22. Jan, 2018

New benefits of breastfeeding discovered for mum

All mums have been told that 'breast is best' for baby, but there has been considerably less information made available on its role in mother's health. In the last year or so, a couple of interesting studies caught my eye. 

The most recent, published last week in JAMA, looked at data from the 30-year Coronary Artery Risk Development Study in Young Adults (CARDIA) study. The researchers were looking for biochemical evidence of "the protective association between lactation duration and progression to diabetes", and they found it. Their results show that women who breast-fed for at least 6 months reduced their risk for type 2 diabetes by almost half compared with those who did not breast-feed. 

About this time last year, a study looking into a similar association with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) was published in Neurology online . It found that women "who had breastfed for a cumulative duration of 15 months or more — were half as likely to go on to develop MS compared to those who had breastfed for a total of 4 months or less". The same study reported "an association with a lower risk of MS in women who were older when they started menses", which had also been reported in several previous studies.

These studies both show strong associations between the length of breastfeeding and a lower risk of developing disease that will hopefully encourage further studies to find out how and why this happens. 

Those of us that have been able to breastfeed will tell you its certainly not easy, but now that we have this mounting evidence of the benefits to both mum & bub, its hard to believe there's a shortage of infant formula in Australia due to growing demand in China.