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"Breastfeeding is protective against SIDS, and this effect is stronger when breastfeeding is exclusive."

"All health professionals should speak in 1 voice about the importance of breastfeeding, which now adds SIDS risk reduction to its long list of maternal and infant health benefits."

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Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN

Faith Bontrager, RN, BSNFaith's passion in nursing is to help people find the options they need to discover their personal path to optimum health. Ask her friends and they will tell you that their appreciation of nutritious food has grown through Faith. About Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN




 

A Healthy Pregnancy
Best Early Nutrition Provides Lowered Disease Risk



Have you noticed that a healthy lifestyle choice often provides more than one benefit?

Those who have read this column for any length of time are already quite aware that breastfeeding is GREAT nutrition for babies, know that it helps protect baby from infections, know it decreases the mother's risk of disease and are aware that Mom's nutritious, varied diet can help develop baby's sense of taste when they eat solid food. Who could ask for more? But there is!

The June 13 issue of the journal Pediatrics (2011;128) reported that breastfeeding reduces the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Previous studies on this topic have been inconsistent or were hindered by loose definition of SIDS or inconsistencies as to amounts of breastfeeding. The authors wanted to see if breastfeeding was protective and how much breastfeeding provided additional protection.

Any amount of breastfeeding reduced the risk of SIDS, but protection was stronger for babies that were exclusively breastfed. The way the data was analyzed indicated that it was the breastfeeding itself that was protective, not simply that breastfed babies were in more favorable socioeconomic groups or less likely to be exposed to second hand smoke.

The authors noted that the benefits of breastfeeding are consistent for black and minority infants and lamented the fact that breastfeeding occurs less often with black mothers and those of other minorities and among socially disadvantaged mothers. SIDS rates are higher in these groups.

The researchers recommended that breastfeeding be recommended for all newborn infants and that babies be exclusively breastfed for 4-6 months (American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 6 months). They (along with AAP) recommend continuing breastfeeding for at least one year unless the mother has a medical condition that prohibits breastfeeding.

Having concerns about your ability to breastfeed? Talk with a lactation professional at the hospital where you plan to give birth or contact La Leche League (a breastfeeding support group).

Consider breastfeeding your baby!