A Benin-based paediatrician, Dr. Lucy Idemudia, has advised mothers to breastfeed their babies exclusively for the first six months of their lives to lower the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Idemudia gave the advice on Monday in Benin in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria.
According to her, SIDS is an unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a seemingly healthy baby, less than a year old.
“SIDS is sometimes known as crib death because the infants often die in their cribs.
“Although the cause is unknown, it appears that SIDS might be associated with defects in the portion of an infant’s brain that controls breathing and arousal from sleep.
“Researchers have discovered some factors that might put babies at extra risk.
“They have also identified measures one can take to help protect children from SIDS.
“Perhaps, the most important one is placing your baby on his or her back to sleep,” she said.
She noted that some combinations of physical and sleep environmental factors could make an infant more vulnerable to SIDS.
Idemudia identified the factors to include brain defects, low birth weight, respiratory infection, and sleeping on the stomach or side.
“Although sudden infant death syndrome can strike any infant, researchers have identified several factors that might increase a baby’s risk.
“Boys are slightly more likely to die of SIDS.
“Infants are most vulnerable between the second and fourth months of life.
“Babies, who have had siblings or cousins who died of SIDS, are at higher risk.
“Babies who live with smokers also have a higher risk of SIDS,” she said.