Today marks the start of World Breastfeeding Week 2016, which is a chance to celebrate breastfeeding and the healthy start it can help give your baby.
So here’s everything young parents should know about how breastfeeding can reduce the risk of SIDS, including what you can do if you can’t (or choose not to) breastfeed.
Did you know…?
Breastfed babies have a lower chance of SIDS
Breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS by approximately half. SIDS is the term used to describe the sudden and unexpected death of a baby which cannot be explained by a post-mortem examination. Sadly around 290 babes die of SIDS each year in the UK.
If you don’t breastfeed, you can still reduce the risk of SIDS
Some mums are unable to breastfeed while others choose not to.
If you do bottle feed your baby, the risk of SIDS will be much lower if you follow all other safer sleep advice, including:
- Always placing your baby on its back to sleep.
- Placing them in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you.
- Not sharing a bed with your baby if you have smoked, had a drink, taken medication or drugs, or if your baby was of low birth weight or premature.
- Keeping baby smoke-free during pregnancy and after birth.
- Using a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in good condition
Find out more about keeping your baby safe while they sleep in our advice section.
Any period of breastfeeding can reduce the chance of SIDS
Most health specialists recommend that you only give your baby breast milk for the first six months, but even a brief period of breastfeeding can reduce the chance of SIDS compared to formula feeding alone.
Breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby, even if you smoke
Breastfeeding has many benefits and regardless of whether you are a smoker or not, it is the best way to
feed your baby. We would still encourage smokers to breastfeed, but smoking has its own risks that you
should be aware of. Find out more about smoking and your baby here.
What young mums say about breastfeeding
Breastfeeding isn’t always easy. So we asked Ellie, Barbara and Sharna from our team of young parents to tell us how they found it.
Still have questions about breastfeeding?
Chat with other young mums
Get advice from specialists
If you would like to speak to a counsellor about breastfeeding or bottle feeding, you can call The National Childbirth Trust helpline on 0300 330 0700 or you can also get advice from the National Breastfeeding Line on 0300 100 0212.
You might like…
- “Breastfeeding my son wasn’t as easy as I hoped”: Young mum Ellie shares her story of seeing a lactation consultant, who helped her start breastfeeding her son Isaac.
- Mother receives outpouring of support after verbal attack over breastfeeding