31/01/2012 19:36 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Breastfed Babies Less Likely To Die From Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Says New Study

Breastfed babies less likely to die from SIDS says new study PA

New research suggests babies who are breastfed are less likely to die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Dr Fern Hauck from the University School of Medicine in Charlottesville, USA, who led the research, examined data from 18 studies into SIDS, and questioned mums of babies who had or hadn't died of SIDS about whether they breastfed the infants.

When combined, the results found the rate of SIDS was 60 percent lower amongst infants who had any amount of breastfeeding, compared to those who didn't breastfeed at all, and more than 70 percent lower in babies who had been breastfed exclusively for any period of time.

The team said more research is now needed to see if the duration of breastfeeding affects the risk, and if babies who are breastfed for longer get more protection that those who are only breastfed for a short time.

And whilst the findings do not definitively show a cause and effect relationship between breastfeeding and SIDS risk, Hauck said she is "fairly confident" that's the case.

"Breastfeeding is the best method of feeding infants," said Dr Hauck. "We found a protective effect even after controlling for factors that could explain the association."

The authors say the research should underline the importance of promoting the positive effects of breastfeeding for both mums and babies.

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