Lactation and respiratory diseases in the baby

Cold, humidity, rain, fall and winter usually present a peak in respiratory diseases, and especially the little ones are affected.

What happens if the baby has an upper tract infection and has blocked nostrils? How is breastfeeding affected? In We tell you how to facilitate breastfeeding if the baby is plugged.

When we talk about respiratory diseases we refer to infections that take place in the airway, the most common symptoms of which are rhinorrhea, increased secretions (the little ones have more mucus), possible respiratory distress, cough, wheezing and rales (noises in the chest ) ... The most frequent are the common cold of the upper airways, bronchiolitis (bronchitis in older people), pneumonia. They are generally viral, so the only treatment is symptomatic; but when there is a superinfection or the cause is bacterial, it is necessary to put an antibiotic treatment.

Children under one year of age are more vulnerable to respiratory diseases, because they have a really narrow airway, easily collapsible; the nostrils are small. So in the presence of secretions or inflammation, the airway of children can be blocked much more easily than that of adults or older children.

We know that breastfeeding provides multiple benefits long proven by scientific evidence, from a better state of the immune system, reduces the incidence and severity of infectious diseases, to better nutritional status, etc.

Most experts agree that breastfeeding does seem to be a protective factor against respiratory infections, as long as it lasts more than 90 days, that is 3 months. And they invite to stimulate prolonged lactation in those babies with school-age siblings or who attend daycare centers, where logically the probability of contagion is much higher.

Consulting the bibliography, and specifically its methodology, about breastfeeding and its protective role or not specifically against respiratory diseases, it seems that there is a bit of controversy; since there is much published, however most of the articles consulted have some bias in the research, methodological errors such as not considering certain variables that are fundamental such as attendance or not at daycare, smoking in the family environment, number and age of the partners at home. So the proper question would be What degree of protection does prolonged breastfeeding confer against respiratory infections?

Consulting the AEPED (Spanish Association of Pediatrics) and the articles it supports, we can simplify by saying that among the benefits observed in children who are exclusively breastfed, with respect to those who are not:

- Less rate of hospital admission secondary to respiratory infection.

- Fewer complications and less severity of the episodes.

- The duration of the episode of respiratory infection is shorter.

- Less probability of suffering a first episode of bronchiolitis.

- Minor reinfections or new episodes of respiratory infection during the first 6 months of life.

You can read more articles similar to Breastfeeding and respiratory diseases in the baby, in the category of On-site Breastfeeding.