A new study suggests that breastfeeding may help your kid breathe easier by reducing their risk of getting asthma. This risk decreases in direct proportion to the duration of time a newborn is given just breast milk.
According to lead author Dr. Keadrea Wilson, an assistant professor of neonatology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, “Breastfeeding for at least six months was the most protective.” However, shorter amounts of breastfeeding are also likely to provide some protection against asthma.
Due to the many possible health advantages of breastfeeding, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises that infants be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life and continue nursing as other meals are introduced for at least a year.
Lung & Immune System Development
Breast milk includes various components that may affect the growth of a child’s lungs and immune system beyond just the nutrients.
More than 2,000 mother-child pairings across three trials were included in the analysis. During the ages of 4 and 6, mothers were surveyed about their experiences with nursing and any asthma symptoms their children may have had. For as long as mothers continued to breastfeed their infants, their offspring had a lower risk of developing asthma, having asthma diagnosed, or using asthma medication during the preceding year and a half.
The research indicated that the risk of asthma was reduced by 39% in infants breastfed for five to six months and 48% in those nursed for more than six months. Children who were nursed for two to four months were 36% less likely to develop asthma or wheeze by the time they were four or six years old, compared with children who were breastfed for less than two months. Recently, the research was posted online in the journal Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
In contrast to exclusive breastfeeding, supplementing with formula or juice did not reduce the risk of asthma. Breast milk is packed with beneficial microorganisms that colonize the digestive tract and protective proteins that prevent the immune system from overreacting and triggering allergies or asthma.
Fighting infections and illness. Breastfeeding lowers a baby’s chance of becoming sick. Breast milk can protect against a wide range of diseases, including but not limited to asthma, diabetes, diarrhea, and respiratory infections.