posted in Parenting
Here’s yet another good reason to breastfeed your baby: it may reduce your risk of getting Type 2 diabetes later in life.
Scientists followed more than 2,000 women, starting when they were between 18 and 30 years old. None of the women had diabetes at the beginning of the study, and during the study period each had at least one baby. Over about three decades, the researchers collected information about the women’s health through interviews and physical exams.
Women who breastfed had a significantly decreased risk of developing diabetes compared to women who didn’t breastfeed, the researchers found. The longer they breastfed, the more their risk declined.
Among women who breastfed for up to 6 months, the risk of getting diabetes dropped 25 percent. Those who breastfed for longer than 6 months saw an almost 50 percent drop in diabetes risk, according to the findings published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
The benefits of breastfeeding remained even after the researchers accounted for other diabetes risk factors such as genetics, exercise quantity, smoking, weight gain, and a history of gestational diabetes.
It’s not clear why breastfeeding may protect against diabetes. The researchers suggested it could be because nursing lowers the body’s glucose levels, which could protect against insulin resistance. More studies are needed to figure it out, they said.
Breastfeeding is great for many other reasons too. Not only can it reduce your baby’s risk of certain infections and allergies, but another recent study suggested it may help protect you from a painful condition called endometriosis.
Have you breastfed or are you breastfeeding your child? Have you faced any challenges breastfeeding for as long as you want?