Harmful bacteria in breast pumps could be putting your baby at risk of asthma

14 February 2019, 12:20 | Updated: 14 February 2019, 12:35

Baby bottle pump
Baby bottle pump. Picture: Getty

New research claims breast pumps may not be safe as there could be bacteria transmitted from the device that causes issues later in life.

Mothers who use breast pumps could be putting their babies at risk, after research found that babies who were fed using the device were more likely to develop asthma later in life.

The study, carried out by University of Manitoba in Canada, found babies who had been directly breastfed had a rich diversity of bacteria in their mouths called microbiome. Babies get this bacteria from their mother's nipple and it's good for their health and immunity.

However, babies who were fed using milk from a breastpump had more harmful bacteria in their mouths which was transmitted from bottles where the pumped milk is stored.

Breastfeeding breast pump
Babies who were fed using milk from a breast pump were exposed to more bacteria. Picture: Getty

The authors of the study write, “Although previously considered sterile, breast milk is now known to contain a complex community of bacteria that helps establish the infant gut microbiota... If this process is disrupted, the infant may develop a dysbiotic microbiota, causing predisposition to chronic diseases such as allergy, asthma and obesity.”

Bacterial genes from breast milks of 393 healthy mothers were analyzed and the mothers remained under study from when their babies were in the infancy stages until adolescence.

Results showed that milk given via breast pumps were found to contain high numbers of harmful bacteria known as “opportunistic pathogens, these are usually unharmful but can lead to infection when the babies immunity is low.

Authors explained that respiratory tract infections can lead to repeated inflammation of the lungs and airways and this can lead to an increased risk of asthma later in life.