How a successful weaning program can impact your child’s sleep
Chantelle Angel from Dreaming Angels is a Montessori-trained Sleep Consultant. It was after having her first child that she realised the true challenges of being sleep deprived and the impact it can have on one's mental and physical health.
In 2013 Chantelle qualified as an AMI Montessori Directress, and spent several years teaching in Montessori nurseries and schools. She later obtained OCN-certified qualifications in: "Sleep in Children and Sleep Training", "Reflux, CMA, and Early Food Allergies", and "Breastfeeding".
Chantelle has provided some wonderful advice and information on how a successful weaning program can impact your child's sleep. Read on to find out more.
As a paediatric sleep consultant, I often have to look at the role of nutrition on an infant’s overall sleep quality. Before advising any client, they are asked to send me a 48-hour diary of their child’s routine, which in addition to sleep/nap times, will also include their food/milk quantity and timings. Depending on the child’s age, we then may need to make certain adjustments that will aid in their sleep progress.
When babies turn 6 months old, that is typically when most parents will start the weaning process – an important milestone in a child’s development. This can be a particularly bewildering moment for first-time parents, as there’s no “official manual” on how to best transition to fewer milk feeds and at what quantities – this can be especially tricky for breastfeeding mothers as it can be more difficult to measure how much milk the baby is consuming. But if done correctly, this can have a very positive impact on the child’s overall sleep, as this will prevent hunger-related wake-ups during the night.
My personal advice for clients is once your child is between 6-8 months old, then they should have dropped down to around 4 milk-feeds within a 24-hour period, and aiming for 3 meals a day. I would normally recommend a milk-feed first thing in the morning, then again in the late morning, one in mid-afternoon, and finally another milk-feed just before bedtime.
Often clients come to me that are still having many more milk-feeds on an average day, and this has a knock-on effect of making the child less hungry at meal-times. This will then impact the success of their weaning program, and also make it more likely that the infant will wake during the nights in order to consume more milk. Hence in order to stop calorie deficit during the night, reducing milk-feeds is crucial so that your child is hungry enough to eat their solids at mealtimes.
In conclusion: by gradually introducing solid food, paying attention to calorie intake, and establishing a consistent bedtime routine, parents can support their child’s nutritional transition and improve their sleep patterns.
If you’d like any further advice on nutrition and/or sleep training, please don’t hesitate to book in a free consultation with Dreaming Angels.
Please note that your child’s calorie needs will depend on their age, size, and activity level, so it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian to determine the appropriate amount of calories for your child.
Follow Chantelle on Instagram here for more advice.