Breastfeeding for a minimum of 2 months has a significant protective effect against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), almost halving the risk of its occurrence. This was the primary finding of an analysis of individual-level data from 8 major international case-control studies and other investigations involving about 2260 SIDS cases and 6895 controls.
Breastfeeding for 2 to 4 months conferred this protection against SIDS, and continuing beyond 4 months provided further small increases in protection the longer the breastfeeding continued. Breastfeeding for up to 2 months did not have a statistically significant protective effect, however. Exclusive breastfeeding was not found to have additional benefits over partial breastfeeding when it came to reducing the risk of SIDS (Thompson JMD, et al. Pediatrics. 2017;140:e20171324).
THOUGHTS FROM DR. BURKE
You know lots of reasons to promote breastfeeding in your practice. Reduction of SIDS is one of them. This reassessment of prior case control studies shows that breastfeeding, any breastfeeding, continued for 2 months is associated with a 40% reduction in the odds of SIDS. Keep it in mind. This may be the deciding factor for some mothers in your practice who are wavering about whether to breastfeed their baby.