New research has found that breastfeeding for the first 3 months could lower the risk of asthma and respiratory allergies in children when they reach the age of 6 years.
Researchers from the University of Maryland noted that exclusive breastfeeding for 3 months has been associated with a 23 percent lower risk of respiratory allergies in children at the age of 6 years.
They also noted that breasting for the first 3 months has been linked to a 34 percent lower risk of asthma in children at 6 years but only if they did not have a family history of asthma.
The study was published in a peer-reviewed monthly journal called Acta Paediatrica, which is the forefront of international pediatric research.
The researchers looked at 1,177 mother-infant pairs, of which, one-third of the infants were exclusively breastfed until the age of 3 months.
They found that more than 11 percent of children were diagnosed with asthma and 20 percent of children with respiratory allergies by the end of 6 years.
Non-exclusive breastfeeding for 3 months was not sufficient to reduce the risk of asthma and respiratory allergies, according to the researchers.
Study author Galya Bigman from the University of Maryland said, “Airway disorders such as respiratory allergies and some asthma may be prevented in some cases by encouraging exclusive breastfeeding for at least 3 months, as human milk was potentially beneficial in reducing the risk of airway disorders among children.”
The findings confirmed that exclusive breastfeeding was linked to a reduced risk of asthma and respiratory allergies. And the risk of asthma was reduced even in the absence of a family history of asthma.