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Infant feeding causes all cases of asthma, eczema, and hay fever. Or does it?
  1. T J DAVID
  1. University Department of Child Health
  2. Booth Hall Children’s Hospital
  3. Manchester M9 7AA, UK

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    If one does not feed babies, one can be absolutely certain that they will not develop atopic disease—clear proof of the dangers of infant feeding. The logic of this statement may seem a little fuzzy, but medical journals abound with this sort of nonsense, especially when it comes to the topic of infant feeding and allergy.

    Unusually, this issue contains a paper that will save lives—not babies’ but midwives’.1 The received wisdom, more of a religious belief than a scientific fact, has been that a single bottle of milk formula is enough to totally destroy the delicate balance of the infant’s protective immune system, leading to the very worst atopic mayhem that the forces of the immune system can muster. This idea gathered momentum as a result of gently massaged intervention studies that—for example, classified respiratory symptoms as “cough” in breast fed babies but as “wheezing/asthma” in bottle fed babies; the so called unblinded observer method. Bolstered by this sort of data, the hunt was on for midwives who allowed breast fed newborns so much as a sniff of a …

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