Document Type


Associated Faculty

Dr. Valerie Herbert

Sponsoring Academic Department

School of Nursing

Publication Date


Abstract/ Summary

Allergies such as dietary, allergic rhinitis, allergy-related asthma, and atopic dermatitis have become increasingly prevalent in childhood and pose a public health concern – especially as severe allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis, are rising among children. Exclusive breastfeeding and formula feeding are two common infant feeding practices, but their role in influencing the development of childhood allergies are not entirely understood. Thus, the question is raised as to whether infants who are exclusively breastfed are at a decreased risk for developing childhood allergies, compared to infants who are formula fed. A literature search was conducted utilizing relevant databases PubMed, BioMed Central, Nursing Reference Center Plus, and ScienceDirect with the following keywords: breastfeeding, breastfed, allergy, allergies, formula feeding, formula fed. A total of nine publications were identified, with a total of 14 articles meeting inclusion and exclusion criteria. Inclusion criteria involved publications after 2018 and addressed the following: allergies, infant, child, formula or breastfeeding. Exclusion criteria included publications prior to 2018, failing to discuss breastfeeding or formula feeding impact on allergy development, and ages past childhood. The literature highlights support for breastfeeding, but is inconclusive. Results on allergy-related outcomes are indeterminant due to limitations in research, as well as confounding environmental factors. The literature concludes that further research is needed to determine whether infants who are exclusively breastfed versus formula fed experience significantly different outcomes in allergy development. Future knowledge on this topic could inform parents and health care providers on evidence-based methods to mitigate childhood allergy development and its harmful consequences.


pre-print (i.e. pre-refereeing)