The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) announced its latest advice that breastfeeding your baby can reduce the risk of cot death.
The advice, released to launch FSID’s cot death awareness drive Save a Baby Month which runs from 1 to 31 May, is based on research which showed that babies who were at least partly breastfed were one-third less likely to die as a cot death than babies who were never breastfed.
FSID Director, Joyce Epstein, said: “There are so many reasons why breast is best, but there are none that can be stronger than potentially saving your child’s life. We encourage every new mum to breastfeed.”
Sally Inch, infant feeding specialist at Oxford Radcliffe NHS Trust, says: “The more we discover about breastfeeding, the more important it becomes. Not only does breastfeeding provide the baby with all the nutrients needed, in a form that cannot be replicated artificially, but a baby who is breastfed is at reduced risk of infections (particularly gut, ear, chest and urine infections) and less likely to be hospitalised as a result.”
Any breastfeeding, even a few days, is better than none, but most authorities including the Department of Health now recommend that babies be exclusively breastfed for at least six months and that breastfeeding is continued, with the addition of appropriate weaning foods, for as long as the mother and baby want.
For breastfeeding advice or support
Contact your midwife, health visitor, local baby café or peer supporter, or ring the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0844 20 909 20.
Cot death is still the biggest killer of babies over one month old in the UK today, claiming the lives of around 300 infants every year.