Any parent of a baby or toddler longs for their baby to be a sleepy angel and sleep through the night.  Frantic google searches in the small hours ask, “how can I help my baby settle to sleep” or “sleep tips for toddlers”.  In this article, we take a close look at foods that can help your baby sleep through the night.  We’ll look at tips that can support quality sleep for your baby and for you, and we’ll be discussing tasty mealtime options that are a win-win when it comes to helping your baby to sleep through the night.

So What Foods Will Help My Toddler Sleep?

Generally speaking, look for foods that are high in melatonin which helps to control the body’s circadian rhythm, vitamin B6 which helps brain produce melatonin, tryptophan and vitamin C which helps to produce serotonin and melatonin. Also foods rich in potassium and magnesium.

 

List Of Sleep Inducing Foods To Help Your Child Sleep:

  • Tart cherries and tart cherry juice

  • Banana, Pineapple, Kiwi, Figs, Oranges

  • Avocado, tomatoes

  • Broccoli, carrots, sweetcorn

  • Kale, spinach, lettuce

  • Soybeans (edamame)

  • Milk, Natural unsweetened yoghurt

  • Eggs

  • Poultry

  • fatty fish

  • Walnuts, pistachios and. cashews

  • Oats and wheat

  • Rice, beans, lentils

  • sweet potatoes, butternut squash

blog photos with alt text 11

What Should Breastfeeding Mum Eat To Help Baby Sleep?

Many Mums choose to breastfeed their baby, and in doing so, you can ensure your breast milk is rich in sleep supporting foods.  Nutrients in foods that Mum’s eat pass through into breastmilk.  Breastfeeding Mums should avoid excess stimulants in their diet, such as caffeine, artificial additives and sugar if they are serious about foods to help baby sleep through the night.  Likewise, eating foods that are rich in the amino acid, tryptophan, can be a smart choice for breastfeeding Mums who want to support their baby’s sleep.  So what should breastfeeding mum eat? Tryptophan is found in a range of foods such as turkey, eggs, wheat and oats, soy products, bananas and green leafy vegetables.  All these foods contain tryptophan which supports the production of the hormone melatonin to regulate sleep.

blog photos with alt text 12

Weaning And Foods To Help Baby Sleep Well

As your baby begins to wean at about 6-months of age, you can introduce foods that help baby to sleep through the night.  Aim for foods that are nutritious and easy to digest, and steer clear of stimulants such as caffeine and artificial additives.  Many parents don’t realise that chocolate can contain caffeine, so it’s wise to limit your baby or toddler’s consumption of this sweet treat.

Foods that support sleep for babies and toddlers include those rich in tryptophan as listed above.  You can get creative and introduce shredded turkey into soups and broths for your baby.  Scrambled eggs with small amounts of Spanish wilted down makes a great sleep supporting dinner and its easy to bake simple oat-based cookies sweetened with mashed banana.

In addition, consider slower burning carbohydrates as a smart choice so that nutrients are absorbed at a slower rate.  Oats, sweet potatoes, rice and butternut squash all contain complex carbsFoods rich in B-vitamins also support sleep. Beans, lentils, broccoli, avocados and bananas help your child to produce the calming and relaxing hormones of serotonin and magnesium.

Leading children’s food expert, Annabel Karmel, has some fantastic sleep supporting recipes that you and your baby can enjoy as part of a healthy diet.  The BBC Good Food website lists a range of healthy recipes that include many of the foods listed above, including meal ideas that are suited for baby-led weaning and toddlers.  Aim to cook up a storm for you and your baby in order to make the most of foods that help baby sleep through the night.

A bedtime milk feed for babies and toddlers continues to be an important source of nutrition for your child.  A small warm bottle of milk, or a breastfeed prior to sleep night can have a soothing effect that helps baby sleep through the night.

    girl eating broccoli

    Mealtimes That Help Baby Sleep Through The Night, What Is The Suggested Time To Eat Dinner?

    You’ll know yourself that trying to settle to sleep on a full stomach after a large meal is uncomfortable and unlikely to result in settled sleep.  You baby will benefit from well-timed meals to support them sleep through the night.  A large meal immediately before bed raises your baby’s metabolic rate and body temperature. This can make it harder to settle to sleep.  Aim that the evening meal for babies that are weaning is given around 1 ½ hours before bedtime.  That leaves enough time for awake activity and bath time, and then a final milk feed which will all help with your baby’s sleep.

    In Summary:

    So, to help your baby sleep through the night, aim to build the following tips into your baby’s routine today

    • Avoid foods that will ruin your child’s sleep. If you are breastfeeding, avoid caffeine and artificial additives.

    • Eat foods rich in tryptophan

    • Avoid giving babies that are weaning caffeine and artificial additives.

    • Sleep supporting foods for babies that are weaning include foods rich in tryptophan, B-vitamins and complex carbohydrates.

    • Allow time for your baby to digest their evening meal before bed.

    • A warm milk drink or breastfeed immediately before bed can help your baby to sleep well.

    references:

     Friedman M. (2018). Analysis, Nutrition, and Health Benefits of Tryptophan. International journal of tryptophan research: IJTR, 11, 1178646918802282. https://doi.org/10.1177/1178646918802282

     Tardy, A. L., Pouteau, E., Marquez, D., Yilmaz, C., & Scholey, A. (2020). Vitamins and Minerals for Energy, Fatigue and Cognition: A Narrative Review of the Biochemical and Clinical Evidence. Nutrients, 12(1), 228. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010228

      Have you downloaded your freebie yet? Top 10 Baby Sleep Coach Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better Guide! If not, then make sure to click here.


      For more advice on how to help your baby sleep and find a baby sleep solution that works for you and your family, you can check out our
       1 : 1 consultation services or our new baby sleep guides which come with free access to my Sleepy Village Facebook community for easy access to get your questions answered.

      We are Social

      %d bloggers like this: