Breastfeeding For At Least 6 Months Provides Protection Against Heart Disease

No one can argue about the scientific findings that breastfeeding is always the best.

Breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin which makes the uterus return to its original size. Because of this, nursing mom bounces back faster and more easily from childbirth as well as don’t bleed as much after giving birth.

Furthermore, study shows that nursing moms are more protected from Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and at lower risk of developing ovarian and breast cancer. Aside from these, breastfeeding can also lead to a better birth spacing because it delays the return of menstrual period.

Here’s good news for those nursing moms who breastfeed for at least six months after pregnancy.

In a new study from American College of Cardiology, researchers said that nursing moms with normal blood pressure during pregnancy showed better cardiovascular health than those who didn’t breastfeed.

While other researchers focused on the short-term benefits of breastfeeding, this study links breastfeeding among younger and middle-aged women about 10 years after giving birth.

According to Dr. Malamo Countouris, the lead author of the study, this research provides another proof of evidence on how lactation can benefit both the baby and mother as nursing moms show more improved cholesterol and heart health.

Between 1998 and 2004, the researchers recruited 678 pregnant women from over 52 clinics across Michigan. Seven to 15 years after, participants joined a follow-up health assessment and reported the length of time they breastfeed after pregnancy. Researchers measured their cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and their carotid arteries width and diameter. These markers show the risk of heart disease among those who have not developed its symptoms.

Findings of the study revealed that nursing women were older, with lower body mass index, and were better off financially. Moreover, nursing moms whose blood pressures were at a normal level and breastfeed for at least 6 months have more good cholesterol, lesser fat or triglycerides and have just right carotid thickness.

Breastfeeding 101

For those first-time moms out there, learning how to breastfeed is no walk in the park. You may need an older mom or a nurse to help you in positioning your baby as your nipple may slip from your baby’s mouth, and he’ll start crying. You may use breastfeeding pillows, blankets, or towels that are carefully folded for you and your baby to feel more comfortable.

There are three ways of holding your newborn:

  1. The Lying-Down Hold – Put the baby to your left side in bed. His mouth must be at the same height or a little lower than your nipples. Using your free hand, bring the baby’s mouth toward your nipple closest to the bed and circle an arm around him.
  2. The Football Hold – Position your baby beside you, face up, and lengthwise. Put him along with your arm and guide his head to your nipple. This might prove uncomfortable for women who gave birth by C-section.
  3. The Cradle Hold – Put the baby across your tummy. Use one hand to support his head, and the other to prop his bottom.

Especially weeks after he is born, your baby needs at least seven to eight feed every 24 hours. Enjoy breastfeeding. It is both a responsibility and a pleasure. This will make your baby grow, go, and glow.