It's time to rethink your baby's bedtime routine if you lay him down to sleep with bottles, say researchers at Harvard University. The researchers found that infants with a family history of allergies or asthma who are bottle-fed in a bed or crib before going to sleep may face a higher risk of persistent wheezing and asthma later in childhood.
"For infants in a high-risk group, we found that when and how they are fed influences the onset of wheezing and asthma," reported lead researcher Juan Celedon, M.D. "There is a significant relationship between the number of times children are bottle-fed in the crib or bed prior to sleep time and the occurrence of wheezing during their first five years."
The study followed 448 children, each of whom had at least one parent with a history of allergies or asthma, from birth to age 5. After closely monitoring the children's dietary habits, researchers concluded that avoiding large-volume liquid meals in the bed or crib before bedtime may help reduce wheezing and asthma in early childhood.
While this particular study did not focus on breastfeeding, AAP research shows that breastfed babies develop fewer allergies later in life than their bottle-fed brethren.
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