When it comes to having a baby sleep through the whole night, that may be the stuff of dreams for many parents. It can be quite a struggle to get your baby to sleep through without waking up, or even teaching your baby to lull themselves back to sleep once they have woken up is something that many parents want to achieve. There are so many methods, tips, and tricks out there, and just as many debates as to which ones are truly effective or not.
One popular piece of advice that a lot of people give parents is to give your baby solid food in order to help them sleep. Some suggest cereal in a bottle (although we think this may be a choking hazard) and some recommend giving them a banana or oatmeal right before they head to bed. Still other parents swear by feeding their babies solid food throughout the day, that way the baby won’t be relying on their mama for nursing back to sleep.
One study done by researchers in the US and the UK suggested that early solid food introduction may help. Gideon Lack, a professor of pediatric allergy at King’s College in London said: “An added benefit (of early introduction of solids) is that it seems to confer better sleep for the children.” The study claimed that on average, a three-four month old slept about two hours more every week than those who were just breastfed.
However, one thing to keep in mind that 2 more hours per week adds up to just 17 minutes per day, which many tired parents can attest, is not so significant. While any added sleep is great, the study doesn’t seem to actually concretely prove that it is worth investing in early solid food introduction.
Also, the NHS in the United Kingdom as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend breast feeding exclusively for the first six months of a baby’s life. This way you can be sure that the baby receives the proper nutrition needed from milk. It also avoids the risk of choking on solids.
One thing to always keep in mind is that you’re sure that your baby is eating enough. The best way to determine this is so consult with a pediatrician who can help asses your individual baby’s needs, and will determine when the proper time is to introduce solid foods into their diet.
The unfortunate reality is that some babies just will not sleep throughout the night. In some cases, it will take a year or so for your child to finally sleep through an entire night, and there really is not much that can be done about it.
Sleep consultant Bonnie McGee said: “Waking between sleep cycles is normal for people of all ages. A baby under a year old might legitimately need a night feeding, especially if you’re breastfeeding, but even if they don’t, waking up is a normal part of sleep.”
She also recommends keeping a daily nighttime routine before bed and sticking to it every day. She shared: “At bedtime, I would complete our routine, lay my daughter down and say, ‘It’s sleepy time baby. I love you. Goodnight.’ She began to associate that phrase with the end of the bedtime routine; the signal that sleep is the next step.”
She continued: “Choose a distinct end, and after you’ve established a good bedtime routine, you can repeat the end of your routine during night wakings, hopefully allowing your baby to return to sleep without a lot of help. Most parents can establish a routine with their babies. There is always hope. If you are struggling, people like me can help your baby- and thereby you—sleep more soundly.”