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(News) Breastfeeding and asthma

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
My MIL just sent this to me (~?~) I'd imagine because last night as a total after thought I mentioned that my 13 mo is still nursing and she's trying to show her support. She's funny in that way

http://www.reuters.com/article/healt...071101?sp=true

But anyway, this article is saying that mothers that breastfeed who have asthma have children who are more likely to have asthma? That totally makes no sense to me. Just wondering about other's thoughts
post #2 of 12
The study showed that children of asthmatics that were breastfed have a decreased lung capacity. Don't even get me started. This is the last thing an asthmatic woman should hear! It is so important for a baby with a family history of asthma to be bf, bc it DECREASES the risk. This is one study, I heard in passing that it was funded by a few pharmaceutical companies. It is not at all uncommon for the outcome in studies funded this way are not favorable to breastfeeding. It is important to understand research and the types of study conducted.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I wasn't agreeing with it for sure. I was more scratching my head over it. I'm sure it was funded by pharma companies, and the sample size wasn't even that big either, I don't think... a thousand or so? Not real accurate.
post #4 of 12
Wait- are they comparing lung capacity of BF babies of asthmatics to FF babies of asthmatics, or to babies of non-asthmatics? The article isn't really clear.

It makes sense that asthmatic mothers may have asthmatic children. It makes sense that women with asthma may be more likely to BF because they're concerned about their babies' health. So maybe more BF babies have asthma because more children genetically susceptable to asthma are being BF to begin with?
post #5 of 12
The first thing DH said when I read the article aloud today was, 'which formula company sponsored that?' My husband and I both have asthma, so the odds are already against my kids. I think even if this were something provable, I'd still be Bf'ing because the benefits outweigh the supposed risks.
Sometimes I wonder about the treatments I did during my pregnancy for the asthma flare-ups, but I never even considered that Bf'ing could have any adverse effect.
post #6 of 12
I have read about this study in a few different articles, and it seems that they also questioned parents who said they breastfed, they didn't "follow" them. At least not all of them. So at times, they were relying on memories of mothers who bf 15 yrs prior to the questioning, which leaves a huge room for error. Not all moms can remember that long ago, and the specifics such as how long they EBF, if they supplemented, when they started supplementary foods, etc.
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Breastfeeding Insomniac View Post
The study showed that children of asthmatics that were breastfed have a decreased lung capacity. Don't even get me started.
That study showed completely opposite results of any other type of research I've read. They're comparing lung function in babies with healthy bfing mothers versus asthmatic bfing mothers. It doesn't surprise me at all that the infants of asthmatic mothers might have reduces lung capacity since asthma can be hereditary. Being that I have asthma, it wouldn't be completely unexpected that DD might also have it. I wouldn't expect bfing her to be the magic cure all.

I would like to see a study of asthmatic ffing mothers versus asthmatic bfing mothers. I think the results would be vastly different (i.e. in favor of breastfeeding).

In fact, I'd like to see a study that used different marks for long term bfing. To me 4 months isn't exactly long term. I wonder if there's a big difference between bfing for 4 months vs 6 months vs 12 months vs 2 years.
post #8 of 12
There may be an interplay of genes and breastfeeding that means that for SOME babies, breastfeeding may not improve, or might even diminish, lung function. Given the IQ/b'fing study this wouldn't be a totally outlandish finding. According to that study babies with a certain gene benefit in terms of IQ by b'fing, but if that gene is not there (and this is only so in a small minority of people) then the benefit ceases.

This may mean that b'fing and genetic issue may interplay. We should at least look at further research to see whether for a small percentage of children with a certain genetic make-up that may lead to ashtma, b'fing could impinge on lung function. later in life.
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by maya44 View Post
There may be an interplay of genes and breastfeeding that means that for SOME babies, breastfeeding may not improve, or might even diminish, lung function. Given the IQ/b'fing study this wouldn't be a totally outlandish finding. According to that study babies with a certain gene benefit in terms of IQ by b'fing, but if that gene is not there (and this is only so in a small minority of people) then the benefit ceases.

This may mean that b'fing and genetic issue may interplay. We should at least look at further research to see whether for a small percentage of children with a certain genetic make-up that may lead to ashtma, b'fing could impinge on lung function. later in life.
maya44,
I had heard that the IQ boost attributed to BF'ing had been debunked but I hadn't heard that that the benefit reportedly held for some with a certain gene. How did I miss that? Do you have a link?

Regarding asthma, both DH and I have asthma and of course I had hoped that BF'ing would have some sort of protective effect but at some point it occurred to me that if some asthma is triggered by allergies --which is essentially an inappropriate immunological response-- then it's possible that I'm passing on those "immunities" through my milk.

Frankly, it's all too confusing for me. On the one hand you aren't supposed to give babies highly allergic foods until a certain age but on the other hand now they are talking about the "Hygiene Hypothesis" which suggests that kids who are outdoors and exposed to more dirt and allergens wind up with fewer allergies and presumably are less likely to have asthma.

Whenever I hear stuff like this I remind myself that human milk has hundreds, maybe thousands of components without any known benefit. That doesn't mean the benefit doesn't exist it just means they don't know what it is yet. Some of these benefits might not matter as much as they once did but others may be more important. As one example human milk has cholesterol and formula doesn't. Who knows what the implications for heart disease and obesity are.
~Cath
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by CathMac View Post
maya44,
I had heard that the IQ boost attributed to BF'ing had been debunked but I hadn't heard that that the benefit reportedly held for some with a certain gene. How did I miss that? Do you have a link?
http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/0704292104v1.

My understanding that the study shows that most people have the gene that interplays with breast milk to boost IQ. But not everyone has the gene, and those without it, do not get this one benefit.
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by maya44 View Post
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My understanding that the study shows that most people have the gene that interplays with breast milk to boost IQ. But not everyone has the gene, and those without it, do not get this one benefit.
maya44,
If I am reading the IQ article correctly, 90% have at least one copy of the favorable version of the gene.

Regarding the article on asthma, shouldn't it be obvious that "impaired" human lung factors have to be better than pasteurized bovine ones? Especially if this is a "live" substance, pasteurization would kill any in cow milk.

Reuters: Breastmilk helps lungs but not if mom has asthma – 11/1/07
http://www.reuters.com/article/healt...071101?sp=true
“For the most part, breast-fed children with non-asthmatic mothers had better lung volume and no decrease in air flow.
But children of mothers with asthma who were breast-fed four months or more did not show any improvement. In fact, these children had a significant reduction in airflow.
The reason, Guilbert suggested, may be altered lung growth.
Guilbert believes breast milk may contain certain factors that promote lung development, factors that may be impaired in mothers with asthma.

What I'd like to know is how babies of BF'ing asthmatic moms compare to FF'ing asthmatic moms. I'd also like to know if extended BF'ing makes a difference. I would think it's theoretically possible that the baby of an asthmatic mom that nurses for 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, etc. might have better lung function than the baby of a non asthmatic mom that only nurses for 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, etc.
~Cath
post #12 of 12
Asthma is genetic (though it can be lessened or worsened by environment), so of course children of asthmatic mothers are more likely to have asthma :. You didn't need a new study to show that.

Are they claiming that bottlefed babies of asthmatic mothers have better lung capacity than breasfed babies of asthmatic mothers? As far as I can tell they just compared two different groups of breastfed babies. You'd find the same for bottlefed babies-- the bottlefed babies of asthmatic mothers would likely have decreased lung capacity compared to the bottlefed children of non-asthmatic mothers.
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