All content of this blog is my own opinion only. It does not represent the views of any organisation or association I may work for, or be associated with. Nothing within this blog should be considered as medical advice and you should always consult your Doctor.

Breast may not be best to prevent allergies

Or so the headlines have told us this week.

The Daily Mail went with:
"Breastfeeding may not help cut allergies in children after all: Study shows bottle-fed babies are equally resistant to host of common conditions"
The Telegraph went for a slightly more emotive slant:
"Is this proof the witches of breast milk are wrong after all?
A new study shows breast may not be best in terms of preventing allergies. Anna White, mum of twins, rejoices.".
Anna appears to be developing a theme (or lacking imagination), as her 2013 piece carried the title: "The witches of breast milk need to back off".

Personally I think Anna might be "rejoicing" a tad too early.

The tiny study of 200, was presented at a conference and so as of yet I haven't managed to obtain a copy. Thanks to the Daily Mail however, I don't need to.

If you read their entire article via "don't link"  it states:
‘This study did not take into consideration whether babies were exclusively breast fed or supplemented with formula."

So as a comparison, let's pretend we want to explore whether salad or pizza are healthiest.  One group eats
Peppers count as salad, right?
pizza only, the other can choose either salad or pizza at each meal, or they can  have one mouthful of salad per day and the rest of the time eat pizza, or any other combination they choose.  They might even only eat salad every few days, but as long as they're eating some - they qualify for the salad group.

If I then gave you that study and said see, whether you eat salad or pizza makes no difference - would you rejoice? More likely you would simply laugh.

Even if we pretend it's true - there is no suggestion formula proffers protection; at best  it's stating formula might not cause harm.  I think Anna understands this, as the only other logical conclusion otherwise is she's "rejoicing" because she's glad babies who were breastfed aren't "protected" either?

The truth is this conference bulletin, that we have no context for (either in terms of the rest of the presentation or indeed funding,) tells us absolutely nothing.  It certainly isn't "proof" of anything other than bad science.

The "auto-bots at La Leche league", as Anna calls them - or the "fabulous mothers who have often struggled themselves, so now volunteer to give their time they could spend with their own family in order to help others to the the tune of thousands of calls per year", as I prefer to refer to them as, won't need to update their training manual just yet.

Sorry Anna.


  1. Thank you for writing this. Yet again, the voice of reason in a world gone mad.

  2. Thanks for this article, a great analogy to use. I don't understand why people are on a mission to see breastmilk as evil and that it's wrong. Totally natural function of the body, yet it's wrong. Makes me sad


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