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Breastfeeding Protects Mothers Too

Breastfeeding Protects Mothers Too
Women who breastfeed could be lowering their own risk of a heart attack!

A new study from The US found that women who breastfed for more than a year were 10% less likely to develop heart disease than those who never breastfed. Even breastfeeding for at least a month may cut the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Research has found that breastfeeding also reduces a woman's risk of ovarian and breast cancer and osteoporosis in later life suggesting the beneficial impact lasts for decades.

And the list of benefits for the baby is long, as everyone knows. Breast milk can protect against obesity, diabetes, asthma and infections of the ear, stomach and chest.

Breastfeeding may reduce cardiovascular risk by reducing fat stores in the body. However, the researchers believe that the release of hormones stimulated by breastfeeding also plays a role.

Researcher Dr Eleanor Bimla Schwarz said: "We have known for years that breastfeeding is important for babies' health; we now know that it is important for mothers' health as well. Breastfeeding is an important part of the way women's bodies recover from pregnancy. When this process is interrupted women are more likely to have a number of health problems (including heart attacks and strokes).

June Davison, a cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: "Breastfeeding has long been thought to be beneficial to baby and mother. This research suggests that it might have also have heart health benefits for mum too.

April 2009

The new research features in the journal Obstetrics and Gynaecology and focused on nearly 140,000 post-menopausal women.

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