Researchers have discovered some protective measures you can take to help protect your baby from SIDS. Breastfeeding and Safe Sleep Environment can help.
- Safe Sleep Environment: What does a safe sleep environment look like? On their back, in their own crib, every time. Print Safe Sleep Environment
Breastfeeding studies have shown a decreased incidence of SIDS in breastfed babies. Breastfeeding is the normal way of providing babies with the nutrition needed for healthy growth and development. “Virtually all mothers can breastfeed, provided they have accurate information, and the support of their family, the health care system and society at large”.(1) The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months of life, with continued breastfeeding along with doctor recommended baby food up to two years of age or beyond. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of hospitalization with gastrointestinal and respiratory infections.
A meta-analysis of 23 studies published up to 1997 examining the relationship between SIDS and breastfeeding found the overall risk of SIDS twice as great for formula fed infants compared with breastfed infants. Infant sleep studies have shown that breastfed infants are more easily aroused than formula-fed infants, which may be a mechanism for the protective effect of breastfeeding against SIDS.(2)
Breast-feeding reduces the risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by approximately 50% at all ages throughout infancy. Exclusive breast-feeding at age 1 month was associated with half the risk for SIDS. Both partial breast-feeding and exclusive breast-feeding were linked to a reduced risk for SIDS. Ever breastfeeding was associated with a reduced risk of SIDS.
The advice to breastfeed should be included as a prevention measure. Mothers need to be cautious about breastfeeding in bed or any situation where you may fall asleep while breastfeeding your baby. Always place the baby back in his or her crib or bassinet after breastfeeding.(3) On their back, in their own crib, every time.
Fern Hauck, MD, MS, et al. Breastfeeding and Reduced Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: A Meta-analysis. Pediatrics. July 1, 2011, 2011, Vol. 128, 1