Formula-fed babies higher risk of cot death?

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Formula milk, Breastfeeding

Babies aged from one to three months are less likely to suffer from
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SID) if they are breast-fed. These
are the findings of a new study published in the Archives of
Diseases in Childhood.

The findings are yet another indication that breast-feeding has greater benefits than formula milk in the diets of infants and new born babies.

Arousal from sleep is thought to be one of the fundamental survival mechanisms that new-borns use to avoid SID. Breast-fed babies are more easily arroused than babies that are fed formula milk, therefore, the researchers claim, breast-fed infants are better protected from the syndrome that claims 6 from every new born in the US.

The tests were carried out on 43 healthy babies and they revealed that the youngest babies aged between 2 to 3 months had greater arousal levels when fed breast milk.

The researchers applied nasal air jet stimulation to induce arousal during active and quiet sleep while infants slept on their backs. The scientists calculated multiple measurements of arousal threshold across each sleep state, and a comparison was carried out between formula-fed and breast-fed infants.

In recent years, research has indicated that breast milk as nutritional benefits for babies' diets. And in the past multi-national dairy companies such as Nestle have been criticised for their encouragement of formula milk in third world countries. Nestle is the world's largest baby milk producing company.

Some pressure groups claim that formula milk should be made illegal, and have organised boycotts of Nestle, the world's largest formula milk producing company's products.

In the US, where there is a large market for formula milk, the growth of the product has declined in recent years. Formula milk's compound annual growth rate (CAGR) according to MarketResearch.com declined by 2.9 per cent in 2002 and by 0.5 per cent in 2003.

The authors of the research into SID claim that the findings could have implications for the prevention of the condition. In the US there are around 2,500 cot deaths a year.

Related topics: Regulation & Safety

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