Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Babies fed with solids early sleep longer, wake less frequently

Babies fed with solids early sleep longer, wake less frequently

A study published on Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics has found that babies who were introduced to solid foods early slept longer, woke less frequently at night than those exclusively breastfed for around the first six months of life.

At the six month mark, both groups of children were eating solid foods.

The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK has similar guidelines and the UK Department of Health and Social Care recommends that solid food should be introduced only when the infant is ready.

They performed a secondary analysis of the Enquiring About Tolerance (EAT) trial, which was originally created to examine the effects of early food introduction on the development of food allergies.

One group was exclusively breastfed for six months, the other group was given solid foods in addition to breast milk from the age of three months.

His team tracked 1,300 babies who had each been exlusively breastfed until three months.

'We found a small but significant increase in sleep duration and less frequent waking at night.

Maternal quality of life was also assessed using World Health Organisation measures of physical and psychological health, social relationships and environment.

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Researchers derived the sample from 1,225 participants who completed the final 3-year questionnaire - 618 in the standard introduction group and 607 in the early introduction group.

Traditionally, new moms have been told to keep babies on breastmilk for the first six months of life, and gradually introduce solid foods after six months.

A study by King's College London and St. George's University of London in the United Kingdom have found that babies who are given solid food along with breast milk right from three months of age sleep better than the babies who are exclusively breastfed. The study showed that feeding babies solids brought down the median number of times they woke in the night from 2.01 to 1.74 times per night.

Some were introduced to solid foods right away, with the remainder holding off until they attained the previously recommended 6-month mark, Newsweek reported. She said that "while there was a short period of time in which the infants [in the study] seemed to sleep better, it can be argued that the benefits [of early solid foods] do not outweigh the risks and possible future negative effects".

An FSA spokesperson said: 'The FSA has an important role to play in funding research such as the EAT Study that helped expand our knowledge about how allergies develop.

A Food Standards Agency spokesman said: 'This further analysis. could be of interest to parents, however, there are limitations to the findings. If there is any doubt about what's best for your baby, please seek advice from your doctor or health professional'.

Prof Mary Fewtrell, nutrition lead at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, responding to the study, guided that this advice for feeding solid food to the infant is under review.

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