Objective: We studied associations between the type of feeding in infancy and the incidence of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM).
Research design and methods: We studied 103 newly diagnosed diabetic children less than 7 yr of age and 103 age- and sex-matched population-based control children in a countrywide study.
Results: The risk of IDDM was decreased (P less than 0.05) among children breast-fed for at least 7 mo (odds ratio [OR] 0.45, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.24-0.85) or exclusively breast-fed for at least 3 (OR 0.33, 95% CI 0.13-0.84) or 4 (OR 0.43, 95% CI 0.22-0.84) mo. Also, children who were greater than or equal to 4 mo old at the time of introduction of supplementary milk feeding had a lower risk of diabetes (OR 0.48, 95% CI 0.26-0.91).
Conclusions: The protective effects of a long duration of breast-feeding and a late introduction of dairy products on the risk of IDDM remained significant after adjusting for the mother's education.