Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Breastfeeding noted to reduce risk of SIDS

breastfeeding-in-pubilc.jpgBreastfeeding reduced the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by about 50% at all ages throughout infancy in a study just published in the March issue of the Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Infant survival curves showed that both partial breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding were associated with a reduced risk of SIDS.

This finding is consistent with several previous studies in the past decade that have noted a relation between lack of breastfeeding and SIDS.

The authors state: “This large study … adds to the body of evidence showing that breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS, and that this protection continues as long as the infant is breastfed.”

This study, done in Germany, was controlled for such factors as maternal smoking in pregnancy, maternal family status, maternal age at delivery, socioeconomic status, previous live births, infant birth weight, bed sharing in last night, pillow in infant’s bed, additional heating in last sleep, sleep position, and pacifier use.

The authors continue: “The implication of our findings is that these infants would especially benefit from being breastfed at this early age and that breastfeeding should be continued until the infant is 6 months of age and the risk of SIDS is low. Breastfeeding is recommended by the World Health Organization on other grounds. The morbidity and mortality of infants is reduced when they are exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life. Being breastfed also reduces the risk of acute otitis media, atopic eczema, gastrointestinal infections, and lower respiratory infections it seems somewhat surprising that breastfeeding has not been included in the American Academy of Pediatrics and United Kingdom Department of Health SIDS prevention recommendations.”

“In the last 20 years, the prevention campaigns to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome were very successful,” conclude M. M. Vennemann, MD, MPH, PD, fromUniversity of Münster in Münster, Germany, and colleagues from the German Study of Sudden Infant Death Study Group. “In some countries the advice to breastfeed is included in the campaigns’ messages, but in other countries it is not….We recommend including the advice to breastfeed through 6 months of age in sudden infant death syndrome risk-reduction messages.”


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