We all know that breastfeeding has myriad benefits for the baby. Breastfeeding reduces babies’ risk of these diseases by these percentages:
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): 36%
- Type 1 Diabetes: 19-27%
- Type 2 Diabetes: 39%
- Leukemia (acute lymphocytic) : 19%
- Leukemia (acute myelogenous): 15%
- Asthma: 27%
- Gastrointestinal infections: 64%
- Lower respiratory tract diseases: 72%
- Atopic dermatitis: 42%
- Acute otitis media: 50%
We know that breastfeeding has psychological benefits for the mother — and that there are physical benefits for the mother including the fact that it is easier for a breastfeeding mother to loose weight after the birth and breast feeding helps reduce the risk of some types of cancer by these percentages:
- Ovarian cancer: 21%
- Breast cancer: 28%
Other health benefits to mothers who breastfeed include reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, reduced risk of osteoporosis, faster return of the uterus to its prepregnant state, steady weight loss based on use of fat deposits laid down during pregnancy for early milk production, and slower return of menses which can aid in natural child spacing.
Now, new reports indicate another breast feeding benefit for the mother.
USA Today reports that “breastfeeding may offer mothers long-term protection against a condition linked to diabetes and heart disease.”
Analyzing data on “704 women in an ongoing, government-funded study of heart-disease risk factors,” a team from Kaiser Permanente’s Division of Research found that “the longer women breast-fed, the lower their chance of developing metabolic syndrome.”
Even breastfeeding “for just a couple of months can significantly lower a woman’s risk of metabolic syndrome,” HealthDay reported.
“In women who didn’t have pregnancy-related (gestational) diabetes, breast-feeding between one and five months lowered a woman’s risk of developing metabolic syndrome by 39 percent, while breast-feeding for the same duration lowered the risk of the syndrome by 44 percent in women with gestational diabetes.”
WebMD reported, “In the population as a whole, breastfeeding for longer than nine months was associated with a 56% reduction in risk for developing metabolic syndrome during the follow-up period.”
In comparison, “in women who developed gestational diabetes during one or more pregnancies, the risk reduction was 86%.”
The study, which “was funded by the National Institutes of Health,” will appear “in … the journal Diabetes.”