Breastfeeding your baby could 'prevent them from developing painful eczema'

Breastfeeding cuts risk of eczema by 54 percent says new study

Breastfeeding cuts risk of eczema by 54 percent says new study

- Wavebreak/Istock.com pic via AFPLONDON, Nov 15 ― Individuals who are breastfed as babies exclusively from birth for a sustained period have a lower risk of developing eczema in their teenage years according to a new global study.

"PROBIT, the largest randomized trial ever carried out in the area of human lactation, continues to yield scientifically and clinically important information more than two decades after its inception", says Dr. Michael Kramer, from McGill's Faculty of Medicine and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), the Principal Investigator on the PROBIT study.

The PROBIT study recruited a total of 17,046 mothers and their new-born babies between June 1996 and December 1997.

Half of the maternity hospitals and pediatric clinics involved in the study provided additional breastfeeding support to the mothers modeled on the recommendations of the World Health Organization and United Nations Children's Fund's BFHI.

Breastfeeding is always the first recommended choice for feeding a baby.

The other half of the hospitals and clinics continued their usual breastfeeding practices.

While the study found that the breastfeeding promotion intervention provided protection against eczema there was no reduction in risk of asthma with 1.5% of the intervention group (108/7064) reporting asthma symptoms compared with 1.7% (110/6493) in the control group.

Carsten Flohr, M.D., Ph.D., from King's College London, and colleagues investigated whether an intervention to promote prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding protects against asthma, atopic eczema, and low lung function in adolescence.

She went on to add, "Our findings add further weight to the importance of campaigns like the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, which is tackling low rates of breastfeeding globally".

Eczema causes the skin to become itchy, dry, cracked, sore and red and affects around one in five children and one in ten adults. Promotion of prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding may reduce the risk of flexural dermatitis in adolescence but does not affect lung function or questionnaire-derived measures of asthma or atopic eczema, according to a study published online November 13 in JAMA Pediatrics.