All this time, you've heard how breastfeeding is the best for babies first two years and beyond. You've heard about the multitude of benefits that breast milk can give to your kid from stronger immune resistance to higher IQ to protection of digestion problems and more.
First Six Months
Now, here's another reason to breastfeed your child:
A new Dutch study, which was published in European Respiratory Journal, has found that breastfeeding a baby for at least six months can reduce the risk of developing asthma. The longer exclusive breastfeeding is offered, the higher the protection is according to the researchers from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Some studies have been done before on this topic. But this is the first one that was able to link the duration of breastfeeding with the number of wheezing episodes that a child has when he/she grows up. The study revealed that children who were never fed with breast milk had 50 percent more risk of asthma symptoms such as wheezing than children who were breastfed for at least six months.
The exclusivity of breastfeeding was also highlighted. It was stated in the study that children who were breastfed but at the same time were also given solids and milk formula had 20 percent greater risk for wheezing symptoms than their counterparts who were breastfed exclusively.
Exclusively Breast Milk
In the study, more than 5,000 children from the Netherlands were evaluated. The researchers interviewed the parents and inquired whether or not these children were breastfed. Questions about the duration and exclusivity of breast milk feeding were also asked.
More than 90 percent of the children who had never been breastfed experienced asthma-related symptoms every year between ages 1 and 4. Apart from wheezing, children who never tasted breast milk are also at greater risk of dry cough, persistent phlegm and shortness of breath during the first four years of their lives.
How breastfeeding can protect children against asthma was not dealt in the study. But some earlier research points out that breastfeeding's boosting effect in the immune and digestive function may play an important role.
Whether or not you have a family history of asthma, breastfeeding your baby is greatly encouraged. The American Academy of Pediatrics promotes exclusive breastfeeding for the first four to six months after the baby is born.
Breastfeeding can be quite a challenge, which is why most babies in the United States start out being breastfed but the rate is cut in half at six months and is further reduced to 10 percent as the babies grow.
Even though it's a little difficult to breastfeed at first, adjustment would easily come for determined and strong-willed mothers. Remember that it's for the benefit of your child.