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Breastfeeding reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes

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Breastfeeding is a natural and the most effective way to feed and nurture a baby. If these are not good enough, mothers who breastfeed their babies now have another reason to continue doing so. It seems like, longer periods of breastfeeding are associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Women who develop pregnancy diabetes, are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes again after delivery if they breastfeed their babies according to a new US study published in the Diabetes Journal of American Diabetes Association.

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Pregnancy/Gestational diabetes is a condition in which a pregnant woman without any previous diabetes history, start developing high blood sugar levels. Gestational diabetes generally has very few symptoms. However, it does increase the risk of pre-eclampsia, depression, and requiring a Caesarean section. It is a temporary condition and usually disappears after giving birth.

For the study researchers monitored about 1,000 women with pregnancy diabetes, to see whether they develop type 2 diabetes, within two years of giving birth. The study found that the risk of type 2 diabetes compared with women who didn’t breastfeed at all –

  •     Those who were exclusively breastfeeding were 54 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
  •     Women who fed infants mostly breast milk were 46 percent less likely to develop diabetes
  •     Those, whose babies had a combination of formula and breast milk were 36 percent less likely to develop diabetes.

Lead study author Erica Gunderson suggested that both breastfeeding and pumping milk to feed babies in bottles may be protective against the risk of type 2 diabetes.

The findings support previous studies which have also suggested that breastfeeding offers substantial health benefits not only for the baby but also for the mother. We already knew that breastfeeding help control insulin and blood sugar levels, while also helping new mums lose excess pregnancy weight.

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