AIMS: To assess the effects of breast feeding habits on sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). METHODS: The analyses are based on data from the Nordic Epidemiological SIDS Study, a case-control study in which parents of SIDS victims in the Scandinavian countries between 1 September 1992 and 31 August 1995 were invited to participate, each with parents of four matched controls. The odds ratios presented were computed by conditional logistic regression analysis. RESULTS: After adjustment for smoking during pregnancy, paternal employment, sleeping position, and age of the infant, the adjusted odds ratio (95% CI) was 5.1 (2.3 to 11.2) if the infant was exclusively breast fed for less than four weeks, 3.7 (1.6 to 8.4) for 4-7 weeks, 1.6 (0.7 to 3.6) for 8-11 weeks, and 2.8 (1.2 to 6.8) for 12-15 weeks, with exclusive breast feeding over 16 weeks as the reference. Mixed feeding in the first week post partum did not increase the risk. CONCLUSIONS: The study is supportive of a weak relation between breast feeding and SIDS reduction.