Children who have been breastfed during their first four months are less likely to develop asthma and allergies. The added protection lasts until they’re eight years old.
A Swedish study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, shows that children who have been breastfed for the first four months of their lives, have a lesser risk of getting both asthma and allergies. The risk was maintained to be reduced with as much as 40%.
The scientists followed more than 3,000 children under the age of eight, and came to the conclusion that the ones who had been exclusively breastfed had received the best protection. Even if the child had only been partially breastfed, he/she had still been given a better protection.
The added protection against asthma is claimed to last for up to four years, but twice as long for allergies - up to eight years. Children who had been breastfed also had better-functioning lungs.
The study concluded that that it is actually the breast milk and its abilities that give the protection. But scientists are not ruling out that it is the closeness and lifestyle that comes with breastfeeding that makes the difference.