Breastfeeding and atopic dermatitis: protective or harmful? facts and controversies

Clin Dermatol. Jan-Feb 2010;28(1):34-7. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2009.03.007.


Conventional wisdom posits that breastfeeding during the first 4 months of life generally reduces the incidence of atopic dermatitis in the child. Recent studies question this truism, especially in cases when the mother herself is allergic. Studies about maternal dietary allergens in breast milk and their influence on atopic dermatitis have been questioned as well. There is evidence that probiotic and essential fatty acid supplementation, along with an allergen-avoidance diet, may reduce the chance of maternal dietary allergens provoking atopic dermatitis in the infant. Evidence on both sides of the controversy is presented in an effort to produce meaningful guidelines for breastfeeding infants at risk for atopic dermatitis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Allergens / administration & dosage
  • Allergens / adverse effects*
  • Breast Feeding / adverse effects*
  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data
  • Causality
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / epidemiology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / prevention & control*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Fatty Acids, Essential / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / prevention & control
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Primary Prevention / methods*
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage
  • Risk Factors


  • Allergens
  • Fatty Acids, Essential