A new study has found out that babies breastfed for six months have reduced respiratory illness that those breastfed for 4 months. This research was conducted by investigators at UC Davis Children's Hospital, the University of Rochester and the American Academy of Pediatrics, Center for Child Health Research.
In the words of Caroline Chantry, a pediatrician with UC Davis Children's Hospital, lead author, "We found that babies who received an additional two months of full breastfeeding were over four times less likely to contract pneumonia and half as likely to suffer recurrent ear infections. This finding adds to the mounting evidence that the longer a mother breastfeeds her infant, the greater the health benefits."
This research can be read in the February 2006 issue of Pediatrics.
An analysis of a nationally representative, cross-sectional survey of 2,277 children between the ages of 6 and 24 months was conducted. Five groups were identified -- 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.
Pneumonia, wheezing and recurrent (three or more) colds or ear infections were studies in children of each group. The results showing the protective effects of the additional two months of breastfeeding held even when the data were adjusted for age, birth weight, ethnicity, poverty, two-parent household, parental education, family size, child care and passive smoke exposure.
"It may become burdensome to pump regularly even if a woman has an accommodating employer. Most women experience difficulties when they leave the hospital. These challenges often lead to premature weaning," Chantry explained.
This study would help reinforce doctors and nutritionist advice that mother's milk is best for the child.