What Breast Feeding Can’t Do for Baby

Chances are pretty good you’ve heard about the many benefits of breast feeding. There are studies that suggest that babies that are breast fed will be better off than their formula fed counterparts in a number of ways. Add to that the opportunity that breast feeding provides for bonding and the health benefits that it can provide for mother, and you’ll probably agree that any woman who can breast feed ought to at least give it a try.

There are some things, however, that breast milk and breast feeding can’t do. A recent study suggests that breast feeding cannot help to offer infants any defense against allergies and asthma.

Now, the discussion of breast feeding and its relationship with allergies and asthma goes back quite a ways. There have been relatively small, observational studies that have suggested that breast milk helps prevent allergies, and there have been similar studies that suggest breast feeding increases the risk of allergies and asthma.

The latest study, however, has produced more relable results. it tracked babies from more than 13,000 woman, and watched their health for six and a half years. The study looked at a number of issues related to breast feeding, ot the least of which was the impact of intervention on whether or not the group breast fed.

Rates of asthma and allergies were similar in groups that had breast fed and the groups that had not. What this proves is that breast feeding is likely incidental to allergies and asthma. That is, breast feeding neither makes your baby more susceptible to these problems nor does it help prevent them.