Studies of the influence of the initial feeding method upon the development of allergic disease have produced widely conflicting results.1 Unfortunately, the major social factors that lead a mother to choose to bottle-feed, rather than breast-feed, her infant have been ignored so that breast- and bottle-fed infants tend to be highly selected groups that cannot be directly compared unless many other variables are also taken into account.

The Isle of Wight Infant Feeding Survey was established to study the development of allergic disease in childhood in an entire infant population. The results of the study in the first year of life have been reported.2,3

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