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Breastfeeding and Diabetes

New research suggests yet more potential benefits for moms who breastfeed, which is a lower risk of developing type two diabetes.

The study release on the Annals of Internal Medicine found that breastfeeding for more than two months was linked to over 50 percent reduction in the odds of developing type two diabetes. This is for mothers who had already experienced gestational diabetes in the past.

This study didn’t necessarily show that breastfeeding caused a lower risk of type two diabetes, it only found the association between the factors. Still, the research is important and promotion of breastfeeding (especially for high-risk women) is where the care community will most likely focus.

The research itself followed over 900 women with gestational diabetes for two years following the births of their babies, and during this time 12 percent of them developed type two diabetes.

There were five categories of how the women fed their babies. Moms who exclusively breastfed their babies had a 54 percent lower risk of developing type two diabetes compared to moms who only used formula.

Breastfeeding has positive effects on the health of infants as well as their mothers and seems to be making its way into the limelight again. Many research studies continue to surface promoting the benefits of breastfeeding, including the one mentioned above.

Moms have every right to choose what is best for them and their baby. If that is breastfeeding then great, if it is formula feeding, that is fine too. Mothers should be empowered in their decisions, as a healthcare organization it’s our job to show patients the information that’s out there so they can make an informed decision.

For more information on the study you can click our Annals of Internal Medicine link.

For information about breastfeeding follow our link from the American Academy of Pediatrics.


Amber Brown Keebler, M.D. is a board certified pediatrician with Northwest Health Services and occasionally writes blogs for the organization.

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