Development of atopic disease after early administration of cow milk formula

Allergy. 1988 Jan;43(1):11-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.1988.tb02038.x.


We prospectively studied the incidence of atopic disease in healthy term infants with a birth weight between -1 and -2 SD who were fed a cow milk formula during the first few days of life. A total of 216 infants were randomized to receive either early feeding with formula before normal breastfeeding was started (n = 112) or "normal feeding" with breastmilk (n = 104). Symptoms of allergy developed in 18% of the infants before 18 months of age in the formula fed group, as compared to 33% in the breastfed group (P less than 0.05). The difference was confined to the group of infants with a history of allergy in two family members. Thus, 11% of the formula-fed infants developed allergy symptoms, as compared to 61% of the control infants (P less than 0.01). Our study implies that early feeding during the first days of life with a cow milk formula, before the introduction of breastmilk, may reduce the incidence of allergy symptoms before 18 months of age in infants with a family history of allergy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / etiology*
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / genetics
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin E / analysis
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Milk / immunology*
  • Milk, Human / immunology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Random Allocation


  • Immunoglobulin E