Dr Frankie Phillips

Top tips on weaning to help with a good night’s sleep

written by Dr Frankie Phillips RD MBDA RNutr (Public Health)

  1. #weaning
  2. #food
  3. #feeding
  4. #toddlers
  5. #sleep

In the early days you probably remember bleary eyed middle of the night milk feeds for your little one howling with hunger, regardless of how much sleep you’d had.

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Many babies start weaning around 6 months, and before and after this they can still be waking at odd times in the night. Babies are always surprising their parents with changing the game so don’t be surprised if your little one’s time for weaning coincides with waking more, chances are it’s little to do with starting solids.

There are some things you can do around weaning time to help with sleep:

  • Teatime meals can include some healthy high tryptophan foods to induce sleep, but they aren’t a panacea. High tryptophan foods include turkey, eggs, cheese, bananas, oats, green leafy veg, smooth nut butters (as whole nuts are not suitable for babies) and some research has shown that these foods help the body make the brain chemicals that bring calm and sleepiness. So a tea-time meal of pasta with turkey and broccoli, or an oaty-topped crumble could be worth a try!
If they eat their greens you could get more sleep!
  • Offer a drink of milk some time before bedtime, but don’t give a big meal too close to bedtime as your little one will still be digesting what they’ve already eaten, which raises metabolic rate and temperature making it more difficult to sleep.

  • If your little one is really still hungry when bedtime approaches, a very small snack such as mini-rice cakes topped with smooth nut-butter or mashed banana, a small oat flapjack or a mini pot of yogurt is enough. By the time you’ve brushed his teeth and read a story he’ll have had time to digest the food before bed.

  • If your little one is still having a breastfeed before bedtime, try to avoid caffeinated drinks as the caffeine can pass into your milk and keep him awake

  • If there are mid-night wake ups, try soothing sounds and giving your little one a few sips of water.
Water can help too

For inspiration to help introduce new taste sensations to babies during weaning see some of the fun activities vlogger Charlie O’Brien tried with her son Noah


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