It’s common knowledge that breast milk is the best start for babies, reducing risks for many short term and chronic diseases. But the best kept secret is that breastfeeding is beneficial for moms too!
Latest studies show good evidence that women who breastfed their infants have up to a 12% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes for each year they breastfed. Breastfeeding decreased the risk of ovarian cancer by up to 21%. Breastfeeding also decreased the risk of breast cancer by up to 28% in those whose lifetime duration of breastfeeding was 12 months or longer.
Women who did not breastfeed their infants were more likely to have postpartum depression (unmeasured factors, such as depression that was undiagnosed prior to giving birth, may have increased the rate of depression seen in this group). And current studies show that after weaning their children, breastfeeding mothers’ bone density returns to pre-pregnancy or even higher levels. In the long-term, lactation may actually result in stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis. In fact, recent studies have confirmed that women who did not breastfeed have a higher risk of hip fractures after menopause.
If we as a community want to improve the health of our future generations, we need to come together and support our mothers in their choice to breastfeed. Here’s our chance to support breastfeeding moms!