Role of breastfeeding in protection against respiratory tract infections during childhood: A case control study.


  • Saad Muhammad Ayub Teaching Hospital, Abbottabad
  • Adil Rehman Ayub Teaching Hospital, Abbottabad.
  • Muhammad Usama Ayub Teaching Hospital, Abbottabad.
  • Aanab Sardar Ayub Teaching Hospital, Abbottabad.
  • Abbas Iqbal Ayub Teaching Hospital, Abbottabad.
  • Shahista Naz Ayub Teaching Hospital, Abbottabad.



Breastfeeding, Respiratory Tract Infection (RTI)


Objective: To look into the protective role of breastfeeding against respiratory tract infections in children below 5 years age. Furthermore, effect of various demographic and environmental factors like gender, passive smoking, maternal education, vaccination status of the child, source of drinking water, source of household energy and pre-existing illness on RTIs was studied. Study Design: Case Control study. Setting: Department of Pediatrics, Ayub Teaching Hospital, Abbottabad. Period: December 2019 to August 2020. Material & Methods: Data was collected on pre-formed, self-administered, structured questionnaires using non randomized sampling technique (50 cases and 50 controls). Results: RTI was found not to be associated with breastfeeding (OR 0.651 and 95% CI 0.226-1.875). Similarly factors including vaccination (OR 0.755 and 95% CI 0.322-1.767), pre-existing illnesses (OR 1.000 and 95% CI 0.388-2.576), passive smoking (OR 0.832 and 95% CI 0.359-1.930) and supplemental feed during first 6 months of life (OR 1.758 and 95% CI 0.796-3.880) were not significantly associated with respiratory tract infections. Conclusion: Breastfeeding is not associated with a reduced risk of RTIs in children less than 5 years of age. This contradicts with the hypothesis that breastfeeding plays a significant role in reducing RTIs: which may be due to the fact that majority of patients were given supplemental feed before 6 months. Whereas exclusive breastfeeding is recommended by WHO.

Author Biographies

Saad Muhammad, Ayub Teaching Hospital, Abbottabad

MBBS, FCPS (Pediatric Medicine), Assistant Professor Pediatrics, 

Adil Rehman, Ayub Teaching Hospital, Abbottabad.

MBBS, Medical Officer Medicine & Allied, 

Muhammad Usama, Ayub Teaching Hospital, Abbottabad.

MBBS, MRCS, FCPS, Medical Officer, 

Aanab Sardar, Ayub Teaching Hospital, Abbottabad.

MBBS, Medical Officer Medicine & Allied, 

Abbas Iqbal, Ayub Teaching Hospital, Abbottabad.

MBBS, Medical Officer Medicine & Allied, 

Shahista Naz, Ayub Teaching Hospital, Abbottabad.

MBBS, FCPS (Pediatric Medicine), Senior Registrar Pediatrics,