Post: Breastfeeding Does Not Prevent Eczema
Does breastfed babies have a better chance against eczema?
Prolonged breastfeeding is widely believed to protect infants against developing eczema and other allergic diseases. But a new study has found no evidence for the belief.
Researchers in Britain gathered data on more than 50,000 children ages eight to 12 in 21 countries, assessing the prevalence and severity of eczema with skin examinations of the children, family medical histories and questionnaires about past symptoms. The children also received skin-prick tests for common allergens.
Even among children who had been breastfed for six months or longer, there was no evidence that breastfeeding prevented eczema or limited its severity. The results were the same for children whose mothers had a history of allergy and for those who had a positive reaction to the allergens used in the skin-prick test. In more affluent countries, breastfeeding actually was associated with a slight increase in the risk for eczema.
The researchers suspect that this is because mothers who see an allergic reaction in an infant may try to breastfeed longer, not because breastfeeding causes the allergy. The study appears online in The British Journal of Dermatology.
Eczema in children is not prevented by breastfeeding, scientists have concluded.
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