Mothers never seem to get enough sleep, and many wonder what are the top baby dinner food recipes to help your baby sleep through the night. Here are some tips and recipes that will help in doing just that:
First off, you need to make your baby’s dinner be their biggest meal of the day. That ensures he or she has a full tummy and that can aide in helping them to sleep soundly through the night. If the baby has a good night’s rest, it means you, as a parent, can take a break too.
Feeding your child at the right time also aids in helping them sleep through the night. So, if you want them to sleep better, try giving them dinner about an hour and a half before their bedtime. This gives time for the food to settle and start to digest.
In what ways does food affect the body?
It’s a fact that some types of foods make babies (and adults too) more awake, while other types of foods cause people to get sleepy. Food that cause sleepiness stimulates the body to produce chemicals, such as melatonin, which makes feel calmer. A substance contained in some foods that does this is known as tryptophan. Tryptophan helps the brain make serotonin, and from that it can produce melatonin, which is also known as the sleep hormone.
Some foods that contain a lot of tryptophan are:
- Poultry, especially turkey (think about how sleepy you may have gotten after a huge meal on Thanksgiving!)
- Bananas – Bananas contain magnesium, which has been proven to be a natural muscle relaxant and also helps to promote sleep. Bananas also have other natural ingredients that help with sleep, including melatonin and serotonin.
- Certain dairy products, especially some kind of cheeses. One idea is to give your baby some bananas (pureed for infants) along with some nice warm milk at bedtime to encourage sleepiness.
- Green leafy vegetables – Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach also has a lot of tryptophan. They are also healthy in many other ways too, so the fact they may promote sleep is an added bonus. There are baby dinners out there that are in a pureed form, as well as toddler meals that contain spinach or other related veggies that you could try.
- Oatmeal — Especially warm oatmeal helps to soothe the stomach and promote sleep. (Look below for a recipe for some delicious oatmeal your child will love)
- Whole grains – Whole grains are a complex food with lots of carbohydrates. This kind of food helps the body to make insulin, and that is another hormone that helps people sleep better. So, if your child is old enough, try giving them a snack of a few whole grain crackers perhaps with some cheese on top. You can also serve up other whole grain products like bread or a bagel if you child is old enough to eat them.
- Eggs – Try some scrambled eggs mixed with cheese to get double the sleep inducing features.
- Beans – Beans also have a lot of tryptophan in them. Plus they are loaded with protein too and contain a lot of fiber. All these things work together to help your child fall asleep and stay asleep since the fiber fills them up so they won’t wake up hungry again a few hours later.
- Rice — Rice too will help a child sleep better. If an infant, you can use baby rice cereal and either feed it directly to them mixed with some warm milk, or if younger maybe just add a spoonful of it to their nightly bottle. Rice is high up on the glycemic index, so even though it gives them energy at first, it causes a crash a couple hours later, thus inducing sleep.
So, what are some other ways to use the above foods to help make your child sleepy at bedtime? Depending on their age, here are some possible combos to help your child sleep more soundly. For instance, you can combine some turkey with potatoes (if an infant maybe fee them pureed baby food turkey and some mashed potatoes), or for toddlers who aren’t sleeping all night, try feeding them some baby food pasta with a bit of grated cheese on the top, or maybe some scrambled eggs and a piece of wheat bread.
If your baby still drinks bottles, then after they eat their dinner foods, top it off with a nice warm bottle of milk. There’s a good chance this will finish soothing your child and help him go to sleep and stay asleep for several hours. You can also add a bit of cereal to their last bottle before bedtime. Just a tablespoon or so is enough, and make sure the bottle is nice and warm.
Warm Oatmeal and apples
This meal combines oats, which have lots of fiber, and apples. For infants it is best to use pureed apples in the recipe. This recipe should make enough for two servings.
- One half cup oats
- Two cups of water or you can use milk for part of the amount of liquid if desired
- 1 cup apple slices (for toddlers) or a jar of pureed apples for babies
Cook the oatmeal by adding the liquid (water, milk or combo) and adjust the consistency to how you need it. Cook until it thickens. Then add the pureed apples or apple slices. Stir. Cook until the slices soften, or until it is done, about five or six minutes. Serve warm.
We mentioned rice as a sleep inducing food earlier. Here is another tasty recipe for helping your child sleep:
Apple Rice pudding
- A quarter cup of short-grain rice
- 1 cup of milk
- Two tablespoons pureed apples
- Sugar (just a tiny bit if desired)
Wash the rice, cover with water and soak for half hour. Boil the milk, then add in the rice. Then add the pureed apples. Put on low heat and cook about 10 minutes until soft. If needed add more liquid for thinning it to the consistency needed. Add the sugar if desired. Serve warm.
Note: Once again, for younger infants, you could use baby rice cereal and make it warm with some milk and stir in some pureed apples.
All in all, there is no magic way to ensure your child sleeps through the night, but by following the above suggestions you could get a few more well needed hours of rest.