Breastfeeding Can Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Women who breastfeed for at least six months could be less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, according to a major study that was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Perks of breastfeeding

It has been found that this time spent breastfeeding was linked to a 47% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes compared to those who opted for bottle feeding over breastfeeding.

Research has found that breastfeeding increases insulin sensitivity and improves glucose metabolism in the mother. The findings support previous studies which have also suggested that breastfeeding offers substantial health benefits for both the mother and baby.

The study did not rely on the participants self-reporting their health, but participants were instead screened regularly before and after their pregnancies to ensure accurate readings. Participants were asked to report on their lifestyle habits, as well as their choices when it came to breastfeeding.


How long to breastfeed

How long women breastfed also affected their chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Breastfeeding for longer than 2 months lowered the risk of type 2 diabetes by almost one half. Breastfeeding beyond 5 months lowered the risk by more than one half. Breastfeeding for less than six months was associated with a lower risk by a quarter.

It is thought in the UK that more than 73% of mothers choose to breastfeed, while 77% of new mothers in the US choose to breastfeed. Breastfeeding is thought to protect children from things such as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), obesity, and also type 2 diabetes later in life.

However, breastfeeding is a personal choice for each woman, as she may encounter problems such as cracked or sore nipples, engorged breasts or latching problems. It is important for expectant women or new mothers to speak to their midwife or doctor to get as much information as they can a when trying to make an informed decision about how they plan to feed their baby.