When a baby is exclusively breastfed, whether breastfeeding or artificial, and it is time to start complementary feeding, one of the most widespread popular 'recommendations' is the introduction of the cereal bottle at bedtime so that he sleeps best. Moreover, if it is only breastfeeding, it is even suggested that formula milk with cereals is better to promote a night's rest. Nothing is further from reality. Find out why giving baby cereal to get more sleep is not true.
According to published scientific studies, even since the 80s, in which the rest pattern of babies with different types of feeding is observed, the cereal bottle does not help the child to rest better.
In fact, three studies stand out, the last one carried out in 2015, in which it is clearly observed that there is no difference in the sleep pattern of babies who are given solids before going to bed compared to those who do not. they are given solids. When introducing complementary feeding we can find several situations:
- The baby slept well before and now too. !! Congratulations!! It is not the usual thing, but it can happen, and if your baby slept through it before 6 months and continues to do so - nobody assures that it will continue, so ... - enjoy while it lasts!
- The baby did not sleep before and now he begins to do so. Fantastic! All babies start to fall asleep at some point, and now it's up to yours, but don't look for reasons, much less relate it to complementary feeding, it has nothing to do with it. Relax and enjoy your well-deserved night's rest.
- The baby did not sleep before and now neither. Probably the most common case, 6-month-old babies are still small and it will come to that moment.
- The baby used to sleep well and now he stops doing it. After you've savored the honeys of a relatively long rest, it's hard to get up again to tend to the baby, right?
All these cases lead us to affirm that there are reasons why complementary feeding can affect children's sleep in one way or another. Do you want to know them?
- The introduction of solids in young babies is to complement their breastfeeding, so that milk should continue to be their basic food, from which they obtain the vast majority of energy and micronutrients. However, on many occasions an attempt is made to substitute the intake of milk for one of solids, generally pureed vegetables.
Vegetables are much lower in calories than milk. They are loaded with vitamins and minerals, yes, but they do not provide energy to the baby, so it may have a full little stomach, but not meet its nutritional needs, and obviously, as it would happen to an adult, it will go hungry. This will result in a more than probable increase in nocturnal awakenings, since the baby will need to cover the caloric needs that he has not satisfied during the day.
- If, in addition to starting complementary feeding, you have decided to stop breastfeeding to offer bottles to your little one, you should bear in mind that, most likely, it costs him much more to digest than breast milk, which directly affects his behavior in general, and even more to his ability to sleep uninterruptedly.
- The introduction of solids has an impact on the baby's gastrointestinal tract. Digestions change and the body has to adapt to it, which takes time. Digestions are lengthened and it is advisable to space the intakes of solids so as not to overload the child's stomach.
- In addition, the appearance of constipation is very common, more pronounced in children who were exclusively breastfed and even more so if now, in addition to complementary feeding, they do so with formula milk. Constipation can cause discomfort that affects your night's rest, but that little by little you will return to normal. We can facilitate the process by choosing fruits such as pear, kiwi or plums, which tend to relieve constipation and avoiding others such as apple or banana.
- Cereals in general increase constipation. By using the milk, broth or water with which they are made, mainly, to hydrate the cereals, the volume of liquid that the baby has to facilitate intestinal transit decreases, making the stool much harder. These hard stools accumulated in the baby's intestine make him extremely uncomfortable and he will most likely wake up more times than he used to.
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