WEDNESDAY, June 1, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Breastfeeding can literally help your baby breathe easier, according to a new study that found that the longer an infant is exclusively breastfed, the less likely they are to develop asthma.
“Breastfeeding for at least six months was the most protective but, importantly, it is likely that shorter amounts also offer some protection against asthma,” said study author Dr Keadrea Wilson, Assistant Professor of neonatology at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in Memphis. .
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about six months, followed by continued breastfeeding as foods are introduced for a year or more, due to the long list of potential health benefits associated with breast feeding. ‘feeding with milk.
“In addition to nutrients, breastfeeding contains many factors that can influence the development of the lung and immune systems,” Wilson noted.
The study included more than 2,000 mother-child pairs from three studies. The women were asked about breastfeeding and everything asthma symptoms when their children were 4 to 6 years old. The longer a mother exclusively breastfed, the less likely her child was to experience asthma-related outcomes, including wheezing, being diagnosed with asthma, and/or using medication to treat asthma in the past . two years.
Compared to babies who were breastfed for less than two months, those who were breastfed for two to four months had a 36% lower risk of developing asthma or wheezing between ages 4 and 6. Babies who were breastfed for five to six months had a 39% lower chance of developing asthma, and those who breastfed for more than six months decreased their odds by 48%, according to the study.
Breastfeeding combined with formula or juice did not provide the same protection against asthma as exclusive breastfeeding.
The study was published online recently in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
Dr. Angela Hogan is Vice Chair of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Asthma Committee and Pediatric Allergist and Immunologist at King’s Daughters Children’s Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia. She reviewed the results.
“In breast milk, there are lots of good bacteria to colonize the gut and other protective proteins that prevent the body’s immune system from activating and becoming allergic and causing asthma,” she explained.
If you cannot breastfeed, there are other ways to prevent asthma, including minimizing the use of antibiotics and taking steps to avoid viral infections, such as keeping your newborn away from sick people and making sure to wash your hands often, Hogan said. Excessive use of antibiotics can alter the gut microbiota and set the stage for asthma, she noted.
The ACAAI recommends that peanuts and eggs be introduced to babies around 6 months of age to prevent peanut and Egg allergic. This is not possible if a mother breastfeeds exclusively for the first six months, she said.
Hogan’s best advice? “Talk to your pediatrician because there may be infants at high risk for food allergies who should try peanuts and eggs earlier.”
Learn more about asthma in children at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
SOURCES: Keadrea Wilson, MD, assistant professor, neonatology, University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, Memphis; Angela Hogan, MD, pediatric allergist, immunologist, Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters, Norfolk, Va., and vice chair, ACAAI Asthma Committee; Annals of Allergy, Asthma and ImmunologyMay 9, 2022
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