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Is there any correlation between bottle feed and SIDS?

Is there any correlation between bottle feed and SIDS? My daughter was breasted for 6 months then went to a bottle. She was taking an bottle before bed at 13 months, but during the day, she drank from a sipping cup. Is breast feeding one of those "can reduce the risk" type of items? Thanks

Whether breast feeding has a protective effect on infants for SIDS has been controversial. Even recently, studies have come out which suggest that breast feeding might be beneficial, and others which do not. I believe the best current information is summarized by Professor Peter Fleming in his recent study of environmental risk factors for SIDS, published in July, 1996. His study concludes:

"... No independent protective effect was identified from breast feeding when we controlled for other significant factors. ... The lack of any 'dose response' effect from breast feeding suggests that this is acting as a marker of the lifestyle of the mothers who breast feed rather than showing a biologic effect in itself."

Therefore, it looks like there is no physiological protective effect from breast feeding. As a pediatrician, I recommend breast feeding for any infant when possible, because of general health benefits. However, I do not think we can honestly state that prevention of SIDS is linked to breast feeding.

I hope this helps. Thank you.

Tom Keens
Children's Hospital Los Angeles

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