The aim of our study was to examine the associations of breastfeeding duration and exclusiveness with the risks of asthma-related symptoms in preschool children, and to explore whether these associations are explained by atopic or infectious mechanisms. This study was embedded in a population-based prospective cohort study of 5,368 children. Information on breastfeeding duration, exclusiveness and asthma-related symptoms, including wheezing, shortness of breath, dry cough and persistent phlegm, was obtained by questionnaires. Compared with children who were breastfed for 6 months, those who were never breastfed had overall increased risks of wheezing, shortness of breath, dry cough and persistent phlegm during the first 4 yrs (OR 1.44 (95% CI 1.24-1.66), 1.26 (1.07-1.48), 1.25 (1.08-1.44) and 1.57 (1.29-1.91), respectively). Similar associations were observed for exclusive breastfeeding. The strongest associations per symptom per year were observed for wheezing at 1 and 2 yrs. Additionally adjusted analyses showed that the associations of breastfeeding with asthma-related symptoms were not explained by eczema but partly by lower respiratory tract infections. Shorter duration and nonexclusivity of breastfeeding were associated with increased risks of asthma-related symptoms in preschool children. These associations seemed, at least partly, to be explained by infectious, but not by atopic, mechanisms. Copyright

Asthma, Duration of breastfeeding, Exclusive breastfeeding, Wheezing,
The European Respiratory Journal
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van der Sonnenschein-Voort, A.M.M, Jaddoe, V.W.V, van der Valk, R.J.P, Willemsen, S.P, Hofman, A, Moll, H.A, … Duijts, L. (2012). Duration and exclusiveness of breastfeeding and childhood asthma-related symptoms. The European Respiratory Journal, 39(1), 81–89. doi:10.1183/09031936.00178110