Know what foods make sleepy babies?
The relationship between foods and good sleeping patterns
When a person sleeps, the functions of his or her body behave quite slower than usual. Digestion is no exception. So, it’s necessary to review what food the baby eats. Although a food does not harm sleep as such, bad routines can hinder their sleep habits. In this sense, very abundant meals, too sweet or salty, very seasoned or high in fat, can generate discomfort. They don’t allow the infant to fall asleep or not have a good rest. These meals slow the digestion even more and the child can feel with his belly very full, heavy or relaxed, and that causes pain. There are even foods that if given in excess before going to sleep, such as red or white meat, which need a longer digestion process. They will cause indigestion or, sometimes, reflux and thirst. Providing food and immediately taking the baby to sleep will also trigger some discomfort. Fats slow the rate at which the stomach empties into the intestine. They also encourage the reflux of food and gastric juices from the stomach into the esophagus, which can lead to hiccups, heartburn, nausea and sometimes vomiting. Moreover, if too much fluid is given, your sleep will be interrupted by the need to go to the bathroom.
Beneficial Routines before to sleep
The idea is to eat foods that aren’t as ‘heavy’ before going to bed and to handle smaller portions than lunch. Foods should be soft, lightly seasoned, easily digestible – such as cereals, rice, pasta, pancakes and vegetables, with light dressings, fruits and small portions of protein. Giving your toddler solids first and then liquids is our advice. All these routines favor gastric emptying and, therefore, sleep. As for the consumption of beverages that would favor sleep, infusions with herbs such as chamomile water are simply beliefs. The ideal is for the child to fall asleep without any kind of help, but to keep the same schedules. Although he clarifies that if children drink them, there is no problem because they are natural drinks. Yes, you can offer milk or formula at a warm temperature, which favors sleep and rest. Avoid juices or other sugary drinks. Water can also be given at the end of the meal, to promote digestion and emptying of the stomach.
Good routine: the key
- Maintain food and sleep schedules.
- It is ideal that the infant feeds at least one hour or hour and a half before going to bed.
- The foods that can be eaten, before going to sleep, are: cereals, vegetables, low protein. A menu, for example, could be pasta with vegetables and a spoonful of meat or chicken, or rice with vegetables and chicken, for example.
- If your kid eats two hours before going to bed, you can give him or her breast milk (if he or she is still getting it) or a glass with 4 or 5 ounces of warm infant formula (if he or she is under 2 years old) to help him or her sleep.
- Children should eat around 6 or 7 p.m.
- Avoid greasy foods and packaged foods, as well as sausages.
These are the main mistakes that parents make and should be avoided when feeding and putting their toddlers to bed:
- Toast abundant portions, preparations with cold meats (ham, sausages) and cheeses. Parents think these foods are milder, but they actually increase thirst and can cause discomfort. Also, soups, creams and broths with a lot of liquid saturate the child.
- Offer a baby bottle with formula or regular milk and cereals, 2 and 3 times during the night-dream, as if the child were a newborn, because it wakes up ‘hungry’, actually preventing a restorative rest. This habit can cause reflux.
- Skipping dinner. All children need to eat before going to sleep, but soft foods should be provided Indigestion and sleep depriving colic.
When adults provide abundant portions of foods not recommended for eating before bedtime, they don’t digest all. Digestive enzymes (substances that ‘break’ food) become saturated and do not digest all foods. These are not absorbed and pass to the colon (large intestine) and are substrates source for bacteria. This may generate excessive gas, bloating (swelling of your tummy), colic, among others. Therefore, they do not allow the child to sleep peacefully. So, it is important to provide soft foods, have schedules and rest before resting. But, colic in older children who already eat everything, happens because the colon is relaxed, air is produced and abdominal pain is felt. There are certain foods that can cause this ache, even before bedtime but at any time of day, such as whole milk, big-headed onion, cabbage and black pepper. There are also children who are susceptible to melon, sideburns, pineapple, avocado, grains, etc., so parents should be attentive and test their child because there are foods and moments that can not be generalized. For example, the pediatrician can be consulted to determine the best milk for the child when he or she is no longer breastfed. A child with abdominal pain should never be given any medication. Homemade remedies can be provided, taken to the bathroom, helped to expel gas to see if there is improvement. It also helps a circular massage with a hot element on the belly. And the consumption of infusions with good herb, lemongrass or celery, for example. If the pain does not subside, the emergency service should be used. If you have taken all these recommendations into account, your baby will probably sleep peacefully. Finally, remember that perhaps the most key element in making it easier for your baby to sleep is the right choice of mattress for his or her crib. We invite you to review our complete article on the best crib mattresses.