Studies: Breastfeeding linked to mothers' health

Nov 25, 2015, 3:02 PM EST
Source: Flickr -courtesy of What The F4 Photography
Source: Flickr -courtesy of What The F4 Photography

Various studies have looked at the relationship between breastfeeding mothers and non-breastfeeding mothers, and have recently discovered that breastfeeding can lead to less of a risk for various conditions later in those women’s lives. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine studied 1,035 women who had developed gestational diabetes while pregnant. ABC News reports that the women in the study were up to 50% less likely to develop diabetes later on in life if they breast-fed their children. Lactation improves insulin sensitivity and metabolism.

Medical News Today writes:
Compared with women who exclusively formula-fed their infants at 6-9 weeks after delivery, women who exclusively or mostly breastfed their child for at least 2 months were around 35-57% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes in the 2 years after delivery.
A separate study published in October in the Annals of Oncology found that women who breast-fed are less likely to develop certain types of breast cancer. Women who breast-fed were 20 percent less likely to develop “triple negative” breast cancer, a form of cancer that has none of the common hormone markers, such as estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2).
CBS News quotes study author Erica Gunderson, a senior research scientist with Kaiser Permanente Northern California:
"The main policy implication is that we need to focus our breast-feeding promotion efforts to high-risk women, those who are obese or have a pregnancy with gestational diabetes.”