While some mainstream media outlets and part of society continues to disparage breastfeeding, science continues to support the benefits of breastfeeding for infants. As a functional medicine pediatrician seeking to counsel parents on the best ways to prepare their children for the world, breastfeeding will always be in the top 5 to 10 practices. Without shaming mothers who cannot breastfeed for health reasons, we inform moms and moms-to-be that breastfeeding for 6 to 12 months has many benefits for their children.
In this study, researchers followed 1,177 mommy-infant pairs to compare the rates of respiratory allergies and asthma between groups with different rates of breastfeeding. For 1/3 of the group (32.9%) who only breastfed for the first 3 months of life, a decrease in both respiratory and asthma occurred. A 23% drop in relative risk occurred for allergies and 34% decrease for asthma (if the child had no family history of asthma). They found these rates at the 6 year follow up for the children.
On a side note, it astounds me that such studies can show that 1 in 5 six year-olds in this group had allergies while 1 in 9 had asthma. Does that not seem sad how many children grow up with these conditions and we are not devoting more research to the underlying causes?
For this functional pediatrician and my clinic, we help moms make decisions about the interplay between their own health and that of their coming baby. Besides encouraging breastfeeding, we help moms navigate detox therapies in preparation for pregnancy and prevention during pregnancy. We must discern the right balance and help moms provide a good start to their little ones. We want the whole family to live healthier more abundant lives.
Galya Bigman. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 3 months of life may reduce the risk of respiratory allergies and some asthma in children at the age of 6 years. Acta Paediatrica, 2020; DOI: 10.1111/apa.15162
Thanks to Science Daily:
Wiley. “Breastfeeding and risks of allergies and asthma.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 March 2020. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200304141554.htm>.
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.