a reduced risk for infections, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, some cancers and childhood overweight and obesity.
In mothers, breastfeeding helps return to pre-pregnancy weight and decrease postpartum blood loss and menstrual blood loss. Breastfeeding has also been associated with a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer in mothers, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The new study began 30 years ago when researchers recruited young women, then 18 to 30 years old, for a study on heart disease. During that study, researchers also gathered information on pregnancy and breastfeeding. They also tested the women every five years for diabetes.
That produced information on more than 1,200 women for the new study. Half were black, and half were white. All had at least one live birth.
The researchers adjusted the data to account for other factors that could affect a woman’s risk for type 2 diabetes. These included income, education, weight, diet quality, physical activity, medication use and other health conditions.
By the end of the 30-year study, 182 of the women had developed type 2 diabetes.
Women who breastfed for 6 to 12 months had a 48 percent lower risk for type 2 diabetes than women who never breastfed, the findings showed.
The protective effect of breastfeeding didn’t