Breast feeding lowers risk of SIDS
Breast Feeding lowers the risk of SIDS .The above is the title of a Reuters news article dated Jun 14, 2011, reporting on a scientific study showing that breastfeeding lowers the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The study published on June 13 in the journal Pediatrics showed that infants who were breastfed were less likely to die from SIDS than infants who did not receive any breast milk.
SIDS is the sudden and unexplainable death of an infant occurring several hours after having been put to bed. In the United Kingdom, these incidents were known as “cot death”, while in North America, they were called “crib death”. Statistics show that in the US, about 2500 infants, or about 7 infants per day, die from SIDS every year.
In this study, researchers reviewed 288 previous studies done on breastfeeding and SIDS between the years 1966 and 2009 to see if there was a correlation over time in a large number of studies. Lead researcher, Fern R. Hauck, MD, MS, from the Department of Family Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville, noted, “Breastfeeding is the best method of feeding infants." She continued, “Benefits of breastfeeding include lower risk of post-neonatal mortality. We found a protective effect even after controlling for factors that could explain the association."
The study results showed that even a short duration of breastfeeding was associated with a 60 percent reduction in the risk of SIDS. The largest benefit was with mothers who exclusively breastfed for 2 months or more, where researchers found a 73 percent decreased risk of SIDS.
“There's lots of reasons that breast-feeding is the best form of feeding infants," said Dr. Hauck. "This study provides even further reason to breast-feed.” Hauck and the other researchers made the recommendation, “Ideally, breastfeeding should be exclusive (no formula) for at least four to six months and should be continued until the infant is at least 1 year of age."
In the study’s conclusions, the authors summed up their results and what they feel should be done by saying, “Breastfeeding is protective against SIDS, and this effect is stronger when breastfeeding is exclusive. The recommendation to breastfeed infants should be included with other SIDS risk-reduction messages to both reduce the risk of SIDS and promote breastfeeding for its many other infant and maternal health benefits.”