Food and sleep go together like PB & Jelly- you can’t have one without the other! Unfortunately, everything to do with food and sleep can cause exhausted parents a ton of stress and worry.
Fear not, my friends- I’ve got you covered!
In this episode, I interview Jessica Gust, who is a Registered Dietitian and owner of Elemental Nutrition. We discuss everything to do with food and sleep- when babies can sleep through the night without milk, the breastmilk vs. formula debate, and everything you need to know about introducing solids to your baby.
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Hey there, you’re listening to the, My Sleeping Baby podcast, which is all about baby and child sleep. I’m so excited to teach you how you can get your little ones sleeping so that you can sleep too and enjoy parenthood to its fullest. I’m Eva Klein, your resident’s sleep expert, mom of three, founder of the Sleep Bible online coaching program, and lover of all things sleep and motherhood. If you’re looking for tangible solutions for your little one sleep woes or you simply want to learn more, this podcast is for you. For more information, check out mysleepingbaby.com and you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook @mysleepingbaby.
Jessica, thank you so much for being here today, to talk all about food and sleep with our babies and toddlers and preschoolers and how it kind of all goes hand in hand together. So why don’t you tell everyone a little bit about yourself and what you do.
Thank you so much for having me. It’s nice to be here again. My name is Jessica gust. I’m a pediatric registered dietician. Um, and my company is called element nutrition co for kids. Um, you can connect with me on Instagram at element nutrition dot kids and also on Facebook. Um, and essentially I work with parents of kids of varying ages, um, between primarily one and 10 years old. Um, and some of the most common topics that I cover are things like starting solids, uh, picky eating, particularly in those early years. Um, and also on, um, weight concerns. So a lot of parents have concerns with their kid’s weight, whether they’re underweight, overweight, um, and a lot of that is related to food and feeding as well. So those are some of the things that I commonly work with. Um, however I would say the top has, can really vary. Um, and I’m just really excited to be here today and talk about sleep and eating because I know that comes up a lot too.
Yes. And I just have to say, I love your Instagram feed. Like it is so amazing. The content that you provide these parents. I mean, I wish when my, when my oldest was a baby nine and a half years ago, that I was able to access this kind of information because you give your followers so much value. So before we go on, where can everyone find you on Instagram? Cause it’s an amazing account to follow.
Yeah. Again, my, my Instagram account is at element nutrition dot kids. You can find it by searching that or my name.
Amazing. And I’m so excited to have you here because, you know, as you said, a question that parents are almost always asking me is, well, how do I know if my baby is waking up at night hungry, does my, two-year-old still need to be eating at night? How much should they be eating during the day? If I introduced, you know, solids early on, it’s not going to help them sleep better at night. And you know, obviously it’s one thing for it to come from me, but it’s another thing to come from, you know, a very qualified and experienced pediatric registered dietician that can offer a ton more value and insight into these specific questions. So let’s actually talk about this, the introducing solids question. So our topic for that matter, I think that there, there is this widely held belief that if you introduce solids to your little ones earlier, or I guess as early as you physically can, that that’s what’s recommended and that’s, what’s going to help them sleep longer. So I’m wondering what your thoughts are on that. When do you recommend that people introduce solids to their little ones and do you find that it helps with sleep?
Um, so the recommendations on starting solids, um, I actually follow the guidelines of the American Academy of pediatrics and also the world health organization. Um, there are two leading organizations that, um, you know, govern the pediatric age for sure. And their recommendation is actually around six months of age, so that around, um, kind of concepts can be very confusing to parents. And so when I’m working with people, um, the re the, the way I described that is they, they use around because not all babies are going to be ready at the same time. So you really want to look at their developmental milestones and how they are individually progressing. Um, you don’t want to start solids before four months of age. So the window is really four to six months and some babies even a little bit after six months, for example, um, a baby born prematurely, you would use their corrected age.
Um, so if they’re born a couple of weeks early, then they may not be ready for solids they’re around six months is going to be a couple of weeks later. So it really depends on when they were born, but also their developmental readiness. So you really want to look for your baby’s cues and identify if they are showing the signs of readiness, because some will show that closer to five months, and some will show that much closer to six months in some, even a little bit after that. So, um, I don’t see a ton of babies showing the developmental readiness signs at the four month range. Um, but I’m not going to say it’s impossible. So, um, at one time they used to recommend starting solids super early, like wait before four months. And we know now that introducing too early can actually be, uh, problematic for many reasons, but one, um, the baby’s digestive tract just isn’t quite ready yet. Um, and then there’s also some research that shows super early introduction may lead to weight issues later in life. So there’s a lot of things around that topic as well.
Yeah, that’s really interesting when my, when my mom, um, was having, I don’t even know why she ended up in the doctor’s office with my younger sister, but I think, I think it was just a regular checkup. So again, my younger sister is 31, so this was quite a while ago. And I think she was talking to the pediatrician about some sleep issues that she was having with her. She might’ve been, I think, two months or so two and a half months at the time. And the pediatrician, again, this is 31 years ago, told her to put rice cereal in the bottle. Yeah, And actually that’s, that’s something.
Well, that ended up what the end result was there. The poor baby screamed her brains off, like the entire day until that rice Euro was digested. And of course you never did it again. Um, that’s clearly indicative of a baby’s digestive tract, just not being ready for food.
Research has come a long way. And, you know, we, we can’t blame our parents for what they didn’t know at that time, but, um, you know, it’s good that we have these guidelines too, so that around six months, um, age is, is really kind of a key term. And then again, from there, we can talk about, um, you know, developmental readiness, how do identify those signs. And, um, that’s, that’s really what I think parents need to know and pay attention to.
Right, right, right, right. So what, what are some of those signs that we should be looking out for that our little ones are actually ready to start eating solids?
Yeah. There’s a number of different signs. Um, I, I feel some carry a little more weight than others, but, um, a couple of the ones that, um, you know, you can look out for, uh, BB picking up food with there, or, um, sorry, not food toys with their hands. So say they’re, you know, blocks, they’re able to pick them up and bring it to their mouth or, um, you know, teething toys or anything like that. And they’re able to really get that into their mouth with kind of that, um, grab of their hands. Um, the tongue thrust is another one. So babies have that kind of reflexive movement where their tongue goes in and out. Um, kind of, um, you know, if you’re, if you’re putting food towards your baby’s mouth and they’re pushing it out constantly with their tongue, that may be a sign of a not quite ready yet.
Um, and then one of the most important ones that I encourage parents to look out for is baby’s positioning. So you want them to be able to sit up mostly independently. Um, you don’t want your baby, like if you were to set your baby on the ground and they immediately just kind of flapped over, um, they couldn’t hold their head up straight. That’s going to be a sign that they’re probably not ready because if they can’t keep their body upright, um, with good alignment, um, that could increase risk for choking as well. So those are just a few of the things that we want to look out for. Um, and of course, interest in food is important, but not the most important one because, you know, babies can kind of seem like they’re showing interest at an earlier age than really when they’re ready. Right,
Speaker 2: (08:23)
Right, right. Right. And I just wanted to assure people that, um, if your little one takes a little bit longer to actually be ready to eat solids, that it’s not going to be a reflection of how well they eat down the road. I mean, I can just tell you personally, that, that honestly was my fear with my girls. They were both shy, showing certain signs of readiness by about five months. And so I started introducing solids then with my son, who’s now two, he was just not having it. He went, he had that tongue thrust. That just meant he wasn’t swallowing anything. And so I didn’t really introduce it to him until he was about six months. He is by far my best eater. Like I tell you this kid, he is the opposite of a picky eater. He is, you know, he eats, he eats chicken, he eats meat, he eats eggs.
He eats, you know, cheese vet. His favorite food is broccoli and cauliflower. I kid you not. I actually have a video that I posted on, on Instastories where he was holding a cake pop. He found it in the freezer. And I was just like, okay. It was after dinner already. I was like, okay, fine. You can, you can eat the cake pop, but I had some leftover Kali flour and he started pointing to it. And so I gave him the cauliflower and he’s holding the cake pop in one hand and he’s putting the Kali flour in his mouth and then pointing to the cauliflower. He’s not so he’s, he’s like slowly but surely, you know, learning how to talk. So he, then I asked him, I said, JJ, do you want your cake pop? Or do you want more Kali flour? And he points the cauliflower that he wanted more. So that’s just, you know, some, some reassurance that, you know, they can, they can still become great eaters, even if they’re not, you know, at the front of the line. And in terms of the, in terms of actually being,
Yeah, babies have such great and intuitive eating skills at that age. And it’s not until kind of, uh, we as parents interfere with that, that that can really kind of go down the wrong path. So it is amazing to see that. And I think a lot of parents experience their babies eating really well. Um, they’re very open to new flavors and textures. And then over time, sometimes that you can change as you get into the kind of picky eating phase, but some kids really don’t change. And, you know, it just really depends on the child. Some really have a tough time as they get into those toddler age and then some remain very good eater. So, um, I don’t want to say it can’t be,
Do you find that, um, that introducing solids, you know, earlier than later, so you don’t do what kind of connection do you find, I guess, between, you know, introducing solids successfully and getting a proper night’s sleep?
Well, initially I don’t really feel like solids has a ton to do asleep because when you’re first starting solids, even in that say, you start in the six month range, the majority of your baby’s nutrition in those first months are still going to be coming from either breast milk or formula. So when you first start solids, the amount of solids that your baby is actually consuming is real, is relatively small compared to the volume of nutrition that they’re getting in a 24 hour period. Right. So, um, you know, that’s something I, you know, I tell parents to keep in mind too, you, you don’t have to stress if you go and start solids and your baby’s not eating, you know, some people would be like, Oh, they won’t eat this whole jar of baby food. Um, or if they’re doing baby led weaning, they’re like, I put all this food on their plate and they’re not eating any of it.
They’re just spitting it all out. Well, most babies when they’re first starting, you know, they’re experimenting, they’re, they’re learning their visuals, um, how to get the food, their mouth, how to move things around. So a lot of that kind of initial phase, um, is a lot of experience experimentation. Um, getting them comfortable, creating that really positive experience around the food because over time as they become more skilled, the volume will increase. And then naturally as that volume increases, the closer they get to a year, um, more of their energy or their calories, their nutrition is going to be coming from solids and less from breast milk or formula. So, um, I don’t really feel that starting solids has a ton to do with how well they’re sleeping. It’s a very common myth that I think parents feel like, Oh, it’s time to start because then they’ll start sleeping. Um, and that’s, that’s really just not the case because when you think about the quantity, they’re actually eating it at that initial phase. Anyway, it’s just, it’s just not substantial enough to affect sleep,
Right? Yeah, no, I mean, listen, I, I completely 100% agree with you. You know, I can’t tell you how often a parent will say to me, um, Eva, I would love to get my baby sleeping, but you know, I just started introducing solids now at six months and she’s barely eating anything. And so, you know, she must be waking up starving throughout the night. And so therefore, how can I possibly get her sleeping better if she’s not eating solids well, and I agree with you completely, that, you know, obviously down the road, which we’ll talk about soon, they, you know, w when they’re not relying on breast milk and formula, they are relying primarily on solid food for their calories. That’s obviously one thing, but in these infancy months milk, whether it’s breast milk or formula is still going to end up being the primary source of nutrition. So, uh, worrying about getting them an extra tablespoon of cereal and, or sweet potato or whatever you’re offering them, just really, isn’t something relevant to be worrying about. I agree with you completely.
And actually, um, you know, there’s some cases where it can be damaging because parents are so concerned about the sleep aspect, that they start being a little overly pushy with the food, um, and that actually could turn your baby off from food and then create more issues as you’re progressing forward. So I talk with parents a lot about, um, responsive feeding, and basically what that means is reading your baby’s hunger and full cues. So, you know, your babies are these amazing, intuitive eaters. And then as parents, when we start to get involved by pushing them to eat more than maybe what they want, or by being overly aggressive with the one more bite or the spoon in their face, or, you know, kind of pushing them to take extra bites, um, that can actually turn their intuitive eating ability around and kind of create a situation where you’re overriding their own hunger, full cues.
So, um, I actually encourage parents to be very mindful. You know, if you are spoonfeeding and you’re presenting that food, let your baby lean into it, let them show you that they want more, you know, if they purse their lips or turn their head, and those are all signs that they’re done, and that’s your cue to stop, even if you’re afraid of it, don’t take a couple more bites. They’re not going to sleep tonight. Um, and just know that the, the damage that could be done by over pushing food is actually worse than what could happen, uh, you know, with the sleep in your head, which again, they’re not really even connected. So, yeah. Yeah. Even though,
I mean, listen, I, I agree, you know, I always tell parents that yeah, you know, babies and toddlers are inherently intuitive eaters, meaning, you know, they, they, as long as there is nothing physiological getting in the way they know how to eat when they’re hungry and they know how to stop when they are full, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s quite a gift that I think a lot of us can, you know, learn to, uh, you know, learn, learn to eat from. And so what, what I like to tell the parents is something to remind them of is if your little one is eating a ton at night, then naturally they’re not going to eat as much during the day. And so, you know, one of the, the step that you might have to take, instead of just trying to get more food down during the day is actually start.
If your little one is ready to reduce some of those nighttime calories so that they can start taking down more daytime calories. I don’t know how often you see, you know, that pattern when working with families as well. But I definitely see it, you know, we referred to it as reverse cycling. We see that kind of, I see that, that type of pattern all the time. And, you know, it’s like once we start reducing either some or all of those night feeds, depending on how old the baby is, all of a sudden baby is eating significantly more during the day as a result of not eating as much at night. It’s quite, it’s quite a thing to see.
Yeah. I think from a nutrition perspective, generally, you know, around that six months, age six to nine months, um, you know, your baby doesn’t have a need to have to have overnight feeds. You know, I think if you’re feeding on demand and your, your baby wakes up, I, I wouldn’t tell parents to do what works for you. Um, but if parents are, you know, obsessed with their sleep and, you know, they’re really wanting to get their babies sleeping more than you’re right. You want to work on reducing the night feeds. Um, and a lot of that comes from, you know, a lot of babies wake up. This is more from my own experience, of course, too, I’m not asleep consultant, but when babies wake up, a lot of times they use either the bottle or the breast as kind of a comfort measure to put them back to sleep. So, um, you know, I always tell parents, you know, that’s how working with a sleep consultant can really help you. They can teach you techniques to help your baby learn to fall asleep on their own without needing that bottle or breast as the comfort. Um, and once that happens and they’re sleeping more and able to self-soothe, then they’re not going to be taking so many, so much of that nutrition at night and more of that’s going to naturally be during the day. And then that’s going to give you longer sleep stretches as well.
Yes. Yes. That’s, that’s exactly what it is. People will tell me, but Eva, my one-year-old is waking up and takes down 16 ounces of homogenized milk or formula at night. She must hungry. And my response is, yeah, you’re right. She absolutely is because her body is used to taking down 16 ounces of milk at night. It doesn’t mean that she has to be taking down those 16 ounces of milk. Can we transfer those calories from the nighttime to the daytime 100% and maybe it’ll transfer in the form of milk, maybe it’ll transfer in the form of more solid food considering it’s a one-year-old. That was just the example that I thought of, but let’s even say it’s an eight month old. Um, those, those calories, those ounces can absolutely just transfer to the daytime in the form of big, our daytime bottles and then voila, your baby doesn’t need to be waking up hungry at nighttime anymore.
So I agree completely, but tell me this, when let’s say you have a baby that’s been, you know, introduced to solids a few months ago and it’s still not going so smoothly. You know, let’s say baby is eight months, nine months, 10 months. And you know, there may be just taking down a little bit here a little bit there, but primarily still reliant on breast milk or formula, um, for their calories, you know, are you a believer in, you know, the whole food before one is just for fun type of thing. And do you just tell people, Oh, you know, don’t worry about it, cause they’re still under the one year of age or what are your thoughts on that scenario?
Well, I absolutely don’t ever tell people not to worry about it because it is about concern. Um, you know, and it is important to remember that food before one is for a lot more than just fun. So I don’t like that term. Um, I don’t, I think most dieticians don’t like that term. Um,
You come from, do you have any idea who came up with it? Okay.
I actually don’t know the origin of the term. I probably should look into it, but it’s one of those things that floats around and I hear it all the time.
Good ring to it. And you know what, there’s a few things in the sleep world that also have a good, has a good ring to it as well. Like I know this is totally off topic, but there’s this, there’s this whole notion of putting your baby on a two, three, four nap schedule, like the two, three, four schedule, literally every single sleep consultant is like, who came up with this? Cause this is the worst. Like this doesn’t work for any baby. Like it’s awful. Don’t do it. So yeah, there, I guess there’s the same thing in the, in the worlds of, you know, food and dietetics as well. Like where did this come from? So, okay. So for the record, you’re, you’re not in agreement with that philosophy at all.
No. Um, with a few exceptions, I mean, when babies are very first starting out, I don’t want parents stressing about the volume that they’re eating, but it is important to know that around that six month Mark there’s a lot of nutrient needs that babies have that ha that have a large increase. Um, and so that’s the purpose of complimentary foods. So complimentary food compliments, the breast milk or formula they’re getting. So a couple of like zinc, for example, iron, those are some nutrients that jump up in the amount a baby needs pretty significantly from when they’re born until around that six month Mark. And so, you know, we want to make sure that they are getting on track with increasing their solid food so that they can get those key nutrients that they need from food. That’s not going to be met as they age from just the formula or the breast milk alone.
So that’s the main reason why I don’t like that term. And so when I’m working with families, if they’re telling me that they’re in that nine, 10, 11 month range, and they’ve been introducing food for awhile and they feel like it’s not going well, um, I would, I would recommend them seek the help of a pediatric dietician who can kind of assess, cause there could be other things going on. Um, there could be, um, oral motor issues, which may need the addressing of feeding therapy. Um, there could be other things that maybe parents are doing that are kind of holding baby back that they don’t even know is happening. Um, and then we can also assess, you know, some parents feel like they’re not eating enough, but they really are eating. And often parents just don’t think it’s enough food because they have these, this idea in their head of how much their babies should be eating.
Speaker 3: (21:52)
So, um, a dietician can really help kind of assess how much they are eating, um, kind of what the day looks like and also kind of help with that scheduling. Um, usually in that early phase, you know, we start with just one to maybe two feedings a day, and then the closer we move to 12 months, we’ll get to a more consistent three, three meals schedule. Um, so, um, you know, there’s a lot involved. And so if, if a parent told me that they were really struggling down the road, uh, between the six and 12 month range, um, I always encourage them to kind of get help sooner than later, because if you wait too long, um, then there could be some issues that, you know, maybe it would have been better addressed sooner.
Yeah, yeah. You know what? I can’t help, but wonder if maybe that whole food before one was just for fun might have been created by a pediatric dietician in response to all the babies that were introduced to rice cereal at three, four months of age. And so maybe they just try to swing the pendulum to the opposite end saying, Hey, don’t worry about it. It’s fine. You know, food before one is just for fun. Don’t put so much pressure on yourselves. You know, not realizing that it could be taken quite literally, um, to mean that, Oh, don’t worry if your kid isn’t eating an ounce of solid food and they’re 11 and a half months old food before one is just for fun. So Mo most, that’s what I’m going to assume anyways, just, you know, based on what you’re sharing here, but, um, tell me this, you know, if, if by that age we’re not seeing much solid food being eaten or you know, of salt, if eating solids by that age range is a struggle. Do you believe that that can start to impact, you know, nights where maybe a nine month old he was ordinarily eating well would be able to go 11, 12 hours straight the other nine or 10 month old might still need a night feed or two because they’re not eating solids well, it’s possible. But what would see more often
Is, uh, in babies that aren’t doing a lot of solids is they’re usually overcompensating with the volume of formula or breast milk that they’re taking. And then what I’ve seen happen is they get more towards 12 months when, you know, oftentimes you’re, if you’re on formula, you’re working on weaning off of formula and bottle, um, you know, breastfed mothers often continue past 12 months if they can, and they want to that’s up to the individual. But, um, what I find more often than not is if, if the food intake isn’t gradually increasing and they’re compensating with the calories from the formula and the breast milk, then it becomes harder in that weaning process. And then you’re displacing food, calories, food, nutrients with the formula, breast milk and past one that can be problematic because those things aren’t going to meet their nutrition needs by themselves.
And so if they’re getting that large of a volume from formula changing over to cow’s milk or continuing breast milk, depending on what the parent’s doing, um, you can start to see some nutrient deficiencies, particularly iron is a very common one that we see with high milk intake and low iron rich food intake. So, um, it can lead to other issues. And so that’s kind of more, what I see. I don’t necessarily know that that affects the sleep so much because a lot of times they are still getting that energy is just coming from liquid energy. So, um, I guess that would depend if they were getting enough of that during the day, maybe sleep would be okay, maybe not. Right.
So it can really end up being a bit of a vicious cycle where, you know, they’re not eating as much solid food as they could or should be eating because they’re taking down so many, so much milk, whether it’s breast milk or formula during the day, and then they’re not hungry enough for the solids. And so you’re saying in that scenario, then that hypothetical very general scenario part of the solution might be to decrease the milk intake so that they are hungry enough to actually show an interest in more solid food.
If, if we’re talking about kids over one, then yes, for sure. That’s, that’s fine.
Well, let’s, let’s backtrack for a second because the breast milk versus formula, you know, topic of conversation, I mean, I’m not going to get into the controversy of it because, you know, I am a fed is best advocate. You are a fed is best advocate. I mean, Oh my gosh, you know, do breastfeeding is wonderful. You know, I breastfed two of my three kids, but you know what, for the other one, it didn’t work. And when it doesn’t work, it’s terrible, awful horrible. Don’t do it right. Thank God for bottles and formula, but a really interesting, um, dynamic I find or belief like widely held belief, I find still exists with breastfeeding moms is that the solution to their sleep woes is to get them on to formula or to get their little ones drinking bottles. And then their sleep woes will blissfully disappear into thin air and their little one will just sleep, you know, 13 hours straight uninterrupted. And, you know, we’ll have world peace and everything will be wonderful. So, you know, I’m wondering like what, when you hear, you know, breastfeeding moms, you know, saying like, Oh, should I just get them onto a bottle and then he’ll sleep better. I’m wondering what, what your thoughts are on that? Well, I mean,
Let’s think about for a second, you know, formula was created to kind of mimic the nutrients in breast milk. So volume for volume. If a baby is getting essentially the same amount of formula as breast milk, there’s not going to be a whole lot of difference there in the calories, the fat, all of that, because formula again is, was designed after breast milk. Um, when that might not be the case is if a mom is breastfeeding, not, not using just breast milk and a bottle of breastfeeding and maybe, you know, baby has issues where they’re not taking enough in, so they’re not getting enough calories. And then they feel like going over to formula, they would know more how much they were getting and they were getting more volume that could potentially affect it, but it’s not because of the formula it’s because of the volume being consumed there. If that makes sense. So I do believe it’s a fairly big myth that switching from breast milk to formula is going to help the baby sleep. I think some parents believe that because that was their experience, um, which does not make their experience invalid, but that does not make the statement true.
Right, right, right, right. No, I mean, listen, I agree. And you know, just for the record, half the families I work with, I kid you not half, whether it’s one-on-one consultations or at my sleep Bible program are bottle feeding, formula feeding families. In other words, 50% of the time when there are families struggling with sleep, their little ones are being fed via the bottle because breastfeeding to sleep and bottle feeding to sleep, both can cause the same type of issue. They both are by definition food, sleep associations, where you are relying on feeding, whether it’s by breast or by bottle. So fall asleep. And then there’s technically nothing stopping the baby, whether it’s the breastfeeding baby or the bottle fed baby from waking up numerous times to feed back to sleep, because that is their crutch. That is how they fall asleep to begin with.
Speaker 2: (29:05)
And simply replacing the breast with the bottle really is like jumping from the fire into the frying pan here. And I think that the origin of that myth probably does come from the fact that in those first few weeks of life, it is objective. And I can, I can speak from experience here as well as dealing with enough moms with even the newborns objectively speaking, it is easier. And you probably do get longer stretches in those first few weeks of life when you’re feeding a baby via bottle versus breast. And the reason for that is because babies in those first six weeks of life are going through multiple growth spurts. And so when a baby, when I bottle fed, baby is going through a growth spurt and they’re usually taking it down two ounces in a bottle and they’re still hungry. What do you do?
Added more milk done, right? Yeah. Add more milk. They’re full. Everything is great. When you’re breastfeeding, it can take your body 12 to 24 hours to catch up and start producing more milk to feed your baby. You know, milk supply is I know that I’m, I’m not a lactation professional by any means, but you know, just generally speaking, I can tell you that every lactation professional will tell you that milk supply is based on it’s. When, when it’s, when everything is physiologically working, it works on a demand supply basis. And so when your baby is demanding a and again, your body is able to work and do what it needs to do. It will provide a, but then when, when baby starts demanding B, it’s going to take her body, but it’s time to go, Oh, it needs more milk. Let me get on that.
Speaker 2: (30:50)
And so I can take a bit of time to then, you know, reach that point. And so until that point, during that time period, you might feel like you’re just constantly feeding this baby. And this baby is constantly waking up at night eating. And because there are multiple Grossberg what’s happening in that timeframe, it might feel like, Oh my gosh, I’m never going to be able to sleep. And if I were to just give my baby a bottle, I’ll be able to get some sleep. And there is some truth to that. And I, and I learned that when, cause as I said, my first baby did not, would not latch, did not nurse. And so three weeks on, I was done with the pumping fed her bottles. Never had to worry about that with my second baby. On the other hand, it was like, Oh my God, this kid is eating all the time.
And it was this public health nurse that explained to me the first six weeks when you’re nursing are going to be, you know, more challenging because you are going to find yourself, you know, feeding more and your body’s going to take a little while to catch up to what she needs. But then by, you know, six to eight weeks and onwards, it kind of levels out to, you know, the demands of, of bottle feeding. And uh, and then, you know, they’re both pretty darn equal in terms of how much they’re, how much they’re taking down and how much they can possibly eat at at one time. So that was my experience. And that’s what I see as well with, um, with moms of, you know, little ones across the board that, you know, for those six first six weeks, it can be easier, but it’s just for that one particular period, by the time your baby is four, six months and onwards, there is nothing superior in the sleep department about feeding a bottle versus feeding by the brain.
Speaker 2: (32:30)
Yeah. I would agree with that. You would have. Yeah. Great. And I’ll tell you, I think maybe another thing is that a bottle fed baby is of taking down more calories in one feed because they don’t have to work as hard. So, you know, I usually tell my breastfeeding moms, you know, we, we probably need to be nursing your baby. Every, let’s say two to three hours, whereas a bottle fed baby might need to eat every, let’s say three to four hours. But as you were saying, they’re both going to be able to get the same volume of milk in each day. Right. It just means that the bottle fed baby, that’s taking down six ounces in one feed just doesn’t need to eat as much as frequently, but the breastfed baby that’s taking down three to four ounces in each feed can get that same amount of food just needs to eat more often.
Yeah. And I think, um, you know, the other thing that’s just important to remember too, with bottle feeding versus breastfeeding is, you know, breastfeeding has the, the natural tendency for moms to be obviously be very responsive because you can’t, can’t force your baby to take more from your breasts than what they want to take. Right. They’re going to turn their head. They’re not going to suck it, but you know, I have seen parents where, um, they feel like their baby’s not getting enough. So they’ll kind of take that bottle and kind of keep pushing on it or keep, you know, keep trying to get it or kind of set it down and then go back to it and go back to it instead of kind of really watching for those cues. So I think just like anything else it’s important to watch the baby’s cues. So you’re not, you know, I think bottle fed can contend to be, um, more likely to overfeed our push more than what baby would naturally take with the breasts because he can’t really do that with the breasts very easily. Yes,
Yes, yes, no. That’s a really common question that I also get. Can a B is it possible to overfeed a baby? And your answer is technically yes. With bottles, with bottles, you can technically overfeed
Well, if you’re, if you’re not listening to their cues, I mean, your baby will not volunteer to overfeed itself, but if you’re forcing the bottle in their mouth and they’re naturally kind of using it as a they’re learning that, Oh, this is going in my mouth again and going in my mouth, I got to take more, they start to learn to take more than what they naturally would. So I would say inherently, no, you can’t overfeed a baby, but you can push a baby to eat more if you’re not responding to their cues the right way. Right,
Right, right, right. No, I love it. I’m so happy that we were able to tackle this topic because it’s a very, very common one that comes up. So there’s, there’s nothing in here. There’s no sleepy dust in a bottle of formula in other words.
So let’s start, move on and talk about the toddlers and the preschoolers. So, you know, I know we were talking beforehand, one of your areas of specialty is picky eating and that is a very intricate, um, detailed area to delve into. So we are not going to delve into that for the purposes of today, but they, but people should definitely reach out to you if, um, if they are struggling with picky eating. But I guess here’s, here’s my question, because this is a scenario that I see quite often. So you have a toddler who is, or a preschooler who is not refusing to eat dinner. Doesn’t want to eat dinner, maybe had two bites and says, nah, I’m done. And then leaves the table. Doesn’t refuse this to eat. And then suddenly, now that it’s time to go to bed, Oh my God, mommy, I’m hungry.
You know, or, or they’ll wake up an hour later, I’m a hungry. And then you’re thinking, Oh my gosh, he only ate like two, two bites of his meatballs today. He must be starving. How am I supposed to just not feed him right now? And so, you know, we see, and when I tell you, I’ve, I’ve worked with families. I had a family where there was a, a two-year-old that would wake up numerous times a night to eat a pouch of yogurt. Like, you know, those squeezy pouches and the parents had to like keep the squeezy pouches right inside their nightstands. So that when she woke up, it was like easily accessible. I had another family where the son would wake up every night at midnight and ask for a bagel and he would eat, you know, a bagel every night. And, and, you know, it’s so common and the, you know, the root of the problem or, you know, the, the trigger for this was the fact that the child wasn’t eating very well or according to the parents were not eating really well during the day. And so then, you know, the guilt sets in and they don’t know how to say no to their, you know, supposedly starving child at night. So I’m wondering, you know, how you would address this type of scenario.
Speaker 3: (37:20)
Yeah. So I think there’s, there’s kind of two parts to this. So you have the part a during the day and that the fact that they’re not eating a whole lot or that they’re picky and what their daytime feeding schedule looks like, and then you have problem B, which is them waking in the middle of the night. So you almost kind of have to address them separately because most of the time, you know, we all wake throughout the night, our sleep cycle is a revolving cycle and we have, you know, ups and downs in there. But just because we kind of naturally wake a little bit, it doesn’t mean that we’re immediate, like I’m awake, I’m hungry. I need to eat. Right. So usually we wake up for a little bit and if we just can’t fall back asleep and we’re awake for a while, then we start to sometimes feel that hunger.
Speaker 3: (38:05)
But typically we’re not waking up because of hunger. There’s something else waking us up. And then our inability to fall asleep might make us realize we’re hungry. So I would say as far as that nighttime sleep, that’s where someone like you comes in to help parents with that sleep schedule, that sleep routine, um, what to do in the middle of the night. But then if they’re consistently feeding, that’s something that the kid is starting to expect just like when you were bottle feeding or breastfeeding. And they were using that as a comfort mechanism to be able fall back asleep. So, um, you have kind of a two edge problem there when you’re talking about the parent gilts, um, you know, as parents, we can feel guilty about a good Jillian and one things. Um, but if we can set some of the daytime feeding issues that sometimes will make parents have more peace of mind and, and that’s something that we do.
And when I work with them so that they don’t have to feel that overnight and they can focus on helping their kids get back to sleep without the food as the crutch. So, um, you know, the sleep patterns are something, of course, that you would really be helpful with a sleep consultant, which can give parents techniques for how to get their kids to sleep without relying on food. But then the daytime feeding is important as well. So things that I would look at with a parent who this was happening is we would look at the daytime feeding schedule. What time is breakfast, lunch, dinner, um, are they having snacks? Are they grazing all day? Um, something I see a lot is, especially in toddlers and preschool age is the mom I’m hungry. I want a snack. I want a snack. I want a snack. I want a snack.
Speaker 3: (39:35)
And they eat so many snacks. Then they’re not hungry for dinner. And then they don’t eat the dinner and then they’re not having, you know, enough there. And then that could potentially be affecting their hunger later at night. Um, the other thing is, um, and I like to remind parents of the two young kids tend to kind of front load their calories. So they tend to eat better earlier in the day and less at night time. So it’s very common for dinner to be the worst meal of the day. But as parents, we put the most weight on that meal, we’re making the new recipes at that time. We’re cooking dinner. We expect kids eat as a family, but let’s think about what’s happening for toddlers and preschoolers at the end of the day, you know, they’ve had their entire day before them where they’ve had to keep it together, whether they were at daycare or whether they were at school or even if they were home with mom, mom, or dad, um, or whoever and nighttime is when the meltdowns happen, they’re exhausted emotionally, mentally.
Um, so it’s really not the best time to try and get them eating something new or trying a new recipe or having super high expectations. So, um, I like to remind parents that it is very normal for kids to eat more earlier in the day and less later in the day. And so just because they didn’t eat a huge dinner does not mean that they need to eat more calories in the middle of the night because their body can and has the capability of getting the nutrition it needs earlier in the day as well. So that’s something that I think just ends up giving parents a little peace of mind that they don’t have to stress about that.
Oh my God, Jessica, that’s huge. I feel like for so many people listening, their mind just went like, Oh my gosh, you know, hearing wait. So my kid does not have to eat like his full bowl of spaghetti and meatballs and his potatoes and his broccoli and his, this and his that to feel full that, you know, dinner honestly, is that meal that most kids don’t eat as well. And I feel like that’s a mind blowing to hear, because that probably is what is triggering, you know, these last minute bedtime snacks and middle of the night snacks and whatnot. You know, I also tell parents, I say, I tell them that, you know, especially for the kids who are, who don’t eat much at dinner, get talked into bed and then five and a half seconds later are like, but I’m hungry. I tell the parents, you know, give them a five minute warning that the kitchen is closed.
The kitchen is closing. So let’s say dinner is six o’clock and it’s now six 30 and your kids barely eaten anything. You know, tell them by six 45 or seven, o’clock give them a five minute warning that the kitchen is closing. Are you hungry? Do you want anything? No, you’re good. Okay. Turn off the lights, that’s it. We’re done. And then when you’re tucking your kid in 20 minutes later, and he’s telling you that he’s hungry, we have a boy who cried Wolf scenario very, very clearly because you did your due diligence, you did your job, warning him, giving him all the opportunity to actually eat a proper meal. And then for him to suddenly realize 10 minutes later, he’s hungry, got to call his bluff right there.
Yeah. I mean, the stall tactics are very common of age in the toddler and preschool, and that’s what most of the time that is. Um, and, and I love, um, I have, um, a, a colleague who you, who I learned the actual, the kitchen is closed, um, statement from, and I like that as well. And I actually take it one step further than what you said. And I like to keep dinner at a fairly consistent time. So have dinners at six o’clock, um, for a toddler and a preschooler. Um, you know, it is very unlikely that they’re going to sit in their seat and eat their dinner much longer than 10 to 15 minutes, max. Um, and so I like to give a couple of warnings there as well, if they’re just pushing things around in their plate and once that’s done, you know, I like to say, you know, if you’re hungry, this is the time to eat dinner because after dinner, we’re going to start bedtime routine and we are not going to be eating again for the rest of the night.
Um, are you sure that you don’t want anything else and then end up there? I don’t even usually give, um, that window all the way up until six 45 or seven, because the more you give those windows, they will start to push those windows too. Um, and I’m not a huge fan of bedtime snacks either. I mean, when you have a really young kid, um, and you’re doing that transition from like formula to cow’s milk or, or even from breast milk to cow’s milk, if that’s what you’re doing. Um, and you’re, they’re used to having like a before bed feeding of some kind, um, it’s okay to be a little lenient there with that transition and, you know, keep a small cup or keep the dinner milk for a little later. Um, but other than that, uh, I’m not a huge bedtime snack fan because what kids will do is naturally be like, Ooh, bedtime snacks are usually better than my dinner. I’m going to not eat my dinner. I’m going to hold out for the bedtime snack. Um, and so I, you know, obviously work with, depending on what the family is like, and the child’s, um, you know, it’s a little bit different, but, um, yeah, it’s important not to kind of let the kids push the boundaries too much because the more they push the further those boundaries get spread apart. Totally, totally.
Speaker 2: (44:43)
I love it. I love it. And, you know, even, and you’re saying like, cause I’ll tell you another concern that some families will have is they’ll say to me, Oh, but Eva, my BB is really small or my kid is really small. You know, she’s in the, he’s in the 10th percentile, she’s in the 50th percentile. Um, what’s your response when, you know, parents are concerned about not, not giving a bedtime snack, not, not feeding repeatedly overnight because their little one is, you know, on the shorter end or smaller end of the space.
Yeah. I, you know, I don’t want to give a total blanket statement here cause I have worked with some kids with some genuine medical and health issues where we’ve had to come up with a feeding plan that was different than what I would give the average family. Um, but for the most part, um, being on the smaller end of the growth percentile, isn’t going to change the way that I recommend families approach feeding. Um, and then the other thing to keep in mind too, is there some kids that are just naturally on the lower end and being in the fifth or 10th percentile or 15, 15 percentile by itself is not an issue. Um, if we’re seeing issues with, uh, growth where a child is, you know, dropping percentiles, like they were 10th, fifth, third, and they’re down to like first percentile or, or they’re, we’re really concerned about weight.
Speaker 3: (45:58)
Then we might have a very unique feeding situation there. Um, but that’s not the majority of kids, the majority of kids, even if they are lower percentile tend to be very consistent along that percentile. So, you know, if they’re consistently growing along the fifth percentile, they’re just smaller than other kids. I mean, that’s not an, it’s not a problem when it’s a problem is when they’re dropping percentiles or they’re jumping rapidly percentiles when those, or when those plateaus are happening. So they’re kind of w their weight staying the same as they grow and, and, and nothing’s changes would naturally will cause the percentile to drop. So those are some more unique situations, which, you know, is hard to obviously delve into, um, in a situation like this. But, you know, if that is happening with somebody, then definitely working with him, a pediatric dietician is important.
That’s what I, that’s what I tell people as well, that you know, that if your baby is healthy, like their size is, I mean, genetics plays a huge role here. Right. You know, my, my middle child is, um, she’s always been since she was four months old. She’s now seven, since she was four months, she’s been in the 10th percentile, like consistently, you know, for height, for weight, like to this day, she’s, you know, a little cute peanut. She was like, always that, you know, takes pride in being the shortest kid in her class, but she was still sleeping through the night with one feed. By the time she was five, six months. And I was still able to completely night wean her by the time she was eight months. I mean, I’m five, three, you know, she, she, she might not even be five, three. She might take after my mother-in-law who’s five feet, you know, and that’s, as I said,
That’s genetics. Right. And I agree that it’s not, it’s not the size itself. It’s a concern it’s if, if she was, if my daughter was in the 75th percentile and dropped down to the 10th percentile, but it’s very, very different than being born six pounds, 13 ounces, and then dropping a little bit, and then consistently staying in that, in that growth curve, you know, the entire time, of course. So this was so fantastic. I am so happy that I was able to have you on my podcast, Jessica, because I feel like you were able to address so many, very common questions and concerns and, um, mindset, challenges that a lot of parents have that keeps them stuck when it comes to tackling their little ones sleep. So I am so, so, so happy that you were able to come on, where can anyone find you if they want to reach out if they want more of you in their life?
I know that you’ve got a, you know, a free download for everyone. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about that and where everyone can reach you? Yeah. So they can reach me again on my Instagram at elementary attrition dot kids. If you go to my profile, there’s a wink in there with a direct line to my resource page, which has some downloads. Um, I also sent you over the link. So if you have shown up, you can put it in there and they can access it that way. Um, I do have a couple of separate downloads depending on what parents are looking for. So if they’re in that starting solids range, um, I have a pretty nice starting solids guide that can get them started. Um, and then I also have a separate one that is addressing more of the picky eating concerns. So we touched on both of those topics. So there’s two different resources available that they can get there. Um, and then through my website, um, which if you go to the resource page, you’ll be on my website. You can go to the contact page, send me a message, schedule and appointments, if you are interested in working one-on-one. Um, and you know, I love connecting with people either by email or through Instagram as well. So whatever works for them is, is great for me. Fantastic. All right. Thank you so much again. Thanks everyone for listening.
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