Study: Breastfeeding Fights SIDS

Pediatricians and doctors have another reason to encourage new mothers to breastfeed their infants: it protects against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

A new analysis of 288 studies on breastfeeding found that infants who receive any amount of breast milk were 60 percent less likely to die from SIDS. Babies exclusively breastfed were protected even more.

The study appears in the online version of Pediatrics, a journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Doctors have long touted the health benefits of nursing to mother and newborn but studies have conflicted when it comes to SIDS. The new study’s authors say doctors and pediatricians should tell pregnant women that breastfeeding reduces SIDS.

Other health benefits to the baby include: reducing their risk for childhood leukemia, obesity, diabetes, ear infections, diarrhea and asthma, according to federal health officials.

Breastfeeding is also good for new moms. It prevent postpartum hemorrhage and lowers their risk for type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and postpartum depression.

Women who want to learn more about breastfeeding can attend classes to learn proper techniques and gain confidence.

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Sources: Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatrics, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, La Leche League International

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