Another Ailment Breastfed Babies Aren’t Protected Against

breastfeeding eczemaWhen having a rational discussion about breastfeeding in our country, amongst working moms, or within our own neighborhoods, the phrase "breast is best" often comes up. Sometimes tinged in sanctimony, sometimes given as a reason to get behind things like paid maternity leave, a safe, sanitary, private place to pump, and the need for health insurance to cover such things as lactation consultants and breast pumps. But it's just one step to the right into strident-land when someone starts to list all the reasons why all women should "at least try" breastfeeding, regardless of their circumstances.

Usually that step goes like this, "Did you know if you don't breastfeed, your child has a higher chance of being obese/allergic to everything/ugly?" Well, ladies who lean towards the judge-y -- a new study has come out rejecting at least one ailment that can be cured by breast milk, and it's kind of a big one: eczema.


Since we've always assumed breastfed babies were in better health (of course, those of us who did both know it's all about the individual, not the stats), these findings in The British Journal of Dermatology are shocking, especially since allergies are an oft-cited ailment when people talk about breast being best. But the study of 50,000 women showed that there was no difference in those babies who were exclusively breastfed, even longer than six months. In fact, breastfed babies had slightly higher incidents of eczema, although this could be explained by moms continuing to breastfeed once their baby showed signs of the allergic reaction, in hopes that it would help.

Well, it won't. Of course this is no reason to stop breastfeeding, or to ignore the other benefits of breast milk. It is, however, a great study for people to read who honestly think if they breastfeed their child, it guarantees good health. There are a lot of other elements in play that contribute to or detract from the health of your baby, and you cannot ignore those just because you're nursing. Hopefully this study will educate new moms to be alert and aware, no matter how you're feeding that baby.

Did you think breastfeeding would help your baby with eczema?

Image via TheMinnieMoo/Flickr

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