Research has been pretty definitive – when new mothers breastfeed their newborns there is substantial health benefits for the baby. New research indicates the health benefits may be as strong for the mother as the child.
According to WebMD researchers at Kaiser Permanente. “Breastfeeding was shown to significantly lower a woman’s risk for developing metabolic syndrome.”
This report indicates the longer the mother breastfed their newborn the more protection the mother received from metabolic syndrome.
The reason this is important for those who may develop diabetes is that Metabolic Syndrome is a combination of conditions that can indicate a certain risk or propensity for disease development. The Mayo Clinic provides some clarity. “Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, elevated insulin levels, excess body fat around the waist or abnormal cholesterol levels — that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
“Having just one of these conditions isn’t diagnosed as metabolic syndrome, but it does contribute to your risk of serious disease. If more than one of these conditions occur in combination, your risk is even greater.
“If you have metabolic syndrome or any of the components of metabolic syndrome, aggressive lifestyle changes can delay or even prevent the development of serious health problems.”
The WebMD report looks at what outcomes were encountered by those involved in the study. “Researchers examined data on 704 women who were followed for two decades, starting before their first pregnancy.
“Because the women were enrolled in a larger heart disease risk study, the researchers had information on wide range of health and lifestyle factors. None of the women had metabolic syndrome at enrollment, but 120 developed the condition during the 20 years of follow-up.”
Perhaps one of the greatest statistics released was for those who experienced gestational diabetes. If the mother breastfed for more than 9 months there is a reported 86% reduction in the risk for metabolic syndrome. In other words the overall risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes was just 14% if the mother agreed to breastfeed their infant when they were diagnosed with gestational diabetes while pregnant.
Breastfeeding for two months or less provided only marginal benefit while the more extended biological feedings demonstrated a much more profound disease risk reduction for the mother.
An extensive report on the subject is scheduled to be released in the journal, Diabetes in February 2010.
This study also looked at the potential link between breastfeeding and belly fat. It indicates that mothers who breastfeed seem to experience two additional benefits. The first is an overall health benefit that allows them to maintain better and more normal health. The second is a much faster reduction in post pregnancy weight. The weight loss may be instrumental in long-term weight management. That could mean a lower incidence of diabetes because excess weight is linked to the onset of diabetes.
According to WebMD a Harvard study in 2005 looked at 160,000 female nurses and concluded, “That each year of breastfeeding is associated with a 15% reduction in diabetes risk within the next 15 years.”
This effectively means that a mother with 3 children could reducer her risk of diabetes by 45% if she breastfed each child for one year following delivery.
You’ve always heard breastfeeding could be an important health aid to your child. Perhaps the benefits can provide greater overall health for you as well.