Publication Date

2015

Abstract

Aim: To synthesise the evidence on the association between duration and exclusivity of breastfeeding and the risk of acute otitis media (AOM). Methods: Systematic review and meta‐analysis following searching of PubMed, CINAHL and EMBASE electronic databases. Results: Twenty‐four studies, all from the USA or Europe, met the inclusion criteria. In the pooled analyses, any form of breastfeeding was found to be protective for AOM in the first 2 years of life. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months was associated with the greatest protection (OR 0.57 95% CI 0.44, 0.75), followed by ‘more vs less’ breastfeeding (OR 0.67; 0.59, 0.76) and ‘ever vs never’ breastfeeding (OR 0.67; 0.56, 0.80). Conclusion: This systematic review and meta‐analysis provides evidence that breastfeeding protects against AOM until 2 years of age, but protection is greater for exclusive breastfeeding and breastfeeding of longer duration. Exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months was associated with around a 43% reduction in ever having AOM in the first 2 years of life. After 2 years of age, there is no evidence that breastfeeding protects against AOM; however, there were few studies and the evidence quality was low.

School/Institute

Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

Document Type

Open Access Journal Article

Access Rights

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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