Nearly half is the risk of developing type 2 diabetes for women who have breastfed their baby for one half or more than those who did not breast feed, according to a new American study.
Researchers, led by Dr. Erica Gunterson of the Kaiser Permanente Research and Medical Center, California, who published the publication in the American medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine, analyzed data for 1,238 women aged 18 to 30 years of age, followed for up to 30 years, and who were occasionally screened for diabetes diagnosis.
It was found that the longer the time a woman had breastfed her baby (or her babies), the lower the risk of diabetes later on in her life. The reason for this association is still unclear, but it probably has to do with protective hormonal changes that breastfeeding brings to the mother’s pancreatic cells, which control insulin production and hence blood sugar levels.
Women who had suckled for six months or more (in all their births) had an average of 47% less chance of diabetes than those who had not breastfed in the past. Those who had been breastfeeding for less than six months had a 25% lower risk of diabetes.
The new study adds to previous findings, showing that breastfeeding benefits both the mother and the child, among others by reducing the risk for breast and ovarian cancers in women.