Breastfeeding not protective for eczema

EXCLUSIVE breastfeeding for four months or longer doesn’t protect infants from developing eczema later in childhood, according to the largest study of its kind.

The study, of approximately 50,000 randomly chosen children aged eight to 12 years from 21 countries, found no evidence of a protective effect – even for infants at high risk of allergic disease.

Parents completed questionnaires about their children’s eczema and breastfeeding, and the children were then examined and underwent skin prick testing.

Although the researchers found a protective effect of ever having been breastfed on more severe eczema, they found no evidence in developed or developing countries that exclusive breastfeeding for four months or longer protected against eczema, even in children with atopic mothers.

Evidence was emerging that delaying introduction of food protein reduced tolerance, they said.

Associate Professor Mimi Tang,