Babies Introduced To Solids Early Sleep Longer And Wake Less Frequently

Babies Introduced To Solids Early Sleep Longer And Wake Less Frequently

The parents followed up with monthly questionnaires until their children reached their first birthday, then quarterly until they reached 3 years of age.

The Government now advises mothers to feed babies exclusively with breastmilk until they are at least six months, and only then gradually introduce solids.

More importantly, they were also found to be half as likely to develop sleep problems such as crying and irritability.

Others are more cautious of the new findings such as Atlanta-based pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu, who wasn't part of the study.

But don't get those tiny spoons out quite yet: The World Health Organization, American Academy of Pediatrics and other groups recommend that infants be breast-fed exclusively for the first six months, after which solids can be introduced. "The well-established benefits of breast milk need to be weighed up against the potential benefits of early introduction of solid food which displaces breast milk".

Feedback about maternal wellbeing showed that sleep problems, which are significantly associated with maternal quality of life, were reported less frequently in the group introducing solids before six months.

"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.


The researchers from King's College, London, and the University of London admitted it was possible that mothers giving their babies solids may have responded to their questions in a more positive manner, having expected a positive effect, since many parents already believe that the practice encourages better sleep.

While experts generally recommend exclusive breastfeeding until a baby turns 6 months old, researchers offer an alternative feeding plan that can help the family sleep better at night.

"There is no clear physiological reason why introducing solids foods early would help a baby sleep, especially not for the very small amounts parents were instructed to give in this trial", she said. At this point, infants in the EIG slept for 16.6 minutes longer per night and the frequency of night waking decreased from 2.01 to 1.74 wakings per night in the intention-to-treat analysis.

Some babies like to start with mashed foods. Given that infant sleep directly affects parental quality of life, even a small improvement can have important benefits'.

"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". The second group, while continuing to breastfeed, was asked to introduce solid foods.

"We expect to see updated recommendations on infant feeding in the not too distant future".

A Food Standards Agency (FSA) spokesperson said, "We are encouraging all women to stick to existing advice to exclusively breastfeed for around the first six months of age". If there is any doubt about what's best for your baby, please seek advice from your doctor or health professional'.

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