Babies fed with solids early sleep longer, wake less frequently

  • Babies fed with solids early sleep longer, wake less frequently

Babies fed with solids early sleep longer, wake less frequently

The results inferred from this study pointed out that the infants who began consuming solid foods earlier slept for a longer duration of time.

The NHS Choices website says: "Starting solid food won't make your baby any more likely to sleep through the night". Participants were randomized to an early introduction group (EIG), which continued to breastfeed while nonallergenic and six allergenic foods were introduced, and a standard introduction group (SIG) that followed British infant feeding guidelines, which recommend avoiding any food consumption for around six months of exclusive breastfeeding.

If there's one thing frazzled new parents crave, it's that their baby sleeps well.

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". The second group, while continuing to breastfeed, were asked to introduce solid foods to their infants' diet from the age of three months.

For now, women are still being encouraged to wait six months before giving their baby solid foods, but given the research, that's advice we might see change in the future.

And he said that some babies who frequently cough or splutter when drinking milk may struggle to eat solids - and for those children solids should not be introduced too early.

Researchers from the United Kingdom and U.S. looked at data collected as part of a clinical trial exploring whether early introduction of certain foods could reduce the chance of an infant developing an allergy to them.

The researchers found that babies introduced to solid foods early slept longer and woke less frequently at night and suffered fewer serious sleep problems than those exclusively breastfed for around the first six months of life.

Plus, the added sleep time associated with solid food may not be as much as some parents think.

"At the RCPCH, we recommend that mothers should be supported to breastfeed their healthy-term infant exclusively for up to six months, with solid foods not introduced before four months". That amounted to about two extra hours of sleep a week at age 6 months and waking two less times a night.

"Given that infant sleep directly affects parental quality of life, even a small improvement can have important benefits", Perkin explains to BBC.

The findings provide some solid data to back up the long-held belief that feeding infants solid food helps them sleep better, Dr Jae Kim, a neonatologist at of the University of California San Diego and the Radey Children's Hospital of San Diego, told Reuters Health in a phone interview.

"However, the evidence base for the existing advice on exclusive breastfeeding is over 10 years old, and is now being reviewed in the United Kingdom by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition", Fewtrell continues. If there is any doubt about what's best for your baby, please seek advice from your doctor or health professional'.