Sleep issues and food intolerance? x-posted in allergies - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 03-05-2012, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
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DD has always had sleep issues - when she was younger it would take on average 45 minutes to get her to sleep.


She is now 3 and is back in our bed after we unsuccessfully tried to get her in her own bed.  She sleeps through the night most of the time now (for the first time in her life) but when she does wake up, it takes her 1-2 hours or more to fall back asleep.  She doesn't cry or ask to play or anything, she just tosses and turns in bed for up to three hours.  It's like she has a hard time physically settling into sleep. 


Lately she has also been waking up very early.  For the past 7 nights, she has only gotten 10 hours of sleep each night.  She gave up naps about a year ago and when she does nap it just makes things worse because she is up very late and will end up with less total sleep.  She has always needed less sleep than the "books" say but 10 hours doesn't seem like enough for a 3 year old.


I now have a one month old ds and DH works night shifts so I'm alone with the two kids, and I am VERY sleep deprived.


I've heard there can be a link between sleep issues and food intolerances - DD used to get hives when she ate dairy, but outgrew that around age 2.  I am considering giving up dairy for a few weeks to see.


Has anyone heard of this?  DD LOVES milk, cheese, butter, etc so giving up dairy will be a battle, and she is more sensitive that usual because of her new brother.  I would also have to give up dairy because she still nurses, and I will have a hard time giving mup my morning cup of chai (with milk).  I'm not sure I'm up for the battle unless I have hope it will work - I would do almost anything at this point for her to sleep well!

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mama to DD (11/08) and DS (2/12) and expecting another little boy (4/15)
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#2 of 5 Old 03-07-2012, 06:12 PM
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I'm sorry, no help here, but I wanted to bump this because I have similar problems and concerns with my 23 month old.  She still wakes up 5 or so times a night, but only one of these is for a bottle.  The rest of the time she ranges from just seeming unsettled to crying a LOT (regardless of what I do to soothe her).  I know I've heard people on this site who discovered food intolerances were causing night-waking, and I'd love to hear from them, too!

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#3 of 5 Old 03-08-2012, 04:44 AM
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Hi there, sorry you are going through this. My DS is 13 months. When he was between 5 and 11 months we had major night waking issues. We co-sleep and breastfeed, so I expected some waking. But what happened during this time was waking every single hour every night and being very fussy and squirmy, often passing gas. I kept a food journal and thought that his sleep was somewhat responsive to my diet (it was easier to manage and figure out since he wasn't eating solids yet, we delayed intro of solids even more because of these issues). But I eliminated major food groups and wasn't able to get any resolution for a long time (I hadn't had ANY dairy or hidden dairy since he was a month old anyway due to colic early on). Finally I tried a total elimination diet. I ate only lamb, brown rice, and leafy greens with salt, pepper, and coconut oil. After less than a week DS was much more restful during naps and at night, sleeping 2-3 hour stretches and waking peacefully to nurse and going right back to sleep. Eventually I was able to add more foods in, but for a while it seemed like he reacted to ANYTHING I tried to add (except all meats seemed fine). But, now he and I are both eating pretty much anything and while he is still a light sleeper/frequent waker, I can deal with nursing every 2-3 hours with no fussing. He seems much more comfortable. 


The total elimination diet probably isn't really feasible for you and your daughters at 2 and 3 years old. But I just wanted to give my story as an example that diet can be the culprit. Two other things that seemed to help my son were probiotics and digestive enzymes (be sure they are both allergen free so they don't contribute to the problem).


Good luck!

Kendra (30),  mum to ds fly-by-nursing1.gif(2/14/11), and one angel1.gif. Pregnant with my rainbow1284.gif due 6/10/13, it's a GIRL!!!
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#4 of 5 Old 03-20-2012, 07:27 PM
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DS had food sensitivities to a plethora of foods, but dairy was the big culprit. We actually started bedsharing bc I had no idea what was causing his wakefulness, and it was making me crazy. Unfortunately, sleeping next to me offered no change in his sleep. One day I was reading "The Baby Bond" when DS was 10mo and coincidental timing of what I was reading and a current issue he was having gave me the lightbulb moment we needed to see his food sensitivities. He quickly began sleeping like a rock once I took out the culprit foods. Though you may love that chai in the morning, would you love sleep a little more? wink1.gif It could be food issues, maybe not. But for a test run, just a week of elimination diet could offer you the answers to a couple what-ifs. I highly recommend "The Baby Bond" anyhow, but she offers great info about how food issues show themselves differently in children outside the infancy period as well. Good luck! smile.gif

Christian guitar-playing singer, crunchy granola SAHM, wife to husband J, Mama to toddler little man O, cat-loving owner of Bounce, Mix, and Hinode. I love my life.
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#5 of 5 Old 03-20-2012, 07:31 PM
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For DS it was gluten and dairy. Removed both from his diet and went from him sleeping maybe an hour at a time to sleeping through the night in 3 days (he was 19 mo).


For DD it was celiac so much harder to track down. She was gluten and dairy free (or rather I was LOL) from the time she was 3 weeks old. Turns out she was reacting to the wheat protein in my shampoo. Once that was fixed she went from sleeping 30-60 minutes at a time to sleeping through the night in 2 days. She was 15 mo when we figured it out.

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