There has been a plethora of studies published documenting the long-term benefits of breastfeeding for babies, and a new piece of research is shining the spotlight on the advantages for mums.
According to a new study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, breastfeeding can help to boost our heart health later in life.
As part of the study, a team of researchers from Britain and China analysed data from more than 289,000 Chinese women. They studied stats and information regarding their reproductive health and lifestyle, and took note of whether they had breastfed or not.
By the end of the study, the research team had recorded 16,671 cases of heart disease, and 23,983 cases of stroke among their subjects.
When they compared their results, they found that those women who breastfed were nine per cent less likely to suffer from heart disease, and eight per cent less likely to endure a stroke.
The health prospects were boosted by the length of time spent breastfeeding, too. Indeed, the researchers associated a four per cent lower risk of heart disease with every extra six months spent breastfeeding, and a three per cent equivalent for stroke.
Commenting on the research results, lead author Lori Blauwet said that her team will have to investigate further.
“This is really a call for us to do further research in this area, to see if there really are long-term beneficial effects,” she said.
“But this shouldn’t be taken as mothers who don’t breastfeed are hurting themselves. For a lot of women, there are reasons why they cannot breastfeed.”
We are so glad that Blauwet thought to contextualise the results of the study. There are so many mothers out there who simply cannot breastfeed and, at the end of the day, fed is best.
The latest research comes just weeks after experts in the UK called for new mothers to be offered better support with breastfeeding.
Speaking at an event in Scotland recently, Dundee University Professor Mary Renfrew said: “We know breastfeeding can be hard for women to do.
“A new way of enabling breastfeeding is needed – one that tackles the societal barriers that individual women cannot tackle alone and creates a shift in the prevailing culture and attitudes to breastfeeding.”
What are your thoughts, mums? Be sure to let us know in the comment section.