Expert advice for parents: Does solid food help babies sleep better?

by Digby Kennard

Will solids help my baby sleep through the night, and is it OK to give her shop-bought baby food?

When it comes to baby food, the shop-bought versus home-made is a common conundrum

"The belief that solids will help your baby sleep through the night is common but unfortunately untrue.

"When a baby starts eating solids they often take in less milk, meaning they may even eat less as many weaning foods contain less energy than milk does.

"However, babies don't just wake up at night because they're hungry. They wake up because they're thirsty, cold or unsettled. How many adults do you know that really sleep through the night?

"As for giving him or her shop-bought baby food - the shop-bought versus home-made is a common conundrum. We want to cook home-made meals for our baby but we also lead busy lives.

Babies don't just wake up at night because they're hungry

Babies don't just wake up at night because they're hungry

 

"It's important to consider what works best for your family and budget, but to also give your baby variety, as exposure to lots of tastes and textures helps your baby learn to eat a wide range of foods.

"Try to avoid giving only shop-bought food, as although it must meet minimum nutrient standards, many varieties are very high in added sugar.

"Often, recommended portion sizes on the jars are also too much, particularly for younger babies. Make sure you just feed your baby how much they want rather than encouraging them to finish the jar."

Infant feeding expert Dr Amy Brown, an associate professor in the Department of Public Health at Swansea University and author of Why Starting Solids Matters

Why Starting Solids Matters (Pinter Martin, £7.99)

Why Starting Solids Matters (Pinter & Martin, £7.99)

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