Diet IS YOUR
KEEPING YOUR BABY AWAKE? By Pinky McKay
ould YOUR diet be contributing to sleepless nights for your baby (and you)? The chances are, if you or your partner suffer from allergies such as eczema, asthma or hay fever, or if there is a family history of allergies, there is a stronger possibility that your baby’s restlessness and poor sleep could be due to food sensitivity or allergies – and he could be reacting to foods passing through your breast milk.
Other foods that may cause allergies are peanuts, eggs, soya products, fish, wheat, citrus and chocolate. However, reactions to foods seem to vary widely among individuals. Some sensitive babies react even to small amounts of certain foods in their mothers’ diets, so allergy symptoms (including frequent night waking), can be alleviated by the elimination of offending foods from the mother’s diet. The best way to protect your baby from allergies is to breastfeed Food allergies in exclusively breastfed babies are caused by foods exclusively for the first six months. If you are bottle-feeding and that pass into your breast milk, not to your breast-milk itself. Allergies suspect allergies to cow’s milk, consult your doctor. about trying a hypoallergenic formula (these are available on prescription). in infants may cause symptoms including: colic, nausea, vomiting and Food additives are present in ever-increasing numbers in almost all reflux, wheezing and respiratory congestion, dermatitis, eczema, and processed foods and these can dramatically affect sleep patterns various rashes (although other medical causes should be ruled out and behaviour. Some babies and for these symptoms). Because babies children can also become restless after "The best way to protect your baby from may be sensitised to foods in utero, it is eating foods containing salicylates. allergies is to breastfeed exclusively for wise to avoid non-essential foods that These are naturally occurring chemicals are common allergens and eat others the first six months. If you are bottlewhich are found in otherwise healthy in moderation during pregnancy and feeding and suspect allergies to cow’s foods such as broccoli, grapes, apples, for the first year after birth if you are oranges and tomatoes as well as in milk, consult your doctor about trying breastfeeding. The most common culprit some processed foods. a hypoallergenic formula (these are is cow’s milk protein (found in milk, I have seen remarkable changes in available on prescription)" cheese, yoghurt). babies' sleep patterns with simple In one study at a UK sleep clinic, 12 tweaks to either mum or baby’s diets. For instance, a very unsettled 4 per cent of thirteen-month-old infants who presented with persistent week old baby whose mother cut out orange juice, became calm and night-waking for which no other causes were found, were taken off slept soundly within 48 hours! An eight month old who loved broccoli all milk products when cow’s milk intolerance was suspected. In most but was waking up to ten times a night, settled and woke at around 10 of these children, sleep normalised within five weeks, with nightpm and at 5 am (but resettled after a breastfeed), when broccoli was time awakenings falling to nil or once per night. A subsequent milk eliminated. Other babies have slept well after the elimination of grapes challenge (double blind) induced the reappearance of insomnia and berries (also high salicylate foods) from their own and mum’s diets. and, after a year, when the challenge was repeated, all but one child Tracking down offending foods in your child’s or your own diet may reacted as before. take some effort, especially for already exhausted parents, but in the long run it could gain you more sleep. If you think that sleeplessness 80
Peninsula Kids – Spring 2017
Peninsula Kids Spring 2017