Cape Town – Infants exclusively breastfed for the first three months may experience lower risks of developing eczema.
Researchers have found that breastfeeding reduces the risk of atopic eczema, in a study that aimed to see whether the prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding of an infant reduced the risk of asthma and atopic eczema, and improved lung function in adolescence.
The study was carried out by researchers at the Children’s National Medical Centre in the US and studied about 2 000 pregnant women during their third trimester, as well as their breastfeeding habits during their infants’ first year.
“In this adolescent follow-up of a cluster randomised trial, there was a 54% reduction in atopic eczema on skin examination, but no significant effect on lung function (spirometry) and self-reported asthma diagnosis and symptoms of atopic eczema and wheezing in the past year,” the study said.
Milk Matters, a breast milk bank that pasteurises and distributes donations of screened breast milk from healthy donors to babies in need, said they were pleased that research continued to prove the benefits of breastfeeding.