We know that breastfeeding has all kinds of benefits for babies, but new research suggests it can also help keep mums in optimal health too.
“Breastfeeding is not only good for babies,” Science Daily reports, “there is growing evidence it may also reduce the risk for stroke in post-menopausal women.“
Stroke is more likely to affect women than men, so taking preventative action is a brilliant idea. In Australia stroke kills more women than breast cancer. It’s one of the most common causes of death across the board, with a stroke occurring every nine minutes.
Stroke is also one of the most likely conditions to cause a disability.
Read more about breastfeeding:
- How breastfeeding differs around the world
- Mum donates 2.5 litres of breastmilk a day to babies who need it
- Police officer breastfeeds malnourished baby and warms internet’s heart
Breastfeeding makes a big difference
Researchers analysed data on 80 191 women and found that the risk of stroke among women who breastfed their babies was on average:
- 23 percent lower across all breastfeeding women
- 48 percent lower in black women who breastfed
- 32 percent lower in Hispanic women who breastfed
- 21 percent lower in white women who breastfed, and
- 19 percent lower in women who had breastfed for up to six months.
The longer a woman breastfed for, the lower her risk of stroke became.
“Please consider breastfeeding”
Researchers say that if women are able to breastfeed they should do so for at least the first six months of their baby’s life, and also continue to maintain as healthy a lifestyle as possible.
“Breastfeeding is only one of many factors that could potentially protect against stroke. Others include getting adequate exercise, choosing healthy foods, not smoking and seeking treatment if needed to keep your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar in the normal range,” study lead author Dr Lisette T Jacobson of the University of Kansas School of Medicine said.
“If you are pregnant, please consider breastfeeding as part of your birthing plan and continue to breastfeed for at least six months to receive the optimal benefits for you and your infant.”