The US Department of Health and Human Services, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the World Health Organization all officially recommend that infants be exclusively breastfed for the six months after birth.
At the end of the study, it was found that infants in the group who had solids introduced early on had a longer sleep and woke up less frequently than those infants who followed standard feeding advice of exclusively breastfeeding up until around six months of age.
They also found that families in the standard introduction group were more likely than those in the early introduction group to report a small problem (OR 1.2, 95% CI 1.05-1.41) or a very serious problem (OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.22-2.61) with their child's sleep.
The babies who ate solid foods during the study, slept about 17 minutes longer, which can mean up to two extra hours of sleep per week.
Despite the official piece of advice, about 75% of mothers gave solid food to their babies before five months - 26% of the babies were waking up at night frequently because of this reason. Given that infant sleep directly affects parental quality of life, even a small improvement can have important benefits'.
A research at King's College London conducted clinical trial on two groups of women.
What to feed babies in the first six months of life can be controversial, with many mothers feeling judged if they are unable to breastfeed successfully, and guilty if they introduce bottles or solids. The second group, while continuing to breastfeed, were asked to introduce solid foods to their infants' diet from the age of three months.
USA pediatrician Grosso agreed, saying the study could prompt a new look at guidelines.
The findings provide some solid data to back up the long-held belief that feeding infants solid food helps them sleep better, Dr Jae Kim, a neonatologist at of the University of California San Diego and the Radey Children's Hospital of San Diego, told Reuters Health in a phone interview. However, a previous US study found that while the majority of babies are being introduced to solids sooner, parents are doing this in place of breast milk or formula, rather than as an addition.
The type of solid food provided didn't appear to make a difference.
"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", Fewtrell continues. Parsnip, potato, yam, sweet potato, carrot, apple or pear are the example of a healthy food that you can feed it to your baby. If there is any doubt about what's best for your baby, please seek advice from your doctor or health professional'. Half the babies were exclusively breastfed until six months of age, the other half were introduced to a variety of foods including some that are associated with allergies, including peanuts and eggs.