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New Advisory Says Breastfeeding Can Be A Lifesaver

May 6, 2008

Nashville, TN – Attention moms: Breastfeeding your baby could be a lifesaver. A report from the Foundation for the Study of Infant Death indicates breastfed infants are one-third less likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Lysa Parker, cofounder of Attachment Parenting International, says research shows that mothers who sleep with their babies during the breastfeeding stage also engage in a protective type of nighttime behavior.

"They do this reciprocal kind of sleep-wake cycle that keeps the baby stimulated, so that the baby doesn't fall into this deep sleep."

Parker acknowledges that "co-sleeping" has many opponents, particularly among law enforcement. But she encourages healthcare providers to help parents learn safe methods of co-sleeping and breastfeeding -- in part, because doctors are usually the people new parents trust the most.

"They're doing a service for these parents and for the baby, because it facilitates breastfeeding and promotes the bonding of the mother and baby as well."

Parker says when babies sleep too soundly, they don't regulate their own body temperatures and breathing. Any signs of distress can be noted by their mother, so it's important that she be nearby. Currently, she adds, about 70 percent of mothers attempt to breastfeed, but many become discouraged and give up.

Deborah Smith/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - TN