Breastfeeding Benefits for Moms


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Breastfeeding offers many health benefits for babies – from a lower risk of asthma to fewer ear infections. But choosing breastfeeding can also help mothers.

You’ve probably heard about the benefits of breastfeeding for babies, but what about for moms?

A new study out of Yale adds to growing research showing breastfeeding may prevent diabetes in moms. Scientists compared mice that nursed and those that didn’t. They found the mice that did not lactate had fewer insulin-producing cells in their pancreas – which could lead to a higher risk for type two diabetes.

Other research has shown mothers who breastfeed have a lower chance of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, arthritis, and postpartum depression.

Jennifer Foster, IBCLC says, “It’s the most natural thing that you can do for your child. It’s the healthiest choice that you can make for your child and for the mom.”

Breastfeeding also produces oxytocin, which helps a woman’s uterus contract to its pre-pregnancy size. And it can burn calories – around 500 to 700 a day! And for diabetic moms …

Karen Elkind-Hirsch, PhD, Dir., Scientific Research at Woman’s Hospital-Baton Rouge says, “It helps you lose weight and keep the diabetes in check.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about six months and then as a supplement to food until children are 12 months or older.

A study published in the Journal Pediatrics estimated that if 90 percent of US families followed breastfeeding guidelines for six months, the US would save 13 billion dollars a year due to reduced medical and other costs.

Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.


REPORT #3115

BACKGROUND: Breastfeeding is a natural and essential practice providing numerous health benefits for infants and mothers. Around 40 percent of infants are exclusively breastfed during the first six months of life. Several factors influence breastfeeding rates, including cultural norms, social support, maternity leave policies, and access to healthcare. Initiatives to promote breastfeeding often target these factors. Breastfeeding is considered one of the most effective ways to ensure a child’s health and wellbeing and while it’s primarily associated with infant nutrition, breastfeeding also has several significant advantages for women’s health and survival. It should begin within one hour of childbirth and continue for up to two years beyond birth. Infants should also receive nutritionally sufficient complementary foods while being breastfed.


THE STUDY: A new study out of Yale University Medicine has added to pre-existing research that breastfeeding children can help prevent diabetes in mothers. Their research showed breastfeeding to help improve the number of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas and improve insulin sensitivity in women as well, protecting them from getting Type 2 Diabetes later in their lives. Other research showed women who breastfeed have a reduced risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Breastfeeding helps to limit the number of menstrual cycles a woman experiences over her lifetime, which can reduce her exposure to hormones like estrogen, known to promote the development of these cancers.


NEW REGULATIONS: In December of 2022, President Biden signed the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Spending Bill into Law. The bill includes the PUMP Mothers Nursing Act which gives nursing mothers the right to get time off work, a place to pump and private time to pump at work. This also allows mothers more reasonable accommodations for pregnancy, post-partum recoveries, and related medical issues like lactation, more time to recover and aid their needs, hopefully leading to more breastfeeding benefits and overall better female health conditions.


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Caroline Isemann

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