Infants introduced to solid foods at an earlier age slept longer through the night, while infants with later introduction to solid food were more likely to have sleep problems, researchers found.
Moreover, families of infants who followed the standard introduction of solid food were more likely to report a sleep problem with their children compared to families with earlier food introduction, reported Gideon Lack, MB, BCh, of King’s College London, and colleagues in JAMA Pediatrics.
The authors explained the “commonly held belief” that introducing solid foods earlier helps babies sleep better. But recommendations from the U.K. National Health Service and National Childhood Trust seem to dispute this claim, with the latter citing a study that found no difference in total sleeping time at 9 months between infants who had solid foods introduced before and after age 6 months.
They performed a secondary analysis of the Enquiring About Tolerance (EAT) trial, which was originally designed to examine the effects of early food introduction on the development of food allergies. But the authors noted that the study also included a detailed validated sleep questionnaire that was completed on 15 occasions for the child from 3 months to 3 years.
“To our knowledge, we show for the first time in a randomized clinical trial setting that, consistent with the belief of many parents, the early introduction…