Background: Early infant feeding practices have been linked with eczema initiation and development. We sought to determine the prevalence and determinants of eczema at 12 months in a sample of well-characterised
Irish infants participating in the Cork
BASELINE Birth Cohort Study
(n = 1537).
Method: Data on infant nutrition were collected prospectively at 2, 6 and
12 months. Eczema was assessed at 6 and
12 months using UK Working Party diagnostic criteria.
Results: Breastfeeding was initiated in
72% of infants, of which 32% were exclusively breastfed on discharge from hospital.
At 2 months, 46% of infants were still receiving any breast milk, of which 13% were exclusively breastfed. Complementary feeding was initiated, at a median (IQR) of
19 (17–22) weeks; with 18% weaned <17 weeks and 3% ≥26 weeks. The pointprevalence of eczema at 6 and 12 months was 15.3% and 14.9%, respectively, of which 7.8% presented with persistent eczema at 12 months. There was no association between breastfeeding or age of complementary feeding and persistent eczema.
Determinants of persistent eczema were self-reported maternal (2.56 [1.31, 5.0]) and paternal atopy (2.12 [1.19, 3.78]) and neonatal fat mass (kg) ≥80th percentile at day 2 (2.25 [1.21, 4.18]), all P < 0.05.
Conclusion: Eczema is a complex multifactorial disease. This is the first Irish study to report eczema prevalence data during the first 12 months of life. Early feeding patterns were not associated with Irish infants’ risk of persistent eczema.