Babies receive protection from respiratory illness as a result of breast-feeding, according to a Caroline Chantry led research study. As many as 2,277 children belonging to the age group of 6 years to 24 months were studied during the course of the research. They identified five groups, formula-fed only, full breastfeeding for less than one month, full breastfeeding from one to four months, full breastfeeding from four to less than six months, and full breastfeeding for six months or more. Full breastfeeding allows for the use of formula on less than a daily basis.
They then looked at the percentage of children in each group who experienced pneumonia, wheezing and recurrent (three or more) colds or ear infections. The results showed the protective effects of breastfeeding. Chantry and her colleagues found that the health benefits of the additional two months of full breastfeeding continued to protect babies from respiratory illnesses through their second birthdays. Previous research by others has shown that exclusive breastfeeding for six months also provides greater protection against gastrointestinal infections.