UK: babies that eat solids early sleep better

03 October 2018

Babies introduced to solid foods early sleep longer and wake less frequently at night than those exclusively breastfed for the first six months, according to a new study.

Researchers at King’s College London and St George’s, University of London, carried out a randomised clinical trial involving 1303 exclusively breastfed three-month-olds in England and Wales.

One group followed standard infant-feeding advice to exclusively breastfeed for around six months; the other group, while continuing to breastfeed, was asked to introduce solid foods from three months.

Parents completed questionnaires up until their children were three.

The study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, showed that differences between the two groups peaked at six months, with the early introduction group sleeping for just over a quarter of an hour longer per night, and their night waking frequency decreasing from just over twice a night to 1.74 times.

However, existing UK health departments’ guidelines recommend exclusive breastfeeding for six months.

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