Direct breastfeeding in the first three months of life appears to provide more protection against childhood asthma than either infant formula or expressed breastmilk, according to new findings from AllerGen’s CHILD Study.
The researchers analyzed data from 2,534 infants who were classified into four feeding categories at three months of age. At three years of age, the children were assessed for asthma.
The researchers found that asthma risk was lowest among infants who received only direct breastmilk; higher among those receiving some expressed breastmilk or breastmilk and formula; and highest among those exclusively formula-fed.
“Direct breastfeeding seems to be most protective against asthma development, but expressed breast milk still provides benefits compared to infant formula,” says lead researcher Dr. Meghan Azad.
“Our hope is that this study will guide future research on the best ways to store and feed expressed milk, and that it will inform policies to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.”