Babies should be fed solid food from just 3 MONTHS

Babies should be fed solid food from just 3 MONTHS

Lack said a crucial finding is that parents who were asked to exclusively breastfeed had nearly twice the odds of reporting a serious problem with their child's sleep than those who were asked to introduce their babies to solid food early. To help sort the issue out, researchers at King's College London tracked the sleep and nutrition of more than 1,200 infants in the United Kingdom who were breast-fed only for their first three months.

"Breast milk boosts an infant's immune system and contributes to brain development, so there are also benefits to exclusive breastfeeding for six months", explained Dr. Clare Llewellyn, a lecturer in behavioral science and health at the United Kingdom -based University College London, Newsweek reported.

The new study found that those babies who given solid food and also breast milk so they can sleep better for a long time as compared to those babies who only depend on breast milk.

The authors explained the "commonly held belief" that introducing solid foods earlier helps babies sleep better. The parents who participated in the research completed online questionnaires every month for the following 9 months, and then once in every three months up to three years of age.

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.

"We believe the most likely explanation for our findings of improved sleep is that that these babies are less hungry" said Lack, adding that solid foods might mean less regurgitation or greater feelings of being full.

The results inferred from this study pointed out that the infants who began consuming solid foods earlier slept for a longer duration of time.

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Fruits such as mashed banana are feared to give a baby an early sweet tooth and make them less open to trying vegetables later on. The second group slept for a quarter of an hour longer every night - that's 2 hours more each week. Given that infant sleep directly affects parental quality of life, even a small improvement can have important benefits'.

Prof Mary Fewtrell, nutrition lead at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, responding to the study, guided that this advice for feeding solid food to the infant is under review.

"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".

They also found these benefits were long lasting - with the babies who had started eating earlier still sleeping better at one year of age.

Mary Fewtrell, the nutrition lead at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, says that their group is now recommending mothers to wait until 6 months before starting to feed their children solids.

'We expect to see updated recommendations on infant feeding in the not too distant future'.

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