Babies given solid food early sleep better, study claims

Giving babies solid foods early do the cons outweigh the pros

Giving babies solid foods early do the cons outweigh the pros

Writing in the journal Jama Pediatrics, Lack and a team of researchers behind the study say while there is a common belief that eating solid food helps a baby to sleep better - with one NHS survey suggesting most mothers give their child food before five months - many sources of advice for new parents, including the NHS and the National Childbirth Trust, recommend that parents should wait until six months before introducing solids.

Researchers from the United Kingdom and U.S. looked at data collected as part of a clinical trial exploring whether early introduction of certain foods could reduce the chance of an infant developing an allergy to them.

The scientists found that the babies who were given the solid foods slept slightly longer, woke less frequently and were less likely to have very serious sleep problems than the babies given only breastmilk.

The new data come from the Enquiring About Tolerance (EAT) study, which involved 1,303 infants and was created to investigate whether introducing solid foods earlier might help prevent food allergies. "Given that infant sleep directly affects parental quality of life, even a small improvement can have important benefits".

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.

'At the RCPCH, we recommend that mothers should be supported to breastfeed their healthy term infant exclusively for up to six months, with solid foods not introduced before four months.

The questionnaires recorded the frequency of food consumption and included questions about breastfeeding frequency and duration, as well as questions about sleep duration.


Dr Clare Llewellyn and Dr Hayley Syrad, who have researched baby eating habits for over a decade, said the first foods introduced to children at around six months should be bitter vegetables, as these are the foods most commonly disliked by children.

There's also the question of whether longer sleep is actually a good thing for babies - although it clearly can be helpful for parents, Kim noted.

Brown urged caution, noting that no difference in waking was seen until after five months, despite one group being introduced to solids from three months, and that self-report of infant sleep by exhausted parents was unlikely to be precise. Babies who sleep more may wind up consuming less breast milk, he added.

They also woke less frequently.

She said: "These are interesting findings from a large randomised controlled trial".

"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".

An 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'.

Recommended News

  • Reds open talks to sign £13m Shaqiri from Stoke

    Reds open talks to sign £13m Shaqiri from Stoke

    Liverpool are confident that they will sign Swiss global Xherdan Shaqiri this summer, according to a report in The Guardian. The exact nature of the release clause in Shaqiri's contract is unknown, though it is believed to be in excess of £13m.
    Widow of Chinese Nobel dissident Liu Xiaobo arrives in Berlin

    Widow of Chinese Nobel dissident Liu Xiaobo arrives in Berlin

    Friends say Liu Xia had expressed an interest in going to Germany, where she has a network of friends among Chinese dissidents. June 2016: Liu Xia reunited with Liu Xiaobo in hospital. "I hope her life from now on is filled with peace and happiness".
    Russian Federation  v Croatia quarter-final

    Russian Federation v Croatia quarter-final

    At 1-1, Fernandes missed his shot - only the second player to miss in any of the four shootouts at this year's World Cup . The Croats hadn't advanced to the semifinals at the World Cup since 1998, when the country made its first appearance.
  • Finch rises to top of ICC's T20I rankings

    Finch rises to top of ICC's T20I rankings

    The teams split the two group games of the tournament in Zimbabwe , with Pakistan powering to a 45-run win on Thursday. The 6th match of Australia and Pakistan in Zimbabwe T20I Tri-Series, 2018 is between Australia and Zimbabwe .
    US Embassy in London alerts Americans of possible violence during Trump visit

    US Embassy in London alerts Americans of possible violence during Trump visit

    Trump is scheduled to meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May and Queen Elizabeth II later this month. These events are expected to draw large crowds and close roads.
    France and Belgium fight it out for World Cup final place

    France and Belgium fight it out for World Cup final place

    Fellaini adds a muscular presence in midfield next to Witsel, making the Belgium team far more balanced. A year later, again in Brussels, the match wasn't so close, with the hosts annihilating the French 7-0.
  • Jet Blue crew helps dog in distress

    Jet Blue crew helps dog in distress

    She added Darcy has made a complete recovery but she will not fly the dog with her in future without a vet's clearance. Darcy, who was safely tucked into her carrier under the seats in front of the couple, was breathing heavily.
    The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje wins the Golden Man Booker Prize

    The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje wins the Golden Man Booker Prize

    Judge Kamila Shamsie said the story was truly "transformative" as she explained why she had selected it as the victor of the 90s. At the end of may, the jury selected five best books of the 51 who received the Pulitzer prize.
    Listeria death in Victoria linked to strain found in recalled frozen vegetables

    Listeria death in Victoria linked to strain found in recalled frozen vegetables

    The general, symptoms include headache, fever, tiredness and aches and pains, as well as diarrhoea, nausea and abdominal cramps. Listeria is a type of bacteria that can live in soil, water, dust, animal faeces or other substances.
  • All the Details on Kate Middleton's Look for Prince Louis' Christening

    All the Details on Kate Middleton's Look for Prince Louis' Christening

    It was a family affair for the Middletons, who all stepped out on Monday afternoon to celebrate Prince Louis' christening . He helped organize William's bachelor party and is married to an American, Holiday Inn heiress Lizzie Wilson.
    Trump administration freezes risk adjustment payments

    Trump administration freezes risk adjustment payments

    The move brought a sharp response from health insurers warning of market disruptions and higher costs. In the MA case, however, a federal judge upheld the Obamacare formula, the Journal reports .
    ANP leader among 12 martyred in Peshawar blast

    ANP leader among 12 martyred in Peshawar blast

    Expressing grief over the incident, Imran Khan demanded from the authorities to bring the culprits to justice. He says another 35 people were wounded in the attack, including Bilour's 16-year-old son.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.