Breastfeeding linked with reduction in diabetes…
This is not new news, as my children are now teenagers…and this was known then. What is new is the percentage DROP in incidence of diabetes in mothers who breastfed per JAMA Internal Medicine.
The Coronary Artery Risk Development Studying Young Adults (CARDIA) study followed 1,238 women aged 18-30 for 30 years. Their blood sugar was tested over the course of the study. Women who had breastfed for at least 12 months had a 47% (!!!) lower relative risk of developing diabetes during the ensuing 30 years compared to those mothers who did not breastfeed.
Did the study take into account other factors? Yes! They adjusted for race, number of pregnancies, physical activity, weight change, and gestational diabetes status.
What if you breastfeed for 6-12 months there was a 48% reduction in the risk of diabetes and those who breastfed for 6 months, there was a 25% reduced risk of diabetes.
What if you have gestational diabetes (high blood sugars during the pregnancy that doesn’t occur when not pregnant)? If the mother did not breastfeed, she has a 2.08% higher risk of diabetes per YEAR compared with women who breastfed for at least 12 months.
Why is this? It is thought that lactating women have lower circulating glucose both when fasting and after eating. These women also have lower insulin secretion and 50 grams of glucose per 24 hours is diverted into the breast to help make milk.
How many women breastfeed? It is estimated that 55% of women breastfeed at 6 months and 33% breastfeed at one year.
What do you need to breastfeed? You need breasts (any size will work), patience, support, and the desire to breastfeed. There are some women who do not make milk… but you will never know until you try. I urge women to dedicatedly breastfeed for the newborn’s first 2 weeks of life with professional lactation support, if needed. This support is offered through the hospital they delivered at or with outside breastfeeding organizations like La Leche. Do these steps before deciding that she does not make milk. The mother can always supplement with formula to help give the newborn the nutrition needed.
Want more information? doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.7978