Does Breastfeeding Prevent Eczema?

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The term eczema is actually not specific and it can points to numerous skin conditions. However, it is often associated with atopic dermatitis (the most common eczema type). There is currently no cure for this chronic skin disorder. However, the flare-up can be prevented, and the problem is manageable in many cases. How about breastfeeding? Does it work to help prevent eczema in high-risk individuals?

Does it run in families?

The exact cause of this skin disorder is not exactly known yet. Currently, experts believe that it occurs due to the combination of different causes, these include [1]:

  1. Environmental factors.
  2. Abnormal respond /function of the body immune system.
  3. Genetics.
  4. Defects in the outermost layer of the skin (skin barrier) that can make germs /other unfriendly things easier to go into the skin. This condition also can make moisture out easier.
  5. Activities that can be potential to make the skin become more sensitive.

The good news, it doesn’t spread to others (non-contagious disease). But experts say that it can run in families.

Many times, the major risk factor of the problem is having relatives (family members) who have /had the same problem or some atopic conditions such as hay fever and asthma.

Furthermore, it is also known that many kids with eczema (particularly for severe case of eczema) will later have & develop other allergies such as asthma. This suggests that having this chronic skin disorder may increase the risk of developing other allergies.

And as well we know, getting pregnant at older age is associated with some pregnancy complications. Another interesting issue, children who born from older women are at greater risk of having eczema – but unfortunately, the reason of this fact is not clear yet.

What are babies at high risk!

Babies who born to one /both parents with eczema or an atopic problem (hay fever, asthma, or food allergy) are at high risk! Moreover, the risk is also high for babies who have sibling with atopic condition [2].

However, there is also a chance for eczema to affect babies without any family history of the same problem or atopic condition. But babies with a family history of eczema or other atopic conditions are at higher risk, as noted before.

The major advantages of breastfeeding

image_illustration125We know well that there are plenty of many advantages from breastfeeding. The following are some of these advantages [3]:

  1. Breastfeeding is great way to help build strong emotional bonding between baby and mom.
  2. The natural milk from mom can help improve the effectiveness of immunizations. This is so useful to reduce the risk of polio, tetanus, or diphtheria.
  3. Colostrum (first milk in breastfeeding) is the most perfect food for newborn. It is loaded with antibodies, carbohydrate, and protein. It can act as a safe natural laxative that can help clean the intestine of baby.
  4. Since milk is also rich in antibodies, it is also important to help improve the immune system of baby.
  5. Milk from mom is the safest food for baby since it is always clean, fresh, and perfect in temperature.
  6. Some studies found that breastfed babies are more likely to be healthier. For instance, they tend to have a better lung capacity and get other health benefits in their adulthood.
  7. Breastfeeding also can provide some benefits for mom. It can help restore weight after baby and encourage rapid uterine toning. See also more information about the link between breastfeeding and weight loss after pregnancy in this section!

Additionally, nursing is not only helpful to build a closely connection between mom & baby, but also can help improve self-confidence of mother after pregnancy.

Overall, breastfeeding is great for nutritional value to support the growth of baby and also great to improve the entire baby’s immune system.

Does breastfeeding really have an effect in helping to prevent eczema?

Many experts believe that breastfeeding can help decrease the baby’s risk of having allergies. In general, it is more powerful than formula milk in giving protection against certain allergies.

But does it work effectively to prevent eczema? The answer is still debatable.

While a few studies showed that breastfeeding followed with appropriate diet may help prevent eczema in high-risk babies, others found nothing. More studies are required!


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