Is food keeping your baby (and you!) awake?
One thing we often don’t consider when we have an unsettled, wakeful baby or a restless, irritable toddler is food – this can include natural, healthy foods as well as additives in processed foods. One group of food chemicals that can affect littlies’ sleep (or lack of) are salicylates. These are naturally occurring chemicals which are found in otherwise healthy foods such as broccoli, grapes, berries, apples, oranges and tomatoes as well as in some processed foods. Parents I work with have reported remarkable changes in their baby or toddlers’ sleep patterns, with simple dietary changes.
Tracking down offending foods in your child’s or your own diet (if you are breastfeeding) may take some effort, especially for already exhausted parents, but in the long run it could gain you more sleep. If you think that sleeplessness may be related to foods in your diet passing through your breast-milk, keep a notepad handy and jot down your baby’s crying times and what you eat to see if they are linked. If there appears to be a ‘cause and effect’ between foods in your diet and your baby’s crying, an inexpensive and simple solution is to eliminate the suspect food for at least a week, preferably two weeks. If your baby’s sleep patterns improve, you can either be thankful and avoid the suspect food, or you can reintroduce a small amount of the food into your diet – if the night-waking or allergy symptoms re-occur, you can be pretty certain you have ‘nailed’ the culprit.
Elimination of foods may take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to make a difference to your baby or toddler’s behaviour so allergies and food sensitivities are difficult to prove or disprove, but if it calms your baby (and you), modifying your diet is a small sacrifice - Pinky McKay
Pinky McKay, International Board certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and best-selling baby care author is the creator of ‘Boobie Bikkies’ , nutritious cookies for breastfeeding mums made from all natural and organic ingredients to boost your energy and encourage a healthy milk supply – without upsetting your baby! Find out more about Pinky’s books, including ‘Sleeping Like a Baby’ (www.pinkymckay.com.au )and her Boobie Bikkies (www.boobiebikkies.com.au )