Breastfeeding has countless benefits for the babies and one of these is the protection it offers against asthma and other respiratory diseases. A recent study presented at the International Breastfeeding Symposium 2018 has yielded new conclusions regarding the protective role of breast milk against respiratory diseases in babies.
Asthma is the most frequent chronic disease in children and, although it usually manifests between 6 and 14 years, between 20 and 50 percent of babies experience some episodes of wheezing before reaching their first year of life, a condition which is an important risk factor for the future development of asthma.
The International Breastfeeding Symposium, held in Paris on 22 and 23 March, brought together more than 650 pediatricians, neonatologists, midwives, and NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) representatives from around the world, to learn about the new scientific evidence about breastfeeding.
The protective role of breastfeeding against respiratory diseases
One of the studies presented, led by Meghan Azad, an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Child Health at the University of Manitoba, in Canada, has highlighted the protective role of breast milk against respiratory diseases, especially in cases of babies with asthmatic mothers.
The study, a pioneer in its field, has been carried out by scientists from 20 different disciplines and it has been conducted with comprehensive measurements of symptoms and attributes in children between zero and five years old, their mothers, and their environments.
The data presented has determined that breastfeeding not only helps the maturation of the immune system and promotes the proper development of the baby’s respiratory system but, also, is a powerful defensive shield against lung diseases.
However, data from the study have revealed that babies who abandon breastfeeding or are fed a combination of breast milk and milk formula experience twice as many episodes of wheezing and greater breathing difficulties than those who are breastfed.
In conclusion, the scientists agreed that breastfeeding protects babies against respiratory diseases.