Exclusive breastfeeding may not prevent eczema, but it might play a protective role in decreasing the likelihood of chronic eczema according to a study presented at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).
Until now, evidence has been unclear regarding the impacts of breastfeeding and eczema development, and whether breastfeeding exclusively leads to any measurable differences. While there seems to be no connection between breastfeeding and a diagnosis of eczema, the duration of exclusive breastfeeding does appear to play a role in how persistent eczema will be as children grow older.
In the population examined in the study, among children diagnosed with eczema as infants, 58.58% continued to display symptoms at age six. Infants exclusively breastfed for more than three months had significantly lower odds of continued eczema during the six year follow-up. That same protection does not seem to extend to infants who were not breastfed or breastfed for three months or less.
“There are a lot of factors that may impact a child’s likelihood of developing eczema,” said first author Katherine M. Balas, BS, BA. “Socioeconomic status and family history of food allergies certainly plays a role. But this research is telling us that by breastfeeding an infant for more than three months, the likelihood of eczema persisting later into childhood drops significantly.”
Survey data from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II and its Year 6 Follow-Up was utilized to complete this research. Multivariable logistic regression models controlling for variables such as sociodemographic and family history of allergic disease were utilized.
“Our next steps should explore how the mother’s diet while breastfeeding comes into play,” said Ms. Balas, “and whether this protection against eczema continues into adolescence and ultimately, adulthood.”
This article has been republished from materials provided by the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.
Presented at the AAAAI Annual Meeting, February 22-25 in San Francisco, California, Exclusive breastfeeding in infancy and eczema diagnosis at 6 years of age. Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, 9:45 a.m. (PST), Katherine M. Balas et al.