Study Shows Link Between Breastfeeding and Lowered Risk of Diabetes
It is a well-known fact that breast milk is probably the most important source of nutrition for babies and infants, and that in feeding their new babies through it, mamas alike get a wide number of benefits, including weight loss, prevention of certain diseases, a deeper emotional bond with their babies, etc… But, can breastfeeding prevent diabetes as well?
Well, good news for women everywhere! Especially if you are expecting already or you are considering starting a family…
A long-term study carried out by the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research has proved that breastfeeding for a period of six months or longer cuts the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes nearly in half for women going through their childbearing years.
Breastfeeding and diabetes prevention may seem like a tricky subject but, in reality, the study – which was conduced over a period of thirty years – took into consideration all possible factors of risk in women from all ethnicities and backgrounds.
For women who have a family history of the disease, the news on breastfeeding and diabetes comes as a relief, because we can know with a high degree of certainty that even if you do develop gestational diabetes during your pregnancy, the risk of developing the disease or suffering from Type 2 diabetes is very low.
But, how does breastfeeding prevent diabetes? 30 years of research and testing served to prove that the act of breastfeeding increases insulin sensitivity and improves the metabolization of glucose in the mother.
The tests conducted on this large and diverse group of women, continued to be taken 6 to 9 weeks after delivery and then annually for 2 years, to making sure that all factors were considered.
Furthermore, not only does breastfeeding prevent diabetes, but long-term benefits of this process include lower risks of developing breast and ovarian cancer.
Breastfeeding and diabetes prevention was an unknown subject until very recently, but with the results of this study now published, medical practitioners have new tools and resources to support the efforts of expectant moms in feeding their babies naturally, providing an even wider list of benefits for both the baby and the mother.
Among the most important added benefits that come from breastfeeding, mothers that nurse for a period of 6 months or longer will see significantly lower risks of developing:
- Heart Disease
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Breast Cancer
- Ovarian Cancer
- Uterine Cancer
Breastfeeding and diabetes prevention is also an important issue that works for the benefit of the children as well. The study shows that breastfeeding a baby for a period of at least 6 months, neutralizes the risk of the child becoming obese or suffering from diabetes at ages of 6 to 13, which is a fear for those mother that develop gestational diabetes.
Aside from now knowing how does breastfeeding prevent diabetes due to the physiological changes, we also know that by breastfeeding, women release the oxytocin hormone, which not only helps the new mom feel better physically and emotionally, but it keeps stress disorders at bay, which can be a huge trigger for diabetes.
Now, what about moms who already have been diagnosed with diabetes and still want to enjoy the benefits of breastfeeding and – of course – be able to provide their babies with the best nutrition possible ?
There are some tips and tricks that you can follow during the nursing stage, in order to have a pleasant experience both for you and the baby:
- Try to schedule your nursing time and make sure you have a snack before (or during!) this breastfeeding space; that way you ensure your insulin levels maintain their balance
- Keep yourself hydrated, having plenty of fluids right before or during your nursing time allows your body to remain stable without compromising your health and the precious time you are sharing
- If you know you tend to get low sugar levels during the nursing time, keep a treat or candy next to you while you feed your baby, that way you can fix the issue without having to interrupt the baby’s feeding time
Above everything else, remember this is a wonderful time in your new life and make sure you can enjoy those little moments with your bundle of joy.