Sleep disturbances are common with babies. They are so common that ma parents are reluctant to define their situation as a “problem.”
A baby seems to change every day; as she grows and learns, parents expect that she will learn to sleep when she is able. Some babies learn on their own. Some do not. The advantage of working on sleep problems with infants is that their habits are not as ingrained. Sometimes by making a small change a parent can bring about a real improvement. Things may improve on their own if you wait long enough, but you may not be able to wait. Or things could get worse and harder to change. If your infant is six months or older, now is a good time to begin.
Will feeding solid food early help my child sleep better? Research does not support this idea. Sleeping a long stretch at night has more to do w neurological than with digestive functioning. The current medical recommendation is to start solid food at four to six months of age. Your child’s doctor can help you determine the best time for your child according to his si birth weight, and health.
It probably will not hurt to try offering solids, but do not hope for instant success. Also, remember that over-feeding at bedtime will only lead to disrupted sleep. Try to avoid “stuffing” him right before bed.
There are ways that feeding can be used to affect sleep. Mealtime is one of the factors that helps to re-set the internal time clock. Making meals regular as possible during the day helps give rhythm to a child’s day and night. When working to change a skewed schedule, moving the mealtime helps establish a new beginning or ending to the day. Solid food at predictable, longer intervals during the day can help lengthen time between meals at day and night. Offering a solid food snack after the last nursing can help prevent falling asleep at the bottle or breast.
In summary, food will not necessarily “keep him full” through the night, it can be used to cue him for sleep.