Mother’s milk has many health benefits for a baby. In addition to this, new studies are showing that breastfeeding is also good for moms’ health and that it specifically helps to fight cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. The studies found that moms who breastfeed have much lower chances of developing metabolic syndrome, which has symptoms such as high blood sugar, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and belly fat. This syndrome is one of the reasons for developing diabetes and heart-related diseases. Let’s take a look at how diabetes and breastfeeding are connected.
Does Breastfeeding Help With Cardiovascular Diseases and Diabetes?
A breastfeeding study about the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults published in the Diabetes journal was done over 20 years. The experts studied 1400 women between the ages of 18 and 30. These women weren’t pregnant and haven’t been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome when the study started. Half of the women became pregnant and 120 of them developed the metabolic syndrome during the study. This breastfeeding study then concluded that breastfeeding helps with cardiovascular diseases because women who didn’t develop any symptoms were breastfeeding 7 months on average, while the women who have only for 2.6 months.
The same breastfeeding study also proved that breastfeeding has many benefits when it comes to gestational diabetes. The study showed that the women who didn’t breastfeed for longer periods were much more prone to develop gestational diabetes. However, it is still unknown why breastfeeding has these health benefits, but it’s proven that women that didn’t develop any of the symptoms of the metabolic syndrome had higher levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and less abdominal fat. Insulin levels weren’t measured during the study, but we may hypothesize that breastfeeding maybe lowers insulin levels, which later results in less chance of developing metabolic syndrome.
Breastfeeding and Cardiovascular Diseases
In addition to lowering the chances of potentially developing the metabolic syndrome, these studies suggest that the women who breastfeed have a lower risk of ovarian and breast cancers. Also, the risk will be lower if a woman nurse for a longer period.
But, why and how breastfeeding benefits the mother? According to researches, there are plenty of reasons. Some experts say that women who breastfeed tend to have a much healthier lifestyle in general, since you want to stay healthy to keep your breast milk good enough for your baby. The women who breastfeed tend to exercise more often, eat healthier, and make better choices regarding health to improve their health while keeping their babies healthy too. A healthy lifestyle like one mentioned above is the main reason why moms who breastfeed have lower chances of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Breastfeeding and Low Diabetes Risk
As already mentioned, mothers who breastfeed should be encouraged to continue nursing as long as they can. Besides helping with cardiovascular diseases, breastfeeding is also associated with lowering the risk of diabetes even years after giving birth.
Mothers are advised to breastfeed their babies for at least 6 months because it can reduce the risk of developing respiratory and ear infections, allergies, and diabetes. Moreover, mothers are also advised to continue breastfeeding for at least one year because research suggests that it lowers the risk of diabetes, certain cancers, and obesity for moms.
A study that examined 1,238 moms without diabetes showed that 182 of them developed diabetes over the 25 years. Mothers who nursed their babies for more than 6 months were 48% less likely to develop diabetes than the women who didn’t breastfeed at all. The study found that 10 out of 1,000 women who didn’t breastfeed at all usually developed diabetes each year. The women who were breastfeeding for the longest time this number dropped to fewer than 4 cases for every 1,000. Diabetes was much more likely to develop in women who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy. However, the women who breastfeed for a longer time still had the lowest chance of developing diabetes later in life. This study is another proof that the chance of developing diabetes and breastfeeding are tightly connected.
Increasing physical activity and losing weight, combined with a healthy diet will certainly lower your chances of developing heart-related diseases and diabetes. If you are a mom who decides to breastfeed you can be sure that such a decision will only decrease your chances of developing these threating diseases. Of course, you need to exercise, eat healthily, and most importantly, reduce stress to achieve anything.
If you, however, decide not to breastfeed but to use a baby bottle instead, you should work on your body as much as you can after giving birth. You will be benefiting yourself, but also, your little one will have someone to look up to. Keep in mind that whenever you take your child out that you will also be having some kind of exercise, so be encouraged to do so as much as you can!
Baby Planet Overview
Breastfeeding has many important positive sides when it comes to decreasing the risks of certain diseases. However, probably the most important is the social-bonding aspect of it. We encourage moms to breastfeed their babies because of already mentioned risk-decrease factors but keep in mind that breastfeeding is the first bonding experience you will have with your baby.
- Diabetes and Breastfeeding, www.diabetes.co.uk