Breastfeeding for two months cuts risk of SIDS in half

Researchers cite immune benefits and effects on sleeping patterns as a possible reason breastfeeding reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
By Amy Wallace  |  Oct. 30, 2017 at 5:20 PM
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Oct. 30 (UPI) -- The benefits of breastfeeding are well known, but now a new study has found that breastfeeding for two months cuts the risk of sudden infant death syndrome in half.

A new study, published in the October edition of Pediatrics, found that breastfeeding for at least two months cuts the risk of SIDS in half.

Previous studies have shown the benefits of breastfeeding for not just the baby but the mother as well. A study in February of more than 4,700 Korean women found a link between longer duration breastfeeding and a lower risk of metabolic syndrome in the mother.

Researchers from the University of Virginia School of Medicine analyzed eight international studies of 2,259 cases of SIDS and 6,894 controls for the study.

"Breastfeeding for just two months reduces the risk of SIDS by almost half, and the longer babies are breastfed, the greater the protection," Dr. Fern Hauck, of the UVA School of Medicine and the UVA Children's Hospital, said in a news release. "The other important finding from our study is that any amount of breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS -- in other words, both partial and exclusive breastfeeding appear to provide the same benefit."

The findings are leading researchers to call for efforts to increase the rates of breastfeeding worldwide.

"It's great for mothers to know that breastfeeding for at least two months provides such a strong protective effect against SIDS," Dr. Rachel Moon, of the UVA School of Medicine and the UVA Children's Hospital, said. "We strongly support international and national efforts to promote breastfeeding."

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