Infant feeding and allergy: 12-month prospective study of 500 babies born into allergic families

Ann Allergy. 1988 Dec;61(6 Pt 2):13-20.


This investigation studied 487 babies for symptoms of allergic disease during their first year of life. Because of their positive family histories all the babies are at high risk of becoming allergic. The babies were randomly divided such that cows' milk was deliberately withheld from one group; infants in this group were fed with a soya substitute where required. No benefit resulted from withholding cows' milk, indeed symptoms were more usually associated with this group. Breast feeding, even for a short period, was clearly associated with a lower incidence of wheeze, prolonged colds, diarrhoea, and vomiting. It seemed that the duration of breast feeding was less important than whether or not the child had been breast-fed at all. Wheezing was both more common among boys than girls (P less than .05) and if the mother was a smoker. Other environmental features related to wheezing were social class, month of birth, lack of breast feeding, exposure to dampness, mould and coal fires, but not to domestic pets nor to the numbers of mites found in bedding and carpets. Mite exposure was, however, associated with prolonged colds. Eczema was the only allergic symptom not positively associated with any environmental factor; moreover, it was neither associated with a lack of breast feeding nor with inclusion of cows' milk in the diet. Eczema was associated with the incidence of positive skin prick tests and IgE antibodies to egg white. IgE and IgG4 antibodies were estimated at birth (mothers' and cord bloods) and 3 and 12 months later.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Breast Feeding
  • Cattle
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / etiology*
  • Hypersensitivity / pathology
  • Immunoglobulin E / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Infant
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Sounds / etiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking


  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin E