One of the biggest struggles as a parent is figuring out when to introduce solid foods into an infant's daily feeding routine. A new study has shown that solid foods can have a very positive effect on a baby's sleep schedule, which will not only benefit the child but the parent as well.
BBC News recently reported on a study featured in JAMA Pediatrics, which states that babies who had solid foods incorporated into daily feedings as early as three months old developed better sleeping habits. The babies were still breastfeeding too, but the solid foods definitely had a positive impact.
King's College, London, and St George's, University of London jointly performed the new study. 1303 three-month-old babies and their parents participated. The babies were divided into two groups. The first group of little ones was solely breastfed for six months. The second group of cuties was given solid foods in addition to breastmilk.
Is your baby having problems sleeping? Switching to solid foods as early as 3 months could help, according to a new study. Learn more via @cnnhealth: https://t.co/npy5POnQaU pic.twitter.com/MsYmF1Jith— Dignity Health AZ (@DignityHealthAZ) July 11, 2018
Each month the parents filled out a form answering questions about their child. Once the babies reached 1-year-old the questionnaires were only filled out every three months. The process continued until all of the participants reached 3-years-old.
After all the data was collected, the study showed that those who were fed solid foods starting at three-months-old had much better sleeping habits. They not only slept longer but also woke up less often throughout the night. Their sleep patterns were better than those who were exclusively fed breastmilk.
However, what is interesting about these findings is that even though the patterns were better the difference was not significant. For example, babies that were fed solid foods with breastmilk only slept on average about 15 minutes longer per night than the other group. Yes, it adds up to almost two extra hours of sleep for the parents per week but still, it was not as though the babies were sleeping an additional hour each night.
What was significant, however, was the general overall sleep patterns for those introduced to solid foods earlier. The babies in that group overall had fewer problems when it came to sleeping. They were less irritable which made for much happier parents.
It is an interesting study. Based on the findings would you change when you gave your little one solid food? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!