Breastfeeding Benefits Extends To Significant Health Benefits for Mom

The benefits of breastfeeding for baby has never been in doubt. The health benefits of breastfeeding for mom were mostly for many years focused on faster post partum weight loss, and then the focus blurred with not only on benefits, but physical negatives for mom from breastfeeding. The saying 'you loose a tooth for each child' meaning the loss of bone calcium in pregnancy exaggerated by calcium loss during breastfeeding. Nutrition, exercise, and avoiding smoking has pretty much eliminated that concern! But interestingly as we have begun to scientifically explore the wide ranging benefits for mom from breastfeeding beyond weight loss: less diabetes, less breast cancer, less hypertension, fewer myocardial infarctions, and now it has been shown to help prevent cardiovascular disease due to less atherosclerosis, in a study on lactation from the CARDIA group.  Breastfeeding to reduce the physical risks of gestational diabetes is becoming more and more important as gestational diabetes becomes more common. Almost 10% of the pregnant population will be diagnosed with some degree of gestational diabetes. Almost half of those women diagnosed will not have any risk factors. Soit is important that you do all you can to then prevent diabetes in later life, and breastfeeding is part of that strategy. .In the newest  in 2013 of long term risks of high blood pressure, by Lupton and researchers out of the University of Western Sydney in Australia, it is shown that breast feeding your baby makes it less likely to ever have high blood pressure in later life. Breast feeding for over 3 months was helpful and greater than 6 months was additionally beneficial to lower the risks of hypertension. They encourage women who never breastfed their babies to be watched more closely for the development of high blood pressure. Exactly what the reason is for all these health benefits to mom from breastfeeding is not completely clear. Moms who breastfed will, in later life, weigh less, have better cholesterol, and better blood pressure. Whether it is just control of insulin metabolism that is the underlying benefit, or whether there is some other hormonal basis for the health benefits, we are not sure.


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