Breastfeeding for 2 Months Halves Risk of SIDS
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va -- October 30, 2017 -- Breastfeeding for at least 2 months reduces a baby’s risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) almost in half, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics.
The study determined that mothers do not need to breastfeed exclusively for their baby to get the benefit, potentially good news for moms who can't or choose not to rely solely on breastfeeding.
“These results are very powerful,” said Kawai Tanabe, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, Virginia. “Our study found that babies who are breastfed for at least 2 months have a significant reduction in their risk of dying from SIDS. Breastfeeding is beneficial for so many reasons, and this is really an important one.”
Previous studies have suggested that breastfeeding was associated with a decreased risk of SIDS, but the current study is the first to determine the duration necessary to provide that protection.
For the study, the researchers analysed 8 major international studies that examined 2,259 cases of SIDS and 6,894 control infants where death did not occur.
The researchers found, after adjusting for variables that could distort their results, that breastfeeding for at least 2 months was associated with a significant decreased risk. Breastfeeding for less than 2 months did not offer such a benefit.
“It's great for mothers to know that breastfeeding for at least 2 months provides such a strong protective effect against SIDS,” said Rachel Moon, MD, University of Virginia School of Medicine. “We strongly support international and national efforts to promote breastfeeding.”
It remains unclear why breastfeeding protects against SIDS, though the researchers cite factors such immune benefits and effects on infant sleeping patterns as possible mechanisms.
SOURCE: University of Virginia Health System