Last week, the American Diabetes Association released some new findings stating that “intensive and extended breastfeeding lowered a woman’s risk for developing type 2 diabetes after pregnancy in which she had gestational diabetes.”
There’s so much to unpack in those findings! My first questions were: what defines intensive breastfeeding? What defines extended breastfeeding?
In this research, intensive breastfeeding seems to mean just that babies were exclusively breastfed (or receiving no more than 6 ounces of formula per day). For this study, extended breastfeeding meant 14 months or longer.
By the time the study babies were 2 years old, the moms practicing extended, intensive breastfeeding were about 60% less likely to contract Type II Diabetes. That’s pretty significant!
Also of note: this research is showing that the act of breastfeeding is offering this protection for the nursing mother. In addition to all the wonderful benefits baby receives, this is a new bonus for moms who breastfeed!
The women in the study did not have diabetes prior to pregnancy, nor had they developed it up to 9 weeks postpartum. There were differences in results depending on how long the mothers breastfed, too.
The women that breastfed for 2 months to 6 months reduced their risk by 30%; those that did so for 6 to 14 months reduced their risk by 42%; and those that breastfed for more than 14 months reduced their risk by 58%.
Did you have gestational diabetes and go on to nurse your baby? Leave us a comment to share your experience.