Breastfeeding led to better lung function in children at school age, especially in children of mothers with asthma. The researchers believe breastfeeding might directly be related to lung growth. This new finding is contrary to the earlier studies which suggest that breastfeeding might be harmful in children of asthmatic mothers.
Study researchers Claudia E. Kuehni, from the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Bern studied about 1,458 children born between 1993 and 1997 in the United Kingdom. The lung function was determined with the help of forced mid-expiratory flow, forced vital capacity and forced expiratory volume at 1 second at the age of 12.
It was seen that the FEF50 score, that measures the speed of air during the middle section of forced exhalation, was higher in all children who were breastfed compared to children who were not breastfed. Children who were breastfed for more than 6-months had the highest improvement. The score among children of asthmatic mothers was higher than both the breastfed children and the children who were not breastfed.
Significant improvement was shown in the FVC (measures air volume after forced exhalation after full inhalation) and FEV1 (measures how much air is exhaled in one second) scores for breastfed children of asthmatic mothers.
This study is published in the 'American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine'.