Babies Who Are Given Solid Food Sooner Will Sleep Better

How to get baby to sleep more: Feed solids early, study suggests

The parents fill out the questionnaire online every month until their baby was 12 months old and after it, the parents filled it in every three months until their baby was three years old.

The Government now advises mothers to feed babies exclusively with breastmilk until they are at least six months, and only then gradually introduce solids. However he also stated that he believed "the most likely explanation for our findings of improved sleep is that that these babies are less hungry".

US pediatrician Grosso agreed, saying the study could prompt a new look at guidelines.

It's been proven that the babies from the second group, who were breastfed and were given solid food have slept for longer and have woken up less frequently - overall, their sleep problems were nearly non-existent, in comparison with those babies who were only fed with breast milk. However, 75% of British mothers introduce solids before five months, with a quarter (26%), citing infant night time waking as influencing their decision.

Feedback on maternal wellbeing showed that sleep problems (as defined by the parents), which were significantly associated with maternal quality of life, were reported less frequently in the group introducing solids before six months.

In addition, the solid food eaters also woke up less frequently throughout the night, with researchers measuring about two fewer middle-of-the-night wake-ups!

Michael Perkin, of the Population Health Research Institute and St George's Hospital, both in London, said results from the new analysis suggest that better sleep could be another benefit of starting solids early.

The study on solids was part-funded by the Food Standards Agency, which was also looking at how allergies develop in babies. The questionnaires recorded the frequency of food consumption and included questions about breastfeeding frequency and duration, as well as questions about sleep duration.

"There was an extremely strong relationship between mother's quality of life and infant sleep, which you anticipate", he added.

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.

"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.

Of course, let's not forget the official advice, and that is to breastfeed your child for his six months of life - exclusively.

'We expect to see updated recommendations on infant feeding in the not too distant future'. The group was split in half, with one group consuming exclusively breastmilk for six months and the other gradually incorporating solid food into their diet along with breastmilk. 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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