Experts believe pregnancy and breastfeeding “resets” a woman’s metabolism and can be beneficial to their health
BREASTFEEDING slashes a woman’s risk of heart disease and stroke by 10 per cent, a study reveals.
Previous research has shown giving tots the boob cuts a mum’s chance of breast cancer, as well as aiding weight loss.
Now an Oxford University has found it is also good for a mother’s ticker.
It also shows the longer a woman breastfeeds her child, the greater the protection against future heart problems.
Experts believe pregnancy and breastfeeding “resets” a woman’s metabolism.
And feeding a child naturally may also help mums burn off more body fat.
They said the findings should encourage more mums to avoid bottle feeding not just for their baby’s health, but for their own.
Researchers followed 290,000 Chinese women for eight years.
Those who breastfed had a nine per cent lower risk of heart disease and an eight percent lower risk of stroke, compared to those who hadn’t.
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And women who kept their tots on the boob for two years or more saw their chances of heart disease drop by 18 per cent and stroke by 17 per cent.
NHS guidance says new mums should breastfeed for six months.
But fewer than half of new mothers are doing so two months after their baby is born in the UK.
Almost three-quarters of women give their newborns the boob immediately after delivery.
But this fall to 44 per cent by the time their tots reached eight weeks old.
THE BENEFITS OF BREASTFEEDING
The NHS recommends babies should be breastfed for the first six months of their life.
In the UK, more than 73 per cent of mums opt to breastfeed their baby.
It is thought that even a small amount of breast milk has a positive effect on the baby’s health.
The longer a mother breastfeeds, the longer this protection lasts and the greater the benefits.
There are many health benefits to breastfeeding a baby, according to the NHS.
It is thought to reduce a baby’s risk of:
- diarrhoea and vomiting
- sudden infant death syndrome
- childhood leukaemia
- type 2 diabetes
- heart disease in adulthood
Breastfeeding is also thought to help protect mum against breast cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease and obesity.
Source: NHS Choices
Researcher Dr Sanne Peters, from the University of Oxford, said: “The health benefits to the mother from breastfeeding may be explained by a faster “reset” of the mother’s metabolism after pregnancy.
“Pregnancy changes a woman’s metabolism dramatically as she stores fat to provide the energy necessary for her baby’s growth and for breastfeeding once the baby is born.
“Breastfeeding could eliminate the stored fat faster and more completely.”
The study is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Experts said mums that opt to breastfeed may also be more health conscious and lead better lifestyles.
Researcher Dr Zhengming Chen said: “The findings should encourage more widespread breastfeeding for the benefit of the mother as well as the child.
“The study provides support for the World Health Organization’s recommendation that mothers should breastfeed their babies exclusively for their first six months of life.”
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