Breast Feeding and Infections

May 22, 2018 by: Pediatrics for Parents staff Article Tags:

The Question: Does the type of milk fed to infants and the method of feeding affect the odds of developing otitis media and diarrhea?

The Study: In this retrospective study, 813 mothers were asked to complete a feeding and illness history, particularly of episodes of ear infections and diarrhea, along with socioeconomic information at 12 months postpartum. Women who exclusively bottle-fed were excluded from the study, although women who started off breast feeding and then switched to formula were included. The researchers were particularly interested in any differences between breast feeding and bottle-feeding-expressed breast milk.

The Results: The longer the duration of feeding expressed breast milk, the greater the risk of developing otitis media compared to infants who were breast-fed. The longer the infants were fed breast milk by breast or bottle, the lower the risk of developing diarrhea.

Comment: This points out that both the source of the infant’s milk (breast vs. formula) and the method of delivery (breast vs. bottle) affect the infant’s odds of developing ear infections or diarrhea.

Read More: Journal of Pediatrics, 07/16