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Open Access Does Lanolin Use Increase the Risk for Infection in Breastfeeding Women?

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Background: Use of lanolin has become a breastfeeding cultural norm, although the evidence is conflicting on its safety and efficacy. Little to no evidence is available on the relationship between lanolin and infection.

Methods: This is a feasibility study, using case-control, retrospective chart review, examining lanolin use and the development signs and symptoms of nipple or breast infection in breastfeeding mothers with nipple pain. Fungal infection versus bacterial infection was suspected according to the corresponding effective treatment.

Results: Lanolin users were suspected to have a 62% infection rate, as compared to non-lanolin users at 18%, odds ratio = 7.5 (95% CI = 2.4–23.4). Although not significant, fungal infection may be more frequent than bacterial infection based on effective corresponding treatment.

Conclusion: A randomized controlled trial is called for to determine if frequent lanolin use increases the risk of nipple or breast infection.

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Keywords: BACTERIAL INFECTION; FUNGAL INFECTION; LANOLIN; NIPPLE PAIN

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2014

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