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April 1985

Gastrointestinal and Respiratory Illnesses in Breast-fed Infants-Reply

Author Affiliations

Children's Hospital Medical Center Cincinnati, OH 45229
University Hospitals Iowa City, IA 52242
Gundersen Clinic La Crosse, WI 54601

Am J Dis Child. 1985;139(4):329-330. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1985.02140060011003

In Reply.—That breast-feeding provides protection against GI infections is unquestioned. Indeed, we observed an increased frequency of GI illnesses among formula-fed infants when compared to matched breast-fed infants

(P<.03).1 However, under the circumstances of our study, we found no suggestion that breast-feeding protects against respiratory tract infections. While the study by Pullan et al2 suggests that the severity of RSV infection may be less in breast-fed infants, it does not take into account the total population of either breast-fed or bottle-fed infants with RSV infection. Thus, it is not possible from the base of hospitalized children to draw the conclusion that breast-feeding protects against severe disease due to RSV. Although we cannot entirely exclude a difference in respiratory illness severity from our data, it is noteworthy that the only lower respiratory illness occurred in a breast-fed infant.