Medical

Babies who are introduced to solid foods earlier tend to sleep better

Babies who are introduced to solid foods earlier tend to sleep better

Of the 1,303 infants who took part in the study, 94 per cent (1,225), completed the three-year questionnaire - 608 from the exclusive breastfeeding group and 607 from the early introduction of food group.

"While the official guidance is that starting solid foods won't make babies more likely to sleep through the night, this study suggests that this advice needs to be re-examined in light of the evidence we have gathered", Lack said in a school news release.

"Breast milk boosts an infant's immune system and contributes to brain development, so there are also benefits to exclusive breastfeeding for six months", explained Dr. Clare Llewellyn, a lecturer in behavioral science and health at the United Kingdom -based University College London, Newsweek reported.

Brown urged caution, noting that no difference in waking was seen until after five months, despite one group being introduced to solids from three months, and that self-report of infant sleep by exhausted parents was unlikely to be precise.

Gideon Lack, who led the research, said: "Our study supports the widely held views by parents that it is more satiating for a baby to have solids".

1,303 exclusively breastfed three-month-olds from England and Wales were involved in the population-based randomized clinical trial.

An FSA spokesperson said: "We are encouraging all women to stick to existing advice to exclusively breastfeed for around the first six months of age". Infants in the early introduction group began solids at about 16 weeks, on average, compared to 23 weeks in the standard introduction group.




But Grosso noted that recent studies have suggested that the early and controlled introduction of certain allergens - peanut, most notably - can actually help prevent food allergies. However, a previous USA study found that while the majority of babies are being introduced to solids sooner, parents are doing this in place of breast milk or formula, rather than as an addition.

The researchers found that infants in the EIG group slept significantly longer and woke significantly less frequently than those in the SIG who were given early introduction of solids; the differences peaked at age 6 months. The early group also slept about 17 minutes longer per day and awoke less frequently throughout the night.

They were also far less likely to suffer serious sleep disorders.

"Given that infant sleep directly affects parental quality of life, even a small improvement can have important benefits", Perkin explains to BBC. The babies were divided into two groups.

Responding to the study, Prof Mary Fewtrell, nutrition lead at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, pointed out that guidelines for infant feeding are now being reviewed.

"We expect to see updated recommendations on infant feeding in the not too distant future". But the findings don't mean parents should feel free to give solid food to infants younger than six months to improve their sleep, he added. If there is any doubt about what's best for your baby, please seek advice from your doctor or health professional'.