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Early Introduction of Solids Linked to Better Infant Sleep

WEDNESDAY, July 11, 2018 — Early introduction of solids is associated with significantly longer sleep and less-frequent waking for infants, according to a study published online July 9 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Michael R. Perkin, Ph.D., from the University of London, and colleagues conducted a population-based randomized trial involving 1,303 exclusively breastfed 3-month-old infants. Participants were randomized to an early introduction group (EIG), which continued to breastfeed while nonallergenic and six allergenic foods were introduced, and a standard introduction group (SIG) that followed British infant feeding guidelines, which recommend avoiding any food consumption for around six months of exclusive breastfeeding.

The researchers found that infants in the EIG group slept significantly longer and woke significantly less frequently than those in the SIG who were given early introduction of solids; the differences peaked at age 6 months. At this point, infants in the EIG slept for 16.6 minutes longer per night and the frequency of night waking decreased from 2.01 to 1.74 wakings per night in the intention-to-treat analysis. Very serious sleep problems, which correlate with maternal quality of life, were reported significantly more often in the SIG versus the EIG group (odds ratio, 1.8).

“[T]he early introduction of solids into the infant’s diet was associated with longer sleep duration, less frequent waking at night, and a reduction in reported very serious sleep problems,” the authors write.

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Posted: July 2018

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