Can breastfeeding reduce the risk of SIDS?
New research shows that breastfed babies are 60% less likely to die of SIDS than babies who never received any breast milk. Find out the connection between breastmilk and SIDs, and how to fight SIDS other ways!
According to new research, breastfed babies are 60% less likely to die of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) than babies who never received any breast milk. In fact, the babies who were strictly breastfed had an even greater chance of not succumbing to SIDS. SIDS takes place when a healthy baby has an unexplained death, which usually happens during sleep. It is the leading cause of post neonatal death and is also referred to as ‘crib death’.
What’s the connection?
This most recent study is actually a compilation of data from several studies done over the last 40 years. While it is heavily based on other observational studies, they do provide some interesting information on how breastfeeding may reduce the chance of SIDS.
– Breastfed babies wake up more often from sleep to feed compared to formula-fed infants during the first months of life — which is the primary time when most cases of SIDS occur. Their sleep is also not as deep of a sleep as a formula-fed baby’s, which means their breathing patterns don’t become as shallow.
– The natural immunities in breast milk cut the risk of infections and illnesses, which may or may not be linked to SIDS. We don’t know if SIDS is related to respiratory problems yet, but anything that can cut the risk of respiratory problems is definitely a plus.
While almost all babies who die of SIDS are, by all appearances, perfectly healthy babies, something obviously goes terribly wrong for about 50 out of 100,000 babies born each year. The fact that breastfeeding has been proven to have numerous health benefits to babies, this research could be another addition to that list.
Other ways to fight SIDS
In addition to using breastfeeding to fight SIDS, there are a number of other things parents can and should do to protect their babies. These include:
– Staying current on all immunisations
– Use a firm mattress in the crib and snug-fitted bedding
– Do not use bumper pads in the crib
– Only use a crib that meets all safety standards
– Don’t sleep with your baby
– Use only blankets that are breathable and won’t entangle your baby
– Don’t leave toys in the crib
– Keep the room at a moderate temperature
The facts on SIDS
The cold, hard facts about SIDS are that we don’t know what causes it, what precursors there are (if any) and what (if any) the warning signs are. We only know that it is very real and still the number one killer of infants under the age of 1. We know that babies who are breastfed do have a greater chance of NOT dying from SIDS but that it is no guarantee. Last but not least, SIDS is devastating and that no parent should have to live through the pain.
What do you think about the new research? Share your personal experiences and thoughts on SIDS.