Researchers from King’s College London suggest that consuming solid foods led to good sleep hygiene in infants.
Most health professionals do advice to exclusively breastfeed infants until around six months of age. However, according to National Health Statistics’ (NHS) Infant Feeding Survey, 75% of British mothers introduce solids before five months, with a quarter (26%), citing infant night time waking as influencing their decision. A new research by King’s College London and St George’s University of London observed that infants introduced to solid foods early, slept longer and woke less frequently at night. However, infants exclusively breastfed for around the first six months of life suffered serious sleep problems. The research was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on June 09, 2018.
The clinical trial involved around 1300 exclusively breastfed three-month-olds from England and Wales. The infants were divided into two groups. One group observed standard infant feeding practices and were encouraged to exclusively breastfeed for around six months. However, the second group continued to breastfeed along with solid foods diet from the age of three months. Parents were asked to complete online questionnaires every month until the infant was 12 months. The questionnaires continued for every three months up to three years of age and frequency of food consumption and questions about breastfeeding frequency and duration, along with sleep duration were recorded. The researchers assessed maternal quality of life using World Health Organization standards of physical and psychological health, social relationships and environment. The researchers observed that 94% of the subjects completed the three-year questionnaire and based on this information it was found that infants who consumed solids early slept longer and woke less frequently. However, the other group that followed standard infant feeding practices suffered serious sleep problems.