World BreastFeeding Week; Mothers who breastfeed for 6 months have 48 percent less risk of diabetes

The world breast feeding week just wrapped up and theme was  “Breastfeeding: the foundation for life”

NgDOC is excited to promote and celebrate with the rest of the world.

“There could be greater health benefits for women from breastfeeding than previously recognized,” said lead study author Erica Gunderson of the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California.

Compared to women who didn’t breastfeed at all, mothers who nursed babies for at least six months were 48 percent less likely to develop diabetes. Mothers who also breastfed for fewer than 6 months had 25 percent lower risk of developing diabetes.

In the past, it has been well known that aside from promoting good brain development because of some specific proteins like cysteine and taurine in breast milk, breastfeeding reduces the risk of a child developing allergic reactions, respiratory infections and now even diabetes!

It was a 30 year long study analyzed by researchers in the US from women in a heart health study and monitored throughout that time.

Scientists believe that there are good biological reasons why breastfeeding may protect against diabetes. For example, it is known to boost hormones which control blood insulin levels and lower blood sugar. It can also help new mothers lose pregnancy weight.

“We found a very strong association between breastfeeding duration and lower risk of developing diabetes, even after accounting for all possible confounding risk factors,” said lead author Dr Erica Gunderson, senior research scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in California.

“The incidence of diabetes decreased in a graded manner as breastfeeding duration increased, regardless of race, gestational diabetes, lifestyle behaviors, body size, and other metabolic risk factors measured before pregnancy, implying the possibility that the underlying mechanism may be biological.”

“Breastfed babies are also less likely to become overweight later in life, reducing their risk of developing cancer in the future as well.”

Breastfeeding also reduces the risk for breast cancer in the mother.

This makes breastfeeding protective for both mother and child.

Only about 36% of infants aged 0-6 months worldwide were exclusively breastfed over the period of 2007-2014. The lives of over 820,000 children could be saved every year among children under 5 years, if all children 0-23 months were optimally breastfed.

WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding starting within one hour after birth until a baby is 6 months old to promote health.

In spite of the benefits of breastfeeding, some women may face barriers to success, including lack of social support, lack of paid leave and lack of onsite childcare. Since breastfeeding provides a tremendous benefit for the child, mom and society, we want to keep encouraging women to breastfeed and create environments that support success.

The research was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

 

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