Women who breastfeed lower the chances that their baby might die of sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS, according to a German study.
The study found that babies who were breastfed for at least six months were significantly less likely to die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) than those who were formula fed.
The study looked at 333 infants who died of SIDS and 998 age-matched infants who did not die. At 2 weeks of age, 83 percent of controls were being breastfed compared to only 50 percent of SIDS infants. At 1 month of age, corresponding rates were 72 percent versus 40 percent.
Exclusive breastfeeding at 1 month cut the risk of SIDS in half, and partial breastfeeding at this point was also linked to a reduced risk.
Research paper details:
Vennemann MM, et al. Does breastfeeding Reduce the Risk of Sudden Infant death Syndrome? Pediatrics. Vol. 123 No. 3 March 2009, pp. e406-e410
CONCLUSIONS. This study shows that breastfeeding reduced the risk of sudden infant death syndrome by 50% at all ages throughout infancy. We recommend including the advice to breastfeed through 6 months of age in sudden infant death syndrome risk-reduction messages.
These results add "to the body of evidence showing that breastfeeding reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, and that this protection continues as long as the infant is breastfed," the investigators conclude.