Breastfeeding good for mum's heart
New study finds that postmenopausal women, who had breastfed for at least 1 month had lower blood pressure, better cholesterol and less frequent diabetes.
We've read a few articles on the benefits of breast feeding to your baby, but how would it benefit mothers? A study suggests that breastfeeding is vital for mummies health as well, especially when it comes to her heart health.
In Singapore, heart disease is one of the leading causes of death for women. There are three categories of women who are particularly vulnerable to heart diseases - menopausal women, women on oral contraceptives, and pregnant women. During pregnancy, mums might start carrying mild to severe symptoms of a heart condition - a weakness of the heart muscle that might begin in the final month of pregnancy and lasts for about 6 months. It can also occur right after delivery
A lot of women don't know that heart disease can sometimes go undetected, slowly developing throughout the years. Many experts say that a few ways to prevent or reduce the risk of heart disease - reducing your stress levels, reducing your cholesterol intake and for those that do, to quit smoking.
However, a Norwegian study suggests that women who breastfeed are at lower risk of developing heart problems and diseases later in life. The study found that out of 139,681 postmenopausal women, those who had experience breastfeeding for at least one month had better cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. It also suggests that long term breastfeeding lowers cardiovascular risk by 10 percent
How breastfeeding helps
During your pregnancy, your heart will have to work harder to support both mother and child. This increases the risk for heart diseases as fats starts developing in your blood to provide nutrition for your baby. The lactation that happens toward the end of your pregnancy and the subsequent expressing of milk that needs to occur helps to lessen the fats in the blood, preventing clogged arteries. As breastfeeding lowers cardiovascular risk that might occur later in life, it also helps your arteries sustain their health.
It burns more calories
Breastfeeding can help mums burn an extra 200-500 calories per day, which in turn helps them get the post-baby body back a lot faster as it stabilises your metabolism, blood fats and pressure.
It lowers your stress levels
It's always stressful with a new baby in the house. Good news is, the act of breastfeeding helps to lessen stress for both mummy and baby. While you nurse, your body will produce a 'bonding' hormone that gives you a sense of relaxation and euphoria to your brain.
With prolonged breastfeeding, your stress levels will continue regulate and lower the overall the risk of heart diseases later on in life beyond your 60's.
Need Help? Don't fret!
When in doubt, please refer to a lactation consultant, who can offer you more personalised advice according to you and your baby's situation.
theAsianparent also has a Singapore Breastfeeding Mums Support Group that you can join for mum-to-mum advice.