Call 413.540.1234 to
schedule an appointment
CONCERN/EAP: 413.534.2625
Billing questions? Call: 413.540.1212
CRISIS: 413.733.6661

Child Development & Parenting: Infants (0-2)
Resources
Basic Information
Infant Development: How Your Baby Grows and MaturesInfant Parenting: Keeping Your Baby Healthy and HappyInfant Safety: Keeping Your Baby SafeInfant Enrichment: Stimulating Your Baby
More InformationLatest News
Treatment for Teething Pain Poses Serious Health Threat: FDAFetal Growth, Maternal Anger Impact Infant RegulationInfants Know Real 'Baby Talk' When They Hear ItOpioid Crisis Means More Newborns With Hepatitis C, But Few Get TestedCCHD Newborn Screening May Detect Other DiseasesHealth Tip: Prevent Hand, Foot and Mouth DiseaseMultiple Anesthesia Exposures Affect Learning and AttentionHealth Tip: Milestones to Look for by Age 5Anesthesia Doesn't Seem to Harm Child's IQ: StudyHealth Tip: Prevent Poisoning at HomeHeath Tip; How to Introduce Your Child to PeanutsHealth Tip: When to See a Doctor for Cradle CapZika Infection After Birth May Require Long-Term Follow-UpRear-Facing Car Seats Protect Tots in Crashes From Behind: StudyBabies Given Certain Meds May Have Higher Odds for Allergies LaterHealth Tip: Which Car Seat Should Your Child Use?Baby Sitters, Relatives Often Unaware of SIDS RiskReading With Your Toddler Boosts More Than Just Language SkillsHealth Tip: Treat Diarrhea in Young BabiesNew Moms Still Wary of Exposing Infants to PeanutsHealth Tip: Use a High Chair SafelyPoison Prevention at HomeGenetic Heart Defects Rarely the Cause of SIDS, Research ShowsVaccine Exposure in First 23 Months Has No Adverse ImpactMechanical Heart Valve Approved for NewbornsMom's Immune System May Affect Baby's BrainVaccines Don't Weaken Babies' Immune Systems: StudyHealth Tip: Prevent Tooth Decay in BabiesPointers for Easier Potty TrainingHealth Tip: Make Sure Babies Eat RightGut Microbiota May Affect Vertical Transmission of Being OverweightHealth Tip: Protect Baby from Whooping CoughMany Parents in the Dark on When Kids Should First See a DentistStroke May Not Mean Language Loss for NewbornsCause of Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths Shifts in the U.S.Babies Face Higher SIDS Risk in Certain StatesNICU Family Integrated Care Ups Infant, Parent OutcomesBabies With Normal Head Size Might Still Have Zika-Linked Brain DamageZika Tied to Rise in U.S. Birth Defects: CDCNutrients in Child's First 1,000 Days Key for NeurodevelopmentOpioid Epidemic Also Taking Toll on BabiesHome Visit Program Can Help Prevent Toddler ObesityHealth Tip: Succeed in Toilet TrainingNeurodevelopment Not Impacted by Glucocorticoids in PreemiesToo Many Babies Still Die Needlessly of SIDS, CDC Says16 Percent of Infants Receive Complementary Foods Too Early2013 to 2015 Infant Mortality Rate Varied by State and RaceHealth Tip: Health Tip: Prepare Your Child for the DentistMost U.S. Babies Start Solid Foods Too SoonSpecial Baby Formula Doesn't Seem to Prevent Type 1 Diabetes
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Child & Adolescent Development: Overview
Childhood Mental Disorders and Illnesses
Parenting
Child Development & Parenting: Early (3-7)
Child Development & Parenting: Middle (8-11)

Even Partial Breast-Feeding for First Few Months Lowers SIDS Risk

HealthDay News
by By Gia MillerHealthDay Reporter
Updated: Oct 31st 2017

new article illustration

TUESDAY, Oct. 31, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- New research confirms that breast-feeding for two to four months of a newborn's life can significantly reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

But the study also found moms don't need to breast-feed exclusively to reap that benefit. Even partial breast-feeding will do, the 20-region study found.

"What is, perhaps, surprising is that there does not appear to be any benefit of exclusive breast-feeding over partial breast-feeding in relation to SIDS, though there are many other benefits associated with exclusive breast-feeding," explained study author John Thompson, from New Zealand's University of Auckland.

The analysis included research from eight major international studies. The researchers reviewed over 2,200 SIDS case patients and over 6,800 "control" infants. There was great variability in the rates of any breast-feeding and exclusive breast-feeding, the findings showed.

While the research concluded that breast-feeding for at least two months was associated with half the risk of SIDS, breast-feeding for four months provided even greater protection, and continuing after that time provided further small increases.

"The peak incidence of SIDS is from two to four months, so this may be the most critical period in terms of the protective effect of breast-feeding," Thompson said.

For moms who struggle with breast-feeding, this research may provide a great comfort, knowing that some breast milk is better than none, said Dr. Jennifer Kurtz. She is chief of neonatology at Long Island Jewish Forest Hills in New York City.

"A lot of moms really struggle with breast-feeding, and after those first two months they may not be able to exclusively breast-feed," Kurtz explained.

"Many don't have great milk supplies to begin with, and as the baby grows they need more milk and the moms aren't able to keep up with the demand," she said.

"Or, moms may also struggle if they need to go back to work. For a lot of working women it's stressful to carry a pump and create a schedule. With some jobs it's not easy to set aside time to pump, and it really becomes a challenge," Kurtz added.

It's still unclear how breast-feeding might offer protective effects against SIDS, but there are several theories, the study authors said.

Some research has indicated that breast-fed infants are more easily aroused from sleep than formula-fed infants, which might help them to wake if they're having trouble breathing.

Differences have also been found in a mother's response to her infant's behavioral cues, depending on feeding mode, which may also affect the baby's sleep and arousal patterns.

Additionally, research has shown that breast-feeding provides immune benefits that help prevent viral infections. Such infections are associated with an increased risk of SIDS, the study authors said.

Whatever the reason, "this (study) provides very strong evidence of the benefits of breast-feeding in relation to the protective effects with SIDS," Thompson noted.

"This will hopefully provide more emphasis on public health efforts to increase the initiation and continuation of breast-feeding around the world," he added.

Both Thompson and Kurtz pointed out that while breast-feeding is preferable for the first four months to help decrease the risk of SIDS, it shouldn't stop there, if possible.

They advised following the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendations that breast-feeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mother and baby desire.

"Breast-feeding is good for many reasons," Kurtz said. "You are passing on immunoglobulins for children that help prevent them from getting illnesses, it's a great bonding experience, and children that are breast-fed are less likely to be obese or get diabetes."

The study was published online Oct. 30 in the journal Pediatrics.

More information

Learn more about reducing the risk of SIDS from the American Academy of Pediatrics.