How does eating affect your child’s sleep- Part 1

Posted by Kath Megaw on 20/08/2015

Sleep in babies and children

Here's a ballpark estimate for how much your baby or child should be sleeping, but remember that all kids are different, and some may need a little more or less than others.

Newborn-2 Month Sleep Tips

1. Newborns sleep in 2- to 4-hour intervals, waking up to eat.

2. Babies this age tend to stir and look restless during sleep. Because of reflexes they can't control, it's common to see them twitch their arms and legs, smile and make sucking noises.

3. Newborns aren't born knowing how to soothe themselves to sleep, so you may need to help, with tricks like using a dummy, swaddling.

Remember, there's no such thing as spoiling a newborn, so it's OK to cuddle baby to help her doze off.

2-4 Month Sleep Tips

1.Babies this age may sleep for six-hour stretches at night, and settle into more of a set nap schedule now.

2.To get baby on a good sleep routine, make sure to play and expose her to lots of sunlight during the day and avoid over-stimulating her when it's dark out.

3.Starting a pre-bedtime sleep routine -- like bath, feeding, story time -- can help ready baby to sleep through the night for longer stretches.

4-6 Month Sleep Tips

1. Babies this age will start to quit night time feedings, and are usually ready to sleep through the night now, anywhere from six- to 12-hour stretches.

2.Research shows about 60 percent of babies sleep through by 6 months, up to 80 percent do so by 9 months.

3.Remember, all babies wake up sometimes during the night, but those who "sleep through" have learned how to nod off on their own.

6-12 Month Sleep Tips

1. Some babies stop sleeping through the night now because of separation anxiety. Your baby knows you're around even when she can't see you, and may get upset when she wakes up.

2.It's OK to go in and check on your crying baby, but keep visits short and try (as hard as it is) not to pick her up or feed her. Try rubbing her back, singing a soothing lullaby and ducking out after a few minutes.

1-2 Year Sleep Tips

1. Active toddlers can have trouble relaxing and winding down at night -- causing bedtime battles. Try to keep things as calm as possible in the evenings, sticking to soothing activities like bath and story time.

2.Once baby learns to climb out of the cot, she may attempt to snuggle in bed with you. This is a hard-to-break habit, so if you don't want to start a co-sleeping situation, bring her back to her own room.

Role of food in sleep

There are lots of theories as to how food can affect sleep. Unfortunately there is not a whole lot of good sound research behind these theories. However one thing we know is that a well nourished, healthy baby and toddler will have a better chance of a good peaceful night sleep. Hunger and illness will most definitely wake up and disrupt the sleep of a baby and toddler. When a child is battling to sleep or sleep is disrupted it is always a good idea to consider nutrition first and foremost as this is the most easy area to fix.

Nutrition can affect sleep in a number of ways:

1. Under nutrition and micronutrient deficiencies

2. Poor nutritional habits eg feeding through the night (especially in older babies and toddlers).


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