Breastfeeding May Reduce Eczema Risk in Children: Study

According to the report published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, breastfeeding could reduce the risk of eczema in children.

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Breastfeeding May Reduce Eczema Risk in Children: Study

Highlights

  1. Breastfeeding could reduce the risk of eczema in children
  2. Babies should be fed just breast milk for six months
  3. Experts highlight the many benefits of breast milk
According to the report published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, breastfeeding could reduce the risk of eczema in children. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that babies should be fed just breast milk for six months to help protect them from infection, prevent allergies and provide nutrients and energy. But many women abandon the practice soon after the birth of their child- a situation put down due to lack of support for new mothers.

Experts highlight the many benefits of breast milk and of programmes promoting the practice, finding that children whose mothers attended a hospital where a breastfeeding support programme was implemented had a 54 percent reduction in the risk of eczema as teenagers. "It seems that we can say from the trial that clearly promoting exclusively breastfeeding is beneficial, but there doesn't seem to be an additional benefit of doing that beyond the first three months of life with regard to the protective effect on eczema in adolescence," said Carsten Flohr, co-author of the study from King's College London.

The study reveals that 39 percent of mothers at sites where the educational programme was implemented exclusively breastfed for between three and six months, compared to just over six percent who were not exposed to the programme.

However, Dr. Amy Brown, an expert in infant nutrition at Swansea University, mentioned that the government should take note and offer new mothers more support. "This is a fascinating study that tells us more about how the way babies are fed might affect their health," she said. "It is particularly interesting that this study looked at health in adolescence, meaning that breastfeeding protects children long term, rather than simply when they are being breastfed."

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