Mother holding baby
© Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
Just two months of breastfeeding may be enough to cut the risk of your child dying from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), according to AAP News. A study looked retrospectively at eight other studies involving SIDS cases and compared them to a control group, and found that breastfeeding must continue at least two months to be protective. Researchers said they weren't sure what it is about breast-feeding that has the positive effect, but that it may have something to do with breast milk's impact on immune systems and early brain development.

There's no question breast milk is a perfect food for the human infant as it contains all the nutrients vital for healthy growth and development, plus beneficial microbes that promote a healthy gut microbiome. Breastfeeding also has some amazing benefits for moms, and it's these dual benefits for both mom and baby that lead me to encourage you to do all you can to breastfeed your baby successfully, and exclusively, for at least the first six months; and longer if possible.

You should begin nursing as soon after birth as possible, as your baby's sucking instinct will be very strong at that time, giving you the best chance of success. Newborns need to nurse at least once every two hours, for about 15 minutes or so on each side, but most do not adhere to any kind of strict schedule and feedings can vary in length. It is this frequent nursing that stimulates your breasts to produce increasing amounts of milk to keep up with demand. It's natural, and it's what's best for you and baby.

Unfortunately, some misguided people are trying to make breastfeeding sound like something other than what it is, calling for pediatricians to avoid the word "natural" when talking about breastfeeding. Their argument is against using the word assumes that you as a mom cannot differentiate between what is natural or normal and what is healthy. But the truth is breastfeeding is normal, healthy AND natural.