Should I be breastfeeding my baby?
The evidence and research around the relationship between breastfeeding and the prevention of asthma is not clear. Some research suggests that breastfeeding may help reduce the chance of babies developing asthma; however we are aware that there are other studies that have contradicted this.
In the absence of clear-cut evidence, and because breastfeeding provides many benefits that have nothing to do with the prevention of asthma and allergies, the advice from the Department of Health is for mums to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months if possible.
We are aware that sometimes it isn't possible to breastfeed.. If you decide to bottle-feed your baby, we would recommend that you speak to your midwife or health visitor about the best milk formula to use. In most cases cow's milk formula is used but we are aware that for some babies with allergy or food intolerance, soy-based formulas have been recommended.
In 2006 a review into the benefits of soy formula involved giving soy formula to children who didn't have either an allergy or a food intolerance themselves, despite being at high risk of allergy because they had a strong family history of allergy. The review concluded and that using a soy formula instead of a cow's milk formula did not reduce allergies in later infancy and childhood.
More information on breastfeeding can be found on the NHS Choices website.
Will my asthma treatment interfere with breastfeeding?
- Asthma medicines that you inhale won't affect your baby when you breastfeed.
- The medicine in steroid tablets can sometimes be present in very small quantities in breast milk. However, there is too little to have any harmful effect on your baby.
- Medicines prescribed for asthma don't affect your ability to produce breast milk.
Feeding my baby
Guidelines suggest that babies should be breast-fed or bottle-fed until they are at least six months old. Breast-feeding (and/or breast milk substitutes if used) should continue beyond the first six months, along with appropriate types and amounts of solid foods. For more information on what to feed your baby visit the NHS Choices website
You may have heard about previous advice to avoid giving children foods that contain peanuts before the age of three if there was a history of allergy in the child's immediate family (such as asthma, eczema, hayfever, food allergy or other types of allergy). This has now changed because the latest research has shown there is no clear evidence that this will help reduce the risk of your child developing a peanut allergy.
Talk to your GP, health visitor or medical allergy specialist before you give peanuts or foods containing peanuts to your child for the first time.
For more information, please visit nhs.uk