Breastfeeding Research: May, June and July 2017

Breastfeeding reduces the risk of endometrial or uterine cancer. Obstetrics & Gynecology, June 2017.

Breastfeeding more than 6 months reduced the risk of childhood obesity. Childhood Obesity, June 2017.

Mothers who breastfed had a 9 percent lower risk of heart disease and an 8 percent lower risk of stroke, compared to mothers who did not breastfeed. Mothers who breastfed for two years or more had an 18 percent lower risk of heart disease and 17 percent lower risk of stroke, than those who never breastfed. Journal of the American Heart Association, June 21, 2017.

A study sought to find the role of breast milk and breastfeeding in establishing infant gut microbial communities, and it found that breast milk contributes 27.7% and breastfeeding an additional 10.4% (from the areolar skin) of the bacteria to the infant gut in the first 30 days of life. Breastfeeding was found to suppress bacteria associated with obesity and to increase bacteria associated with a lower incidence of asthma. The recommendation was that mothers should exclusively breastfeed for 6 months and continue to breastfeed for at least 12 months.
JAMA Pediatrics, July 2017.

Women who had breastfed a cumulative period of 15 months or longer, either following one pregnancy or across several pregnancies, had the lowest risk of developing multiple sclerosis. Women with MS who breastfeed exclusively are at lower risk of postpartum relapses. Neurology, July 12, 2017.

In Japanese women with gestational diabetes, high-intensity breastfeeding for at least 6 months and more had a protective effect against the development of abnormal glucose tolerance during the first year postpartum through improving insulin resistance, independent of obesity and postpartum weight change. International Breastfeeding Journal, July 14, 2017.

Fatty acids consumed during breastfeeding may provide babies protection against type 1 diabetes-associated autoimmunity. Diabetologia, July 2017.

More than 5 million newborns in Nigeria are deprived of essential nutrients and antibodies against diseases and death because they are not being exclusively breastfed. Research shows that an exclusively breastfed child in Nigeria is 14 times less likely to die in the first six months than a non-breastfed child and that breastfeeding drastically reduces deaths from acute respiratory infection and diarrhea, two major child-killer diseases. Babies who are fed nothing but breast milk from the moment they are born until they are six months old develop better. Breast milk gives a child a head start in life and a chance to fight child malnutrition later in life. UNICEF, July 30, 2917.

Sheila Kippley

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