According to new research, it was found that the risks of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in infants could be reduced to half if their mother breastfeeds them for at least two months. The researchers showed that mothers do not require breastfeed exclusively for their infants to get the benefit, a potential benefit was identified.

The researchers found that there was a significant reduction in the risk of infants dying from SIDS who were breastfed for at least two months. Kawai Tanabe from the University of Virginia School of Medicine stated that "Breastfeeding is beneficial for several reasons, and this study benefit was an important one."

SIDS is the leading cause of mortality in babies between the age of 1 month and one year. The previous studies revealed that breastfeeding was associated with a decreased risk of SIDS, while the present study determined that the duration is also required to protect the infants. On adjusting for variables, the researchers found that breastfeeding for at least 60 days considerably reduced the risk for SIDS.

Fern Hauck from the UVA School of Medicine and the UVA Children's Hospital reported that risk of SIDS was reduced by almost half of the children's breastfed, the greater protection. Besides, the researchers also found that breastfeeding (partial and exclusive) is beneficial in reducing SIDS risk.

In the study, the researchers analyzed eight major international studies which included 2,259 cases of SIDS and 6,894 control infants. Although cultural behaviors across countries were considered, the examiners found a consistency among the findings.

The researchers called for "ongoing concerted efforts" to increase the rates of breastfeeding worldwide. Considering the data from 2007, they reported that about quarter of US babies were never breastfed. The WHO aimed at having half of the babies around the world being breastfed for at least six months by 2025.

Although it was unclear why breastfeeding protects against SIDS, the researchers expect that the benefits and effects on infant sleeping patterns could be the contributing factors.

"It's a good news for mothers to know that breastfeeding for at least 60 days provided a strong protective effect against SIDS," said researcher Rachel Moon, from the UVA School of Medicine and the UVA Children's Hospital. "We strongly support international and national efforts to promote breastfeeding."