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Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2014 Aug;25(5):456-61. doi: 10.1111/pai.12247.

Exclusive breastfeeding is associated with reduced cow's milk sensitization in early childhood.

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Community Medicine Research Center, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital at Keelung, Keelung, Taiwan; Department of Pediatrics, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital at Keelung, Keelung, Taiwan.



Although breastfed infants have consistently been reported as having fewer infections and respiratory morbidity during infancy, none have reached a definitive conclusion as to whether breastfeeding is an effective strategy to prevent allergic diseases. This study aims to investigate the relationship between exclusive breastfeeding and sequential changes of several biomarkers of allergy, such as absolute eosinophil count, total IgE level, and specific IgE level during the first 3 yrs of life.


This is an unselected, population-based study that is part of a prospective birth cohort called the PATCH (Prediction of Allergy in Taiwanese Children). Blood analysis was performed at ages 6, 12, 18, 24, and 36 months. Clinical records of breastfeeding and detailed questionnaires regarding to allergic diseases were also obtained.


Analysis comparing exclusive breastfeeding ≥4 months with those <4 months and those partially breastfed showed a decreased risk of sensitization toward cow's milk protein up to the age of 2 yr (adjusted OR for cow's milk sensitization at 12 months was 0.2 [95% CI, 0.07-0.5]), at 18 months of age it was 0.2 [95% CI, 0.07-0.5], and at 24 months of age it was 0.2 [95% CI, 0.04-0.7]). In addition, although not significant, children of the exclusive breastfeeding group showed a trend of lower absolute eosinophil counts than their counterparts at all ages, and a lower total IgE level at the age of 3 yr.


Results of this study suggest that exclusive breastfeeding is associated with a reduced risk of cow's milk protein sensitization during early childhood.


IgE; atopy; breastfeeding; cohort study; cow's milk protein; sensitization

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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