The inclination to breast feed or use formula is a choice new mothers struggle with every day. While there’s no doubt breast feeding helps provide a defense against infection, prevents allergies and protects against several chronic conditions, many women see formula as an acceptable alternative.
According to Dr. Kelly M. Campbell, M.D., an OB/GYN physician at the Women’s Health and Menopause Center, “An infant’s nutritional health will be satisfied with a commercially prepared formula, but most physicians still believe that breast milk in the best natural choice.” Of course, not all new mothers are able to breastfeed, nor do all women choose to make that personal choice. But recent findings show that there might just be another health benefit to breastfeeding.
Researchers analyzed nearly 20 studies on breastfeeding, and concluded there is evidence that breast milk can help protect against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). SIDS kills more than 2,000 infants in the United States each year. Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, published a study that calculated infants who were breast-fed, for any length of time, were 60 percent less likely to suffer from SIDS than those who were not breast-fed at all.
Although researchers were not able to find a specific “cause and effect” relationship between breastfeeding and SIDS, they are confident the protection against SIDS is likely tied to the fact that breast milk helps ward off minor infections. They also found that infants who were breast-fed are more easily woken up, lessening the chance of dying from SIDS.
If you are a new mother struggling with the choice between breastfeeding and formula feeding, consult the physicians at the Women’s Health and Menopause Center. They can help you choose the best option for both you and your baby.