Join Abbey O'Hearn, Certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant and Owner of ‘Sleep and Co’ to learn about adapting your baby's sleep routine when starting solids.
So you’re about to start the exciting journey of starting solids, or you’re about to introduce an additional meal but you’re wondering how to fit it all into the day and not disrupt your baby’s sleep routine?
You’re in luck: here are some practical tips to help you keep your baby’s tummy full, and their sleep on track;
Implement a ‘feed, play, sleep routine’ if you haven’t already.
The purpose of a feed, play, sleep routine is to have milk and solid feeds at the beginning of your baby’s awake time, followed by play then back to sleep for their next nap.
The benefits here are two-fold: milk feeds happen when bub is alert and can take a full feed, and solid feeds (usually about 20-30 mins after the milk feed) have time to digest before the next sleep to prevent your baby from having a sore tummy.
Start with LUNCH
Whilst adults may be inclined to start with breakfast, as this is traditionally our first meal of the day, babies are better off starting with their solids at ‘lunch’ time. To make this happen, after their morning nap, offer a full milk feed then wait 20-30 mins before offering solids. Once your baby is well established on lunch, the next meal to introduce is dinner, and breakfast comes last.
Hint: ‘Lunch’ for babies is often far earlier than what adults consider to be lunch time!
Starting solids should be fun! If your baby is resisting it, turning their head or clamping their mouth shut, take the pressure off and end the meal. Try again the next day, or a few days later.
This is important as not only do we want your baby to have positive experiences with starting solids, we also don’t want the time it takes for them to have a milk feed and some solids to take up their entire awake period – play time is also important for sleep!
Choose your first foods wisely.
The world of first foods is exciting, but make sure that you’re choosing foods which are easy on your baby’s tummy to start with. Foods such as: sweet potato, pumpkin, avocado, apples, pears are all great first foods as they are less likely to contribute to unpleasant gas or constipation.
Note: babies love bananas, but these can cause gas in the early stages of starting solids, so they are best offered after a few other foods have been tried and tested first.
Solids can be had ‘out and about’.
If you’re worried about managing to fit in solids, naps, and milk feeds all whilst not being house bound – don’t worry! The key here is being prepared. Have your bottles prepared if on formula, your solids ready to go and then feed your baby whilst out and about. This is a great way to change your scenery, get some fresh air.
Tip: the morning nap is a great nap to have ‘on-the-go’ in the car, pram or carrier and this works especially well for parents with a toddler, or older kids who need to get out for drop offs, or morning activities.
About the Author
Hello – I’m Abbey O’Hearn, a Certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant and Registered Intensive Care Paramedic.
I’m also a Mum to two gorgeous little girls, and it was my love of helping others as well as my own journey into motherhood which led me down the path of sleep consulting.
I have a huge passion for maternal mental health, and ensuring that families are getting the sleep support that they need
For more information about me, or to enquire about a consultation, head to www.sleepandco.com.au.
You can follow me for all your sleep advice on Instagram @sleepandcoaust