Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Breastfeeding reduces SIDS risk by 50%

A new study from Germany has confirmed what most lactation consultants and other medical professionals have been saying for years: breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS. In fact, the researchers believe that breastfeeding may reduce your baby's risk of dying from SIDS by about 50%. That is a huge margin. So why are we framing the conversation this way? Shouldn't we be saying, "Formula feeding INCREASES your baby's risk of dying from SIDS by 200%"?

Many of us in the breastfeeding community have taken issue with the language used to promote breastfeeding. "Breast is best" sounds like a great tagline and gets repeated all the time. And then most moms go on to bottlefeed. We already know that hailing breastfeeding as "best" doesn't really work. Why work hard to overcome the obstacles to nursing to do what's "best" when I can make my life easy and do what's second best? I mean, isn't this what many moms think?

Is it that saying formula increases the risk of SIDS is too harsh? Are we afraid of making moms feel guilty? I know some people have called for warning signs to be placed on the side of formula cans, the same way they are on alcohol and tobacco products.

At the end of the day, if nursing is the norm, shouldn't all other methods of infant feeding be compared to breastfeeding and not the other way around?

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