Friday, June 25, 2010

Why Exclusive? yes, we know that partial breastfeeding has some sort of weird association with increased pneumonia...

Have you read the new study that shows that breastfeeding for at least six months reduced incidences of respiratory illness in infants, but that there is a slight increase if only partially breastfed?

Actually, this is not surprising. Every since we started studying the difference between exclusive and partial, we have seen this unexpected slight increase in pneumonias with early partial breastfeeding.

Why, you might ask? I could postulate many possibilities: that even some formula use ends up with microbuli to the lungs promoting infection; partially breastfed infants are more likely to be in day care; it is necessary to have exclusive breastfeeding for proper gene expression; the anti-inflammatory impact of breastfeeding is muted, so that we see the symptoms more. All of these are possible, and perhaps each contributes a little. Or maybe there are other mechanisms, but we keep seeing this. We even picked it up in the early studies of the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) in Chile!

All in all, it just keeps showing up - not for diarrhea, where any breastfeeding helps, but for pneumonia.

Since pneumonia is the major cause for hospitalization in the the first year of life in the US and in North Carolina, this is yet another reason that we must work for exclusive breastfeeding - not partial, not expressed milk feeding, but exclusive breastfeeding - for the early months.