Objective: Infants may have allergic disease even during exclusive breast-feeding. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether allergic infants should continue breast-feeding.
Study design: We studied 100 infants who had atopic eczema during exclusive breast-feeding. The extent and severity of the eczema, allergic sensitization, and the patients' growth and nutrition were assessed during and after cessation of breast-feeding.
Results: The mean body length SD score decreased at the onset of allergic disease, and an association was seen between the duration of symptoms and poor growth (r = -.23, P =.04). Some improvement could be achieved by strict elimination diet by the mothers. The atopic eczema improved significantly after breast-feeding was stopped: SCORAD score 20 (range 15 to 27) during and 7 (range 4 to 11) after breast-feeding; t = 5.38, P <.0001, and the relative length of patients increased, in parallel with improved nutritional parameters.
Conclusions: Breast-feeding should be promoted for primary prevention of allergy, but breast-fed infants with allergy should be treated by allergen avoidance, and in some cases breast-feeding should also be stopped. This particularly applies to infants with atopic eczema who also have impaired growth.