Foods That Help Babies Sleep
Babies can go through periods during which they have trouble sleeping through the night, and this disruption can wreak havoc on the parents. A number of foods are purported to be capable of helping people sleep, and babies are not immune to their effects. When dealing with a baby or child who is refusing to sleep, feeding him certain foods can contribute to more restful sleep.
Bananas contain a number of properties that make them a popular sleep aid, such as serotonin and melatonin, both of which have soothing properties. Bananas also contain magnesium, which relaxes muscles and thus helps a baby drift off to sleep. Bananas are quite palatable for babies, and you can mash them and mix them with any type of baby food or serve them independently as a sweet dessert before bed. You can also mix bananas with other sleep-inducing foods to enhance their calming effects.
Warm milk contains calcium and tryptophan, which is an animo acid. Tryptophan has a sedative effect, and calcium helps the brain make better use of the tryptophan. A baby who is already conditioned to accept a bottle before bedtime will have little difficulty enjoying some warm milk before going to bed. Warm formula also has a sedative-like effect, but without the tryptophan. However, parents should note that infants under age 1 year should not consume cow's milk.
Mix a small amount of honey with warm milk or mashed bananas to increase both foods’ sedative-like effects. Although a large amount of sugar or sweetness is generally stimulating, in small quantities, glucose can tell your brain that it is time to simmer down by turning off a neurotransmitter known as orexin, which has been linked to alertness. Babies under age 1 year should not consume honey because they cannot properly digest it, but a small amount mixed with regular food can help older babies go to sleep at night with less issue.
Oats are beneficial when it comes to inducing sleep, because they increase melatonin, which has a sedative effect. Mix oats with warm milk or mashed bananas to create an even more powerful sleep aid for your baby. Soft, warm oatmeal is a healthy meal choice for babies and will fill them up with high-quality, sleep-inducing nutrients before bed 1.
- "Naturally Healthy First Foods for Baby: The Best Nutrition for the First Year and Beyond"; Jacqueline Rubin; 2008
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