Breastfeeding Significantly Reduces the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
This week is World Breastfeeding Week and at First Candle we are actively working to get the message out about the benefits of breastfeeding. This is something we discuss in our Straight Talk for Infant Safe Sleep programs and were surprised that over 66% of participants in our trainings weren’t aware that breastfeeding can significantly reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS.) In fact, in a study conducted last year by the University of Virginia School of Medicine researchers determined that breastfeeding for just two months reduces the risk of SIDS by almost half, and the longer babies are breastfed, the greater the protection. The other important finding from the study is that any amount of breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS — in other words, both partial and exclusive breastfeeding appear to provide the same benefit.
While researchers are not sure why breastfeeding protects against SIDS, they cite factors such immune benefits and effects on infant sleeping patterns as possible mechanisms. factors such immune benefits and effects on infant sleeping patterns as possible mechanisms.
In our Straight Talk for Infant Safe Sleep trainings we discuss the obstacles and objections parents face in adhering to the Safe Sleep Guidelines which include breastfeeding whenever possible. Unfortunately, many mothers find it difficult when returning to work to maintain breastfeeding and their employers may not make it convenient to pump. Women might unaware that there are laws protecting their rights to breastfeed at work. The U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau publishes a map with details of employment protections for workers who are pregnant or nursing; and The National Partnership for Women & Families maintains a work and family policy database with an overview of bills proposed and laws passed in various states.
Did you have challenges breastfeeding when you returned to work? Let us know how you addressed them.