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Breastfeeding Reduces the Risk of Cot Death


30th April 2008

New advice launches Save a Baby Month

The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) today announces 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 1-31 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 (1).

FSID Director, Joyce Epstein, says: “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.”

Angela Griffin, FSID’s celebrity patron, breastfed both of her daughters and says: “Realising you’re the only person in the world who can give your child exactly what they need is such a great feeling.”

Sally Inch, infant feeding specialist at Oxford Radcliffe National Health Service 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.” (2)

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.

If you need breastfeeding advice or support, please contact your midwife, lactation consultant or or ring the Australian Breastfeeding Association Helpline:
ACT/Southern New South Wales             (02) 6258 8928
New South Wales       (02) 8853 4999
Queensland                 (07) 3844 8977 or (07) 3844 8166
Townsville                    (07) 4723 5566
Cairns                         (07) 4058 0007
Toowoomba                 (07) 4639 2401
South Australia and NT (08) 8411 0050
Northern Territory counsellor contact line (08) 8411 0301
Tasmania                     (03) 6223 2609
Tasmania - North          (03) 6331 2799
Victoria                        (03) 9885 0653
Western Australia         (08) 9340 1200

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.

Source: http://www.fsid.org.uk/breastfeeding-news.html (link no longer active)


  • McVea KL, Turner PD, Peppler DK. The role of breastfeeding in sudden infant death syndrome. J Hum Lact. 2000; 16: 13-20.
  • Ip S, Chung M, Raman G, Chew P, Magula N, DeVine D, et al. Breastfeeding and maternal and infant health outcomes in developed countries. Evidence report/technology assessment No. 153 (prepared by Tufts-New England Medical Center Evidence-based Practice Center, under contract No. 290-02-0022) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2007. p. 1-186. www.ahrq.gov/clinic/tp/brfouttp.htm
  • Quigley MA, Kelly YJ and Sacker A. Breastfeeding and Hospitalization for Diarrheal and Respiratory Infection in the United Kingdom Millennium Cohort Study, Pediatrics 2007;119;e837-e842 www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/119/4/e837

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