Babies sleep better if they are given solid food early
12 July, 2018, 15:26 | Author: Sherman Richardson
Although official advice is to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of a baby's life, experts found that giving solids as well as breast milk from three months can help with an infant's slumber.
"When it comes to the recommendations for mothers and their children, I think it's still important to try to aim for exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months", he added.
"However, the study findings are concerning, especially in light of the obesity epidemic", and the connection between early introduction of solids and food allergies.
The study was supported by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), the Davis Foundation, and the UK National Institute for Health Research.
However, most mothers in Britain already ignore this advice, with 75 per cent introducing solids before five months and 26 per cent saying they did so to stop their babies becoming hungry overnight.
The authors said improving sleep from an early age would help long term health, reducing risk of obesity and diabetes.
Good news for exhausted new parents everywhere: A well-fed baby is a sleepier baby.
Further, Lack, the Head of the Department of Pediatric Allergy at King's College London, said, "Lack of sleep can be pretty devastating for babies and their families". However, a previous US 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.
A new study from British researchers published this week in JAMA Pediatrics supports what caregivers have thought for generations - that some solids in an infant's diet may result in a little more rest for parents.
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Researchers in the United Kingdom looked at more than 1,300 three-month old infants.
The type of solid food provided didn't appear to make a difference.
A baby's first food should not be mashed banana or rice, with parents advised to wean their children on broccoli. Parsnip, potato, yam, sweet potato, carrot, apple or pear are the example of a healthy food that you can feed it to your baby.
Differences between the two groups peaked at six months, with the early introduction group sleeping for a quarter of an hour (16.6 minutes) longer per night (almost two hours longer per week). Infants who started solids early also woke up about 9% less often.
Professor Lack said decisions about whether to change the United Kingdom recommendations should stay in the hands of officials, but added: 'Guidelines are already changing around the world'.
The questionnaires recorded the frequency of food consumption and included questions about breastfeeding frequency and duration, besides sleep duration. If there is any doubt about what's best for your baby, please seek advice from your doctor or health professional'.
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.
She added, "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".
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