto solids but guess how much longer that actually was.........6-7 minutes! The children that slept longer also all had strict bedtime routines which in our eyes is an indication that the study results were not solely based on the introduction of solids. Having a strict bedtime routine has been proven to aid in a longer slumber. The current research we see as being skewed, some studies still say that giving your baby solids will help with sleep and others say that it can actually have the opposite affect and negatively impact your babies sleep (especially if starting before they are showing readiness signs). We recommend that you go with what you feel is right for you and your baby and look at what signs your baby is showing that he or she is ready to commence solids.
Reasons solids might negatively affect your babies sleep
- Their tummy may not adjust straight away, they now have to produce a different range of enzymes to digest their food and their gut flora is changing as a result
- Nappy leakage may be more common
- Food was given too close to nap time, with them not having digested the food
- They can become constipated
- New bowel motions can have bubs waking
- Too much fruit can sometimes leave their tummies unsettled
- Too much protein at dinner can have an effect on them at night, try giving it to them just at lunch to begin with
- Think about how easily digestible foods are, start them off with the basics and then work them up towards the superfoods like Avocado
- Know what the right portion size is for their age/stage. They might try and demolish the whole banana but in actual fact should only be eating a piece 3-4cm in size.
- Your baby is not physiologically ready, some say you can start solids at 3mths but at this age most babies haven't developed good enough head control
- If you’ve introduced solids to early this can lead into a reduction in breastmilk/formula intake and its associated antibodies. The introduction of solids before 6mths also has an increased risk of gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses.