Breastmilk shown to significantly reduce the risk of infants developing Celiac disease

Author: Merrilee Gober, RN, BSN, JD

Breastmilk has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of an infant developing celiac disease, a gastrointestinal condition characterized by gluten intolerance that affects an estimated 3 million Americans.1

Research published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) shows that “there is a reduction of 52% in the risk of developing celiac disease in infants who were breastfed at the time of gluten exposure.”2 In other words, this research shows that to reduce the risk of developing celiac disease, breast milk needs to be in the stomach of the baby when foods with gluten are first introduced.

Babies should not have solid food until they are six months old.  Therefore, breastfeeding the baby until at least six months old is needed for this particular benefit.

Aside from the risk reduction of celiac disease, breastmilk has many additional benefits. Other health benefits of breastfeeding include reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by 36%, ear infections by 50%, lower respiratory infections by 72%, diabetes by 30%, and obesity by 24%.3

To learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding, see the 2012 AAP Policy Statement and the HMHB 2016 State of the State of Maternal & Infant Health in Georgia.