It has longed been suggested that breastfeeding can help reduce the risk of children developing eczema, but this new study found that babies who were exclusively breastfed for four months or longer were just as likely to suffer from eczema as babies who were weaned at an earlier age.
The researchers from King's College London, the University of Nottingham and the University of Ulm in Germany, studied 51,119 children aged between eight and 12 across Europe, by asking parents about their child's eczema, breastfeeding and age of weaning.
The children in the study also had a skin examination for eczema and skin prick test for dust mites and other allergens. The researchers did not find any evidence of breastfeeding protecting them from eczema.
'UK breastfeeding guidelines with regard to eczema should be reviewed,' said Dr Carsten Flohr, one of the researchers from the study.
'Further studies are required to explore how and when solids should be introduced alongside breastfeeding to aid protection against eczema and other allergic diseases.'
While the team didn't find a link between breastfeeding and eczema specifically, they are not disputing the other health benefits breast milk can provide.
Did you breastfeed? Does your child have eczema?