Breastfeeding at least 2 months reduces SIDS risk, study shows

Breastfeeding cut risk nearly in half

Do you want to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)? Then breastfeed at least two months.

A study by the University of Virginia School of Medicine found that breastfeeding for the first two months of an infant’s life can cut the risk of SIDS in half.

We’ve known that breastfeeding has many benefits, including reducing the incidence of ear infections, pneumonia, diarrhea/vomiting, leukemia and diabetes,” said Elizabeth Doyle, M.D., pediatrician and director of lactation services at Norton Healthcare. “We’ve also known it can reduce the risk of SIDS, but this is the first study to add the two month time frame.

The study showed that any amount of breastfeeding in those crucial first two months is beneficial. The longer a mother breastfeeds, the more the baby is protected against SIDS.

While this study shows even small amounts of breastfeeding is beneficial, it’s helpful to remember that exclusive breastfeeding can have even greater benefits,” Dr. Doyle said.

For the breastfeeding mother, it lowers the risk of breast cancer, helps return to pre-pregnancy weight and also recover from childbirth more quickly.

Human milk is species-specific and changes to meet an infant’s needs at every stage. Formula is made from cow’s milk, and it doesn’t contain the same benefits. Breastfeeding is truly an investment worth making.”

Other studies show that if nearly every mother breastfed her baby at birth, it could save more than 800,000 children’s lives worldwide each year. Breastfeeding in the first hour of life is crucial for baby, according to other studies.

While not all mothers take to breastfeeding as easily as others, help is available. Norton Healthcare Lactation Centers and

Services, a part of Norton Women’s Care, offers one-on-one assistance with breastfeeding issues. Help includes pumping and back-to-work consultations, individual prenatal consultations and assistance with special needs infants. The specialists also can offer advice on feeding multiples and dealing with babies having difficulty gaining weight. In addition, specialists can analyze breast milk for fat and caloric content.

Norton eCare also provides online video visits for breastfeeding support.

The Baby Bistro & Boutique in Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital sells and rents breastfeeding supplies and equipment. That includes breast pumps and parts, breastfeeding bras and breastfeeding pillows. The Norton Healthcare Foundation’s support created the shop.

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