Breastfeeding Research: October 2017

The infant brain undergoes rapid development in the first year of life, and this development is strongly influenced by nutritional factors. Another important effect of maternal milk feeding is to extend the period of maternal care. An infant’s brain development is also influenced by mother–infant interactions. Breastfeeding mothers spend more time engaged in the infant’s emotional care than mothers who feed their infants with formula. Also it appears that preterm infants benefit in their neurodevelopment from maternal milk feeding but not from donor milk. In both full-term and preterm populations, evidence is compelling that breastfeeding or maternal milk feeding benefits child neurodevelopment. Breastfeeding Medicine, October 1, 2017.

A review of thirteen studies has found strong evidence to suggest that a woman’s breast cancer risk is reduced if she breastfeeds her children. For every 5 months of breast-feeding duration, there is a 2 percent lower risk of breast cancer. Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Breast Cancer, October 4, 2017.

Breastfeeding reduced a woman’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) by 14 per cent, and the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease was about 34 per cent lower. The longer a woman breastfed, the lower their risk. A woman who breastfed for 12 to 24 months had a 16 per cent lower risk of developing CVD. Sax Institute’s 45 and Up Study forum, Sydney, October 24, 2017.

Breastfeeding may help you bond more closely with your baby, with the effects persisting up until at least the age of 11. Journal of Developmental Psychology, online October 30, 2017.

The Obesity Society (TOS) stated that women should be encouraged and supported to exclusively breastfeed for approximately the first six months of an infant’s life with continued breastfeeding through the infant’s first year and beyond as age-appropriate complementary foods are introduced and as mutually desired by the mother and child. Women who breastfed are observed to have lower risks of visceral adiposity, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, and subclinical cardiovascular disease, as well as cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, perhaps through mechanisms independent of any effect on adiposity. As compared to infants never breastfed, breastfed infants have a 12 to 24% reduction in the future risk of overweight/obesity. The Obesity Society Position Statement : Breastfeeding and Obesity, October 31, 2017.

Sheila Kippley

Comments are closed.