Babies Given Solid Foods Earlier May Sleep Better

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The World Health Organization (WHO), American Academy of Pediatrics, and National Health Service in the United Kingdom recommend that new mothers breastfeed exclusively for about six months before introducing solid foods to their infants. But a study published in JAMA Pediatrics suggests introducing solids at 3 months of age is usually safe and results in small, but significant, improvements in sleep.

In this randomized clinical trial involving 1,303 3-month-old infants, babies introduced to solid foods slept longer, didn’t wake up as much at night, and had fewer serious sleep problems than infants who breastfed exclusively for six months.

This finding is hardly surprising to many parents: In a survey conducted in 2010, only about 1 percent of mothers in the U.K. reported breastfeeding exclusively until their babies were 6 months old, while 75 percent reported introducing solid foods before five months. Of those who started solids earlier than recommended, 26 percent reported that infant nighttime waking influenced their decision to do so.

Sourced from: JAMA Pediatrics