Breastfeeding Can Help Reduce the Incidence of SIDS

As I was looking through the latest published studies on medical topics I saw a study about how breastfeeding can have a protective effect on sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). It interested me so much I decided to share the information with you today. SIDS is the unexpected and sudden death of a child under one year old, with no explainable cause. Ninety percent of children who will die from SIDS are under the age of 6 months. The medical community has not been able to identify the cause of SIDS in children. Instead doctors and researchers think there may be a combination of reasons why children may suffer from SIDS. The highest categories at risk are boys, African-Americans, and Native Americans. One theory is that the child is not able to moderate his or her carbon dioxide levels or he or she has difficulties in sleep arousal. The incidence of SIDS has decreased since 1992 because of the education about the disease to the public. The main recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to reduce the risk of SIDS include the following: • put babies on their backs when sleeping • put babies in a crib to sleep, not in beds with other family members • have babies sleep in the same room but not the same bed as parents • keep the room temperature tempered • have babies on a firm fitted mattress • have the children sleep with a pacifier

In addition to these studies a new one, published in the online version of Pediatrics, reviewed past studies and recommends breastfeeding as a way to reduce the incidence of SIDS. The review of past studies found that children who were breastfed had a 60 percent lower incidence of SIDS and children who were exclusively breastfed, with no formula supplementation had a 70 percent lower incidence of SIDS. They could not identify the underlying reason why this occurred but the protective effect is significant.

This is another supportive reason to encourage women whenever possible to breastfeed their children.

Source 1) at Pediatrics, online June 13, 2011 2)