|New Rochelle, NY,
October 14, 2005, 2005--Contrary to even the recommendations of
its own Section on Breastfeeding, the American Academy of
Pediatrics (AAP) released an ill-advised and ill-informed
statement from its Task Force on SIDS 1 (sudden infant death
syndrome). Recommendations that advise against parent-infant
bed-sharing and support the generic use of pacifiers imply a
"truly astounding triumph of ethnocentric assumptions over
common sense and medical research," according to Nancy
Wight, M.D., president of The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine.
These controversies, and many more, will be addressed in the
upcoming, new peer-reviewed journal Breastfeeding Medicine (www.liebertpub.com/bfm),
the Official Journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (www.bfmed.org).
Current research from the CDC 2, as well
as AAP's existing policy statement on Breastfeeding and the Use
of Human Milk 3, note that breastfeeding is associated with a
lower risk of SIDS. Since 1992, SIDS has decreased as both
co-sleeping and breastfeeding have increased. Sleeping near
one's baby or in the same room has been shown to reduce the
risks of SIDS and more broadly promote maternal and child health
by facilitating breastfeeding. As exclusively breastfed infants
feed frequently through the night, breastfeeding is thought to
reduce SIDS by the same proposed mechanism as supine sleep and
pacifiers, namely less deep sleep and frequent brief awakenings.
Breastfed babies do not need artificial pacifiers to get
stimulation since they already have the protective effect of
suckling during the night.
Pacifiers have been associated with
increased risk of ear infections, later dental problems, and
reduced breastfeeding. As reduced breastfeeding increases infant
mortality from infectious disease and several other causes, we
agree with the AAP that a pacifier should not be introduced
until breastfeeding is well established and never forced on an
infant. Pacifiers would only be of possible benefit to infants
lacking in the natural opportunity of night-time suckling
Extensive research on infant sleep has
revealed that infants are frequently aroused to lighter stages
of sleep by parental movement when co-sleeping. Dr. James J.
McKenna of the University of Notre Dame was a consultant to the
AAP on the new policy, but disagrees strongly with their
conclusions. 4 Dr. McKenna points out that there are many forms
of co-sleeping and that recommendations for SAFE co-sleeping
need to be publicized. Co-sleeping is defined as sleeping in
close proximity to one's infant, which can include but does not
necessarily imply being in the same bed. Infants should never
co-sleep with other siblings, with smoking or substance-abusing
parents, on sofas or waterbeds, with soft bedding materials, or
adjacent to spaces that could trap the infant. As with sleeping
in a crib, infants should be placed on their backs, with only a
thin blanket on a firm bedding surface.
The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine
(ABM) is a worldwide organization of physicians dedicated to the
promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding and human
lactation through education, research and advocacy. For
evidence-based recommendations regarding co-sleeping and
breastfeeding, see Protocol #6 on our website www.bfmed.org.
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. is a privately
held, fully integrated media company known for establishing
authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of
science and biomedical research, including Journal of
Breastfeeding Medicine, Journal of Women's Health, Obesity
Management, and Disease Management. Its biotechnology trade
magazine, Genetic Engineering News (GEN), was the first in its
field and is today the industry's most widely read publication
worldwide. A complete list of the firm's 60 journals, books, and
newsletters is available at www.liebertpub.com.