I need to vent.

I need to vent about all the mother’s who have this motto that they’ve adapted from somewhere that BABY + SOLID FOOD = SLEEP. Like an idiot, I desperately jumped on your band wagon hoping and praying that perhaps you were right…and now I am desperately trying to teach others NOT to make the same assumptions that I made.

SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT is not about how much food you can stuff in your baby’s mouth throughout the day. In the beginning I mostly believed (as the scientific evidence suggests) that babies sleep through the night when they are biologically ready to sleep through the night. I was impressed when my 3 month old started sleeping from 10 pm to 5am. I am not impressed that my now almost 6 month old does NOT sleep through the night. What happened? Perhaps it was the kazillon health issues we’ve faced: colds, ear infections, bronchiolitis, or reflux to name a few…perhaps it could be blamed on teething – but I am more apt to believe that when our 3 month old was sleeping through the night it was mere coincidence. At 4 months old he stopped sleeping through the night and we were giving him a bottle at 3am and he’s sleep the remainder of the night….by 5 months old our son had reverted to a newborn and we were feeding every 3 hours during the night.

AGAINST our pediatricians recommendations and after countless people got on our case about “he needs solid food”, “if you just give him solid food he’ll sleep at night”, “he’s a big boy, he needs solid food”……we jumped on this crazy BABY + SOLID FOOD = SLEEP band wagon. I am here to dispel the myth….

I am here to tell you that the whole BABY + SOLID FOOD = SLEEP idea is a load of smelly dog crap – the kind that stinks so bad even the maggots want nothing to do with it. We started giving Jacob a tablespoon of cereal by spoon in the evening – no change…CRAP we must be doing something wrong…HE’S NOT SLEEPING… we added another tablespoon of cereal in the morning….HE’S NOT SLEEPING…but not only is he NOT sleeping…he’s STILL consuming the same amount of formula if not more – 35-40 ounces a day.

So here’s my deal….let’s just all admit that the reason people give their newborn, 1 month, 2 month, 3 month old babies solid food has nothing to do with SLEEP and everything to do with “wow it’s so cool to give my baby solid food” or “my mom gave it to me and I turned out fine”. Childhood rates of obesity and diabetes are quickly on the uprise – why do we have to rush our children onto solid foods because we hope *fingers crossed* that it will buy us a couple extra hours of sleep – aren’t we better off waiting just a little longer to introduce solid foods and we could be buying our children extra years at life? Isn’t that more important?

Let me be clear – I believe there is a time and a place for the early introduction of solid foods….if your pediatrician recommends them for medical purposes whatever that may be…but if your reasoning is simple the hope that your baby will sleep through the night…I hope that you will heed my warning….it does not work….if it does work…it’s a coincidence. My son is 19 pounds and 28.5 inches long….according to books out there – there should be no reason why he needs a middle of the night feeding – but he does….I just spent the last 15 minutes listening to him scream at the top of his lungs…while I tried to pacify him with a soother….and then I caved and I gave him the bottle….

We can’t go back now…..there is no point in discontinuing the cereal. After the battle of getting him to accept it – he now enjoys it…the mere site of the bowl makes him squeal in delight….to take it away now after 2 weeks on the stuff…makes no sense…..he turns 6 months old in two weeks anyways and we’d have to start all over again…..

I’m just upset at myself…that I allowed myself to be mystified by the possibility that he could sleep through the night. I didn’t stick up for myself as an educated mother – as someone who has strong feelings about how I want to parent – I’m bummed at myself about that.

My goal shouldn’t be a sleeping through the night baby – my goal should be a happy content and healthy baby. I allowed my sleep deprived self to forget that. I never wanted to be that person that did something because everyone told me I was doing it wrong…..and I became that person. Shame on me for not sticking up for myself…..shame on me for not going with my gut…..

Jacob isn’t gonna be 600 pounds because I gave him cereal at 5 months….I’m not saying people who introduce solids early are bad parents….that’s not what this is about at all. I’m saying that perhaps these medical doctors and researchers are onto something…..I have always said that I would do what I feel is best for my family based on the information that I had from reliable sources….This time around I goofed up…..I’d say the American Association of Pediatrics is much more reliable then some 70 year old lady on the street who thinks you’re starving your child because gosh forbid…he’s only having formula.

I believe we as parents are capable of making the choices that we feel are best for our child…..

I’m just urging you to remember – as good as it feels…..don’t let sleep be your motivating factor.

If I had a soap box…I’d get off of it now…

2 thoughts on “BABY + SOLID FOOD does NOT = SLEEP

  1. heh – yeah, I long since gave up any expectations of getting my Kaya to sleep through the night. She’s done it twice and believe me, I knew it was a total fluke both times. Heck, Kaya’s more then 6 months old, and still has nights where she’ll get up every 3 hours. Fortunetly it’s closer to 5-6 hours Most nights.

    I never legitimately considered the food before bed = sleep thing. I knew it was just another “maybe this’ll make ’em sleep” wivestale that probably wouldn’t even work anyways. Everytime I’ve fed Kaya solids, it was generally in the middle of the day right before her bath… because the bath is totally nessecary after a solid-food feeding anyways 😛 heh…

    I started adding rice cereal to Kaya’s formula at 4 months for a couple reason – one was that she had silent reflux. The cereal REALLY did help with that. The other was that she was really underweight. I mean, she was 4 months old and only weighed 10lbs. The cereal in her bottles really helped. She’s still pretty small, but at least she looks healthier.

  2. Amen Athey! It’s good to see someone else who knows from experience that solid food is not a tool to be used to make your kid sleep through the night!

    Kaya and Jacob are good examples for everyone!

    Peace, love and chocolate cake!

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