This paper aimed to examine the effect of breastfeeding on longitudinal patterns of common infections up to 2 years and respiratory symptoms up to 8 years. To assess the incidence and reoccurrence of infections and allergic symptoms in the first years of life among 1,603 children from the EDEN mother-child cohort, distinct longitudinal patterns of infectious diseases as well as skin rash and respiratory symptoms were identified by group-based trajectory modelling. To characterize infections, we considered the parent-reported number of cold/nasopharyngitis and diarrhoea from birth to 12 months and otitis and bronchitis/bronchiolitis from birth to 2 years. To characterize allergy-related symptoms, we considered the parent-reported occurrence of wheezing and skin rash from 8 months to 8 years and asthma from 2 to 8 years. Then associations between breastfeeding and these longitudinal patterns were assessed through adjusted multinomial logistic regression. Compared with never-breastfed infants, ever-breastfed infants were at a lower risk of diarrhoea events in early infancy as well as infrequent events of bronchitis/bronchiolitis throughout infancy. Only predominant breastfeeding duration was related to frequent events of bronchitis/bronchiolitis and infrequent events of otitis. We found no significant protective effect of breastfeeding on longitudinal patterns of cold/nasopharyngitis, skin rash, or respiratory symptoms. For an infant population with a short breastfeeding duration, on average, our study confirmed a protective effect of breastfeeding on diarrhoea events in early infancy, infrequent bronchitis/bronchiolitis and, to a lesser extent, infrequent otitis events up to 2 years but not on other infections, skin rash, or respiratory symptoms4.
Keywords: birth cohort; breastfeeding; infection; longitudinal pattern; skin rash; wheezing.
© 2020 The Authors. Maternal & Child Nutrition published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.