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BREASTFEEDING AND SIDS STATISTICS
SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is every new parent’s worst fear.
Breastfeeding has a dramatic impact on SIDS statistics.
WHAT IS SIDS?
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden death of a baby that has no explanation. It occurs in children who are one month to one year old. The risk is highest in the first 2-3 months.
While it is terrifying, there are things parents can do to reduce their child’s risk.
WHAT IS THE RISK OF SIDS?
The CDC reported that there were 1400 cases of SIDS in 2017.
SIDS rates are highest in Native Americans and lowest in Asians/Pacific Islanders. It strikes more boys than girls.
BREASTFEEDING AND SIDS REDUCTION
Research published in 2017 reported that breastfeeding at least two months reduces the risk of SIDS by 50%! (Source)
A baby does not need to be exclusively breastfed. The article states, “any breastfeeding” for two months or longer.
This is important and significant information that should be shared with expectant and new parents.
- Doctors should be talking about it.
- It should be in parenting magazines and blogs.
- There should be commercials sharing this information.
- It should be billboards!
HOW TO REDUCE SIDS RISK
Currently SIDS cannot be “prevented.” However, these additional recommendations are based on research that show they reduce the risk of SIDS.
Sleep position and SIDS
- Follow the “back to sleep” rule of always placing your baby on his back for sleep.
- This includes daytime naps and nighttime sleep.
- Positioning your baby on her side puts her at a higher risk for SIDS.
- Do no use positioners.
- Parents often ask what to do if their baby rolls onto their tummy on their own. According to the AAP when a baby can roll back and forth on their own you do not have to return them to their back.
Smoking and SIDS
- Do not smoke during pregnancy.
- Do not smoke or allow anyone to smoke around your baby.
Pacifiers and SIDS
- Offer a pacifier at all times of sleep.
- If you are breastfeeding it is recommended to wait a month before offering a pacifier. This provides time to get breastfeeding established.
- The speech therapists who I worked with like the Soothie pacifier.
Sleep environment and SIDS
- The American Academy of Pediatrics considers the safest sleep environment to be a firm flat surface in the parents room but not in their bed (Source).
- There should be nothing in the crib or bassinet. This includes pillows and stuffed animals.
- Use a sleep sack instead of a blanket when needed.
- Do not use bumper pads on cribs or cradles.
- Avoid letting your baby get overheated.
- Avoid covering his head.
Avoid alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy and after birth.
Get prenatal care.
Breastfeed unless contraindicated.
DOES SWADDLING PREVENT SIDS?
The AAP says that if a baby is swaddled for sleep they should be placed on their back, just like at any other time. Some research has shown higher risk of SIDS in babies who are swaddled after six months of age (Source).
Breastfeeding is important in reducing the risk of SIDS.
You know now.
Tell your friends.
Tell your doctor.
Post it on social media.
There are many other reasons you should breastfeed.
BREASTFEEDING AND SIDS STATISTICS
Andrea Tran RN, MA, IBCLC
Andrea has been working with new families as an RN for over 35 years and a Lactation Consultant for over 25 years.
She has her MA in Health and Wellness with a focus in Lactation.