Breast Feeding and Infant Health
“Relation of infant diet to childhood health: seven year follow up of cohort of children in Dundee infant feeding study.”
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relation of infant feeding practice to childhood respiratory illness, growth, body composition, and blood pressure. The study involved 674 infants, of whom 545 (81%) were available to participate in the study.
In children who received breast milk exclusively for at least 15 weeks, the estimated probability of them ever having respiratory illness was consistently lower ( ~17%) when compared to that for partial breast feeding (~ 31.0%), and for bottle feeding (~ 32%).
Solid feeding before 15 weeks was associated with an increased probability of wheezing during childhood. It was also associated with increased percentage body fat and weight in childhood. In addition to this systolic blood pressure was raised significantly in children who were exclusively bottle fed compared with children who received breast milk
The authors concluded that the probability of respiratory illness occurring at any time during childhood is significantly reduced if the child is fed exclusively breast milk for 15 weeks and no solid foods are introduced during this time.
Andrea C Wilson, research dietician, child health, J Stewart Forsyth, consultant paediatrician, Stephen A Greene, consultant paediatrician, Linda Irvine, research nurse, child health, Catherine Hau, statistician, Peter W Howie, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology.
Departments of Child Health, Epidemiology and Public Health, and Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee.
This study highlights another of the many benefits of breast feeding for the infant…decreased risk of respiratory infections.
Breast-feeding and Obesity
“Breast feeding and obesity: a cross sectional study.”
Researchers in the British Medical Journal 1999 claim breastfeeding prevents childhood obesity. These researchers analysed information on 13,345 youngsters whose parents completed questionnaires on their children’s diet and lifestyle.
4.5% of subjects who had never been breastfed were obese when they entered school (age 5 or 6). In contrast, only 2.8% of the breastfed children were obese.
According to the study, the duration of breastfeeding positively correlated with the degree of protection from obesity.
von Kries R, Koletzko B, Sauerwald T, von Mutius E, Barnert D, Grunert V, von Voss H.. BMJ 1999;319 (7203):147-50
This study highlights yet another one of the many benefits of breast feeding for the infant…decreased risk of obesity.
Breast Feeding and Leukaemia
“Breast-feeding and risk of childhood acute leukaemia.”
According to a paper in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published in 1999, infants who are breast fed are less likely to develop leukaemia.
In this study researchers looked at 1,744 children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) and 1,879 matched control subjects, aged 1 to 14 years, and 456 children with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and 539 matched control subjects, aged 1 to 17 years.
Children who breast-fed for at least one month had a 21% reduced risk of both ALL & AML. In addition to this the longer a child breast-fed, the lower was his or her odds of developing leukaemia. Specifically, children who breast fed for over six months showed a 30% reduced risk.
Researchers speculate that breast feeding wards off cancer by boosting the immune system.
Shu XO, Linet MS, Steinbuch M, Wen WO, Buckley JD, Neglia JP, Potter JD, Reaman GH, Robison LL. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1999; 91(20): 1765-72.
This study highlights an important benefit of breast feeding for the infant…decreased risk of developing leukaemia.
Breastfeeding and IQ
“Breast feeding and cognitive development at age 1 and 5 years.”
This research study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood 2001, demonstrated that babies who are breast fed for at least six months grow to be more intelligent than their peers who are breast fed for less time.
The analysis involved 345 Scandinavian youngsters.
The 17% of subjects who were breast fed for less than three months were more likely to score below average for mental skills at thirteen months.
In addition to this they were also more likely to score below average for total intelligence at five years, compared with subjects who were breast fed for at least six months.
Angelsen NK, Vik T, Jacobsen G, Bakketeig LS. Arch Dis Child 2001;85(3):183-8.
This study highlights another one of the many benefits of breast feeding for the infant…increased intelligence.
Breast-feeding and Infections
A paper presented at the Paediatric Academic Society details how breast feeding for 6 months provides a greater reduction in a baby’s risk of respiratory infections than breast feeding for fewer than 6 months.
Data was analysed on infections in 2,277 children aged 6 to 24 months.
The infants were divided into five groups:
Those who had been formula-fed only
Those who had been fully breast-fed for less than 1 month
Those who had been fully breast-fed for 1 to 4 months
Those who had been fully breast-fed for from 4 to less than 6 months
Those who had been fully breast-fed for 6 months or more.
The author, a professor of paediatrics at the University of California, stated that the risk of pneumonia was fourfold less, and recurrent ear infections (otitis media) twofold less in the babies who had breast fed for 6 months when compared to 4 months.
This study highlights another one of the many benefits of breast feeding for the infant…decreased risk of respiratory infections.
Breast-feeding and Eczema
“Promotion of breastfeeding intervention trial (PROBIT): a cluster-randomised trial in the Republic of Belarus.”
This article from the Journal of the American Medical Association published in 2001 supports previous evidence which indicates that breastfeeding decreases a newborns chance of developing gastrointestinal infections and eczema.
The researchers analysed data on 16,491 women and their newborns.
Infants who were breastfed for twelve months were 46% less likely to develop atopic eczema and 40% less likely to experience gastrointestinal tract infections, compared with babies who were breastfed for fewer months.
Breastfeeding did not, however, appear to lower the risk of respiratory tract infection.
Kramer MS, Chalmers B, Hodnett ED, Sevkovskaya Z, Dzikovich I, Shapiro S, Collet JP, Vanilovich I, Mezen I, Ducruet T, Shishko G, Zubovich V, Mknuik D, Gluchanina E, Dombrovsky V, Ustinovitch A, Ko T, Bogdanovich N, Ovchinikova L, Helsing E. JAMA. 2001;285(4):413-420
This study highlights yet another one of the many benefits of breast feeding for the infant…decreased risk of gastro-intestinal tract infections as well as a decreased risk of developing eczema.
Breast-feeding and Cardiovascular disease
“Infant feeding and adult glucose tolerance, lipid profile, blood pressure, and obesity.”
According to this study carried out in the Netherlands, breastfeeding may protect infants from cardiovascular disease later in life.
The researchers reviewed data on 625 people born in Amsterdam during a severe famine between 1943 and 1947. When these subjects were aged 48 to 53 years, they underwent blood tests.
Subjects who were bottle fed had an increased risk of cardiovascular disease as compared with those who were breast fed.
Also people who were bottle-fed compared with breast-fed subjects, had higher LDL cholesterol, lower HDL cholesterol and elevated LDL/HDL ratios.
Ravelli ACJ , van der Meulen JHP, Osmond C, Barker DJP, Bleker OPArch Dis Child. 2000; 82(3): 248-252
This study highlights another one of the many benefits of breast feeding for the infant…decreased risk of cardiovascular disease in later life.
Breast-feeding and Attentiveness
“Short-term influence of breastfeeding on the infants’ interaction with the environment.”
According to this article published in the Journal of Developmental Psychobiology, breastfeeding significantly increases the short-term attentiveness in four to six month old infants.
Investigators observed thirteen infants who were all fitted with limb movement detectors for a four minute period. During this period a mechanical mobile was switched on and off at 1 minute intervals. On one day the babies were observed following breastfeeding, while on another day they were tested before they were breastfed.
Investigators noted that the infants looked at the mobile significantly longer after they breastfed.
The researchers concluded that breastfeeding has a significant impact on infants’ attentiveness and interaction with their environment.
Gerrish CJ, Mennella JA. Develop Psychobiol 2000; 36 (1): 40-48.
This study highlights one of the many benefits of breast feeding…infant attentiveness.