Host defense benefits of breastfeeding for the infant. Effect of breastfeeding duration and exclusivity

Pediatr Clin North Am. 2001 Feb;48(1):105-23, ix. doi: 10.1016/s0031-3955(05)70288-1.


Breastfeeding confers lifesaving protection against infectious illness among disadvantaged populations. As a result, breastfeeding promotion has an important part in child health programs throughout the world. In this article, the evidence regarding the host defense benefits of breastfeeding for term infants of normal birth weight is reviewed, with an emphasis on recent information from industrialized countries regarding how the degree and duration of breastfeeding affect infant health.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Milk, Human / immunology
  • Milk, Human / physiology*
  • Otitis Media / epidemiology
  • Otitis Media / prevention & control
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / prevention & control
  • Time Factors