Breastfeeding - and reducing the risk of SIDS

What are the benefits of breastfeeding and why does Red Nose recommend it? Our Chief Midwife Jane explains why.


The recommendation to breastfeed your baby is often a difficult subject, as not all women can, or choose to breastfeed.

Here at Red Nose, we recommend breastfeeding your baby to reduce your risk of sudden and unexpected death in infancy, including SIDS.

This recommendation is based on research that shows breastfeeding can reduce the risk of SIDS by 50 per cent.

Red Nose understands that some parents cannot, or choose not, to breastfeed. Our role is to inform all parents of the risks and how to reduce them. Once you know the risks, you can then make the best decision for your family.

“Parents should be informed of the benefits of breastfeeding, and also of the risks of not breastfeeding,” Red Nose Chief Midwife Jane Wiggill advises.

“Red Nose supports parents who bottle feed through our five other evidence-based safe sleep recommendations to keep your baby as safe as possible.”

Why is breastfeeding the optimal source of nutrition for a baby, and for how long should you breastfeed your baby?

“Breastfeeding has multiple benefits for both babies and mothers,” says Jane. “We know that breastmilk is the optimal food for babies for their growth and development.

“Breastfeeding is a wonderful opportunity to boost your baby’s immune system, as breastmilk contains antibodies that help fight infection and protect against tummy bugs, colds, and chest and ear infections.”

Breastfeeding also helps your baby develop good bacteria in their digestive system.

“Through breastmilk, your baby will get all the nutrition they need to grow well, while also being protected from harmful bacteria,” Jane explains.

The World Health Organisation recommends that parents exclusively breastfeed their babies up to six months of age if possible.

“Once your baby turns six months, you can start to introduce complimentary healthy foods into their diet,” Jane says. “And breastfeeding can continue right up to two years of age.”

For more information, you can read our information statement.