‘Breastfeed baby if you can’ to reduce risk of SIDS

SIDS and Kids today announced revised guidelines to reduce the risk of sudden and unexpected infant death, including a new recommendation – ‘breastfeed baby if you can’.

According to research, breastfeeding babies more than halves the chances of a baby dying suddenly and unexpectedly.1

Author of the review and safe sleeping expert, Adjunct Professor Jeanine Young, says consistent findings of studies conducted over the past 15 years show that along with maternal and infant health benefits, breastfeeding helps reduce the risk of sudden and unexpected infant death, including SIDS.

“We have now reached a point where conclusive evidence from numerous studies demonstrates breast milk can reduce sudden and unexpected death in infancy,” she says.

“An analysis of the results of eighteen studies show that the risk of sudden and unexpected infant death is significantly reduced for mothers who exclusively breastfeed and for a longer duration of breastfeeding,” Professor Young said.

While the link between breastfeeding and sudden and unexpected infant death is confirmed, Professor Young emphasises it is one of six key recommendations.

“Other contributing factors like not smoking near babies and sleeping babies on their back are equally important ways to significantly reduce the risk,” she said.

SIDS and Kids CEO Leanne Raven believes it is important for parents to be provided with clear information to help guide the infant care practices they use.

“The launch of Sleep Safe, My Baby campaign is simply to present the Australian community with the best possible information to reduce sudden and unexpected infant death,” Ms Raven said.

The revised guidelines have been announced ahead of the upcoming 25th anniversary of Red Nose Day, the flagship fundraiser for SIDS and Kids. Red Nose Day is on Friday 29 June.

SIDS and Kids is an Australian community-based organisation dedicated to saving the lives of babies and children during pregnancy, birth, infancy and childhood and to supporting bereaved families.

The six ways to sleep baby safely and reduce the risk of sudden and unexpected death in infancy:

1.Sleep baby on the back from birth, not on the tummy or side

2.Sleep baby with head and face uncovered

3.Keep baby smoke free before birth and after

4.Provide a safe sleeping environment night and day

5.Sleep baby in their own safe sleeping place in the same room as an adult care-giver for the first six to twelve months

6.Breastfeed baby if you can.

For all media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Julia Lee, Haystac (P) 03 9693 2268, (M) 0421 396 570 (E) julia.lee@haystac.com.au
Georgia Brumby, Haystac (P) 03 9693 6530, (M) 0401 097 176 (E) georgia.brumby@haystac.com.au

1 Young J, Watson, Ellis L, Raven L. (2012) Responding to evidence: breastfeed baby if you can – the sixth public health recommendation to reduce the risk of sudden and unexpected death in infancy. Breastfeeding Review Vol 20, Issue 1, pages 7-16.
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