One reason breastfeeding is recommended for every mother, is that it helps to take away some of the calories or weight gained during pregnancy. Researchers at Laval University in Quebec, Canada, investigated whether breast-feeding could have any effect on mothers who had been diagnosed with Gestational diabetes or diabetes of pregnancy.
Their study, reported on in the European Journal of Endocrinology in January 2013, included 144 women who had Gestational diabetes during their pregnancy. Women who breastfed their baby had:
- lower blood sugar levels,
- lower blood insulin levels, and
- higher insulin sensitivity
than those who did not. Those who breastfed for 10 months or more, had better blood sugar control than those who breastfed for less than 10 months.
From this information, it was concluded breastfeeding for longer time periods was associated with lower blood sugar levels and a lowered resistance to insulin.
Other studies have linked breastfeeding to a lowered risk of obesity and Type 2 diabetes in mothers, as well as a lowered risk for postpartum depression, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer in women.
Breast milk contains antibodies to help protect babies against respiratory and digestive system infections, and it contains the right type of protein for babies. Children who have been breastfed have a lower incidence of asthma, and at least some studies show higher grades among school children who were breastfed when infants.
Breastfeeding is also a healthy way for mothers and babies to bond naturally. During an emergency, breastfeeding can be life-saving when cow's milk is unavailable, when the water supply is contaminated, or when warm mother's milk is the only way for mother to keep her baby warm.
Breastfeeding classes and lactation consultants are available to teach about breastfeeding before, and after the baby arrives. Mothers who have instruction are more likely to be successful.
Doctors often continue to prescribe prenatal vitamins for women who breastfeed, to make sure both baby and mother do not suffer deficiencies. Eating dark green, leafy vegetables is another way to get the calcium needed to build baby's bones. If enough calcium is taken in through diet, the mother's body will not need to take calcium out of her bones to feed her baby.
Vitamin D helps our body to absorb and use calcium, and the skin makes vitamin D when it is exposed to sun. Taking your baby for a walk in the baby-buggy will help both mother and baby to make enough vitamin D.