There is some debate over when it’s best to start introducing your baby to his first solid foods. For many years, it was assumed that four months was the time to start giving baby solid foods. These days, many recommend six months or even later, especially if you are breastfeeding your baby.

Whatever age you start spicing up your baby’s diet, however, there are some foods that are better than others when it comes to helping your baby sleep through the night. Here are some options that can help baby sleep better:

  • Cereals. Grain cereals are admittedly not quite as nutrient heavy as many foods, and in some ways they’ve taken a bit of a bad rap in recent years. However, cereals are calorie rich, and will help your baby feel full longer. And that will allow her to sleep for longer stretches. A little cereal can even be added to a bottle before bedtime, providing a more filling meal.
  • Unsweetened juices. Check the label before giving baby juice. Many juices (especially apple juices) have been sweetened with sugar. Recent studies have shown that babies sleep better when given unsweetened juice. White grape juice, in particular, is a good choice for helping baby sleep.
  • Turkey. If your baby is eating meat purees at this stage, anything with turkey in it can help baby fall asleep. It’s not much different really than adults feeling drowsy after Thanksgiving dinner. The chemical tryptophan is naturally occurring in turkey, and it helps the body produce serotonin, which calms us down. It can do the same thing for baby.

Regardless of which foods you give baby, keep an eye on her after she’s tried something new, especially if you’ve fed her before bedtime. Different babies respond to foods differently, and this is especially true as it relates to their sleep. If baby has trouble sleeping after eating particular foods, don’t feed them to her before bedtime, whether they’re “supposed” to be good for baby sleep or not.

Ultimately, you know your baby better than anyone else. If a particular solid food is working for you and baby, use it. If it isn’t, don’t.