Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis


Epidemiology and Biostatistics



First Advisor

Wilfried Karmaus


Eczema is common in infancy, and some modes of feeding may be risks factor for the disease. However, most studies on infant feeding do not sufficiently differentiate between the various modes of feeding, particularly not between direct breast feeding and feeding of expressed breast milk. Data came from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II, including approximately 2,500 infants with feeding information collected at nine time points from month 2 to 12 after birth. Seven modes of infant feeding comprising direct breast feeding, indirect breast feeding, and formula were identified. To investigate the association between eczema and modes of feeding, repeated measurements were analyzed using general estimating equation models. Any infant feeding in months 2 to 6 that included bottled breast milk was a risk factor for eczema in subsequent months 3 to 7 (OR: 1.29, [1.01, 1.65]). There was no evidence of selection of infant feeding due to maternal history of eczema, nor was there a change in mode of feeding subsequent to an infant developing eczema (reverse causation). We recommend that women should directly breast feed their infants as indirect breast feeding does not convey the same benefits.


© 2010, Saroochi Agarwal