Natural Family Planning: Breastfeeding Research published in Jan., Feb. and Mar. 2018

Atopic eczema
Prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding may reduce the risk of atopic eczema in adolescence. JAMA Pediatrics, online only, January 2, 2018.

Type 2 diabetes
A 30-year study concluded that moms who breastfed up to six months had a 25 percent lower chance of developing type 2 diabetes than those who didn’t nurse, and women who breastfed for six months or more reduced their risk of developing the disease by 47 percent. Moreover, researchers found that the most benefits came from nursing 12 months or longer when compared with those women who didn’t breastfeed at all.  “Lactation Duration and Progression to Diabetes in Women Across the Childbearing Years,” JAMA Internal Medicine, January 16, 2018.

Peanut sensitivity
This study investigated the relationship between maternal peanut consumption while breast-feeding, timing of direct peanut introduction, and peanut sensitization at age 7 years. The lowest incidence of peanut sensitization (1.7%) was observed among children whose mothers consumed peanuts while breast-feeding and directly introduced peanuts before 12 months. “Reduced risk of peanut sensitization following exposure through breastfeeding and early peanut introduction,” The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, February 2018.

Heart disease
Women who breastfed for six months or more had higher levels of HDL (aka the good cholesterol), lower triglycerides as well as a healthier carotid artery thickness versus the women who had never breastfed.  Breastfeeding might reduce mom’s risk for heart disease later in life. American College of Cardiology’s 67th Annual Scientific Session, March 2018.

Infant mortality
Not breastfeeding according to recommendation in Indonesia is estimated to contribute to 5377 preventable infant deaths due to diarrhea and pneumonia/respiratory disease  per year.  The recommendation in Indonesia consists of early initiation of breastfeeding (within the first hour of birth), exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, and continued age appropriate breastfeeding at two years (accompanied by iron-rich complementary foods).  “The annual cost of not breastfeeding in Indonesia: the economic burden of treating diarrhea and respiratory disease among children (< 24mo) due to not breastfeeding according to recommendation,” International Breastfeeding Journal, March 2, 2018.

Mortality prevention
Breastfeeding could prevent 823,000 annual deaths in children under 5 years and 20,000 annual deaths from breast cancer among other well documented benefits.  World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, International Women’s Day, March 8, 2018.

Overweight infants
The risk of becoming overweight or obese decreased significantly if high-birthweight infants were exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life.  The Endocrine Society, 100th annual meeting, Chicago,  “Breastfeeding may protect high-birthweight infants from childhood obesity.” March 18, 2018.



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