The study was carried out over 6 years by the CDC and FDA
Breastfed infants are less likely to develop eczema, according to preliminary research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The findings were presented at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 2019 conference, which found that children who were breastfed for the first three months of their lives were less likely to develop the condition at age six compared with those who were not.
To conclude the results, data was collected from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II, a longitudinal study co-led by the CDC and the FDA between 2005 and 2007.
This tracked the diets of around 2,000 pregnant women from they third trimester and examined feeding practices through their child’s first year.
A follow-up enquiry looked the babies’ health, development and dietary patterns at six years-old.
Around 300 children were diagnosed with eczema, out of 1,520, at some point in their lives and 58% of the children had the skin condition at the follow-up.
“Children who were exclusively breastfed for three months or longer were significantly less likely to have continued eczema at age six compared with peers who were never breastfed or who were breastfed for less than three months,” said Katherine Balas, Clinical Research Assistance for Children’s National and lead author of the study.
“While exclusive breastfeeding may not prevent kids from getting eczema, it may protect them from experiencing extended flare-ups,” she added.
Despite the study, Balas has noted the findings are still not conclusive.
She said: “The evidence that being exclusively breastfed protects children from developing eczema later in life remains mixed.
“Our research team is trying to help fill that data gap.”