Most of us are aware of the numerous health benefits of breastfeeding. The World Health Organisation (WHO) also recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of your child’s life.
Your breast milk provides the best nutrition for babies. It has the right amount of nutrients that can easily be digested and is readily available.
According to a new study, breastfeeding has also been linked to lower blood pressure in toddlers.
It proves that women who breastfeed their babies set them up for better cardiovascular health in the future. If you are wondering how can breastfeeding lower blood pressure in toddlers, here’s what the study has to say.
Can Breastfeeding Lower Blood Pressure?
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Previous studies had already found an association between breastfeeding and an improved heart rate in children as they grew up.
However, the amount of time that was required for a mother to breastfeed her child to see the results were not discussed.
The new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that when mums breastfed a small amount, which was just enough to get babies the colostrum, the researchers saw the benefits.
So much so that, when these babies reached three years of age, they had lower blood pressure in comparison to those who were never breastfed.
By providing just the colostrum, you are also setting your infant up for a healthy heart, says study
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When you start breastfeeding your baby, colostrum is the first milk that they receive. It is extremely important for all babies because it is high in nutrition, prevents low blood sugar, is rich in antibodies, and prevents any kind of inflammation.
Researchers used data from the Canadian CHILD Cohort study to determine the timeframe required to reap the cardiovascular benefits from breastfeeding. They reviewed both the medical and feeding records of almost 2,400 infants.
About 98 per cent of the babies in the study were breastfed. Out of them, four per cent were provided limited feedings in the hospital as the extent of their breastfeeding. Meanwhile, only two per cent in the study were not breastfed at all.
Of those babies who were breastfed, over 60 per cent were on breastmilk exclusively for three months. And nearly 80 per cent were breastfed for six months or longer.
The researchers found that those babies who were never breastfed, had a higher blood pressure reading, as they stepped into toddlerhood.
Can Breastfeeding Lower Blood Pressure: Results
- Researchers found that at the age of three years, children who were never breastfed had blood pressure measuring an average of 103/60 mm Hg. In comparison, those newborns who were given breastmilk had an average of 99/58 mm Hg.
- Those infants who received only limited early breastfeeding while in the hospital had blood pressure measuring an average of 99/57 mm Hg, when compared to those who were never breastfed and had an average of 103/60 mm Hg.
- The blood pressure among toddlers who were breastfed was lower regardless of their body mass index (BMI) at the age of three. The mother’s social, health, or lifestyle factors didn’t matter.
- The study concluded that blood pressure was also lower among those toddlers who were breastfed, regardless of how long. It didn’t matter if they received any other top-up nutrition and foods along with it.
The study thus, highlighted that it didn’t matter how long the babies were breastfed.
As long as they received small amounts of breastmilk as newborns, babies had lower blood pressure in comparison to those who were formula-fed.
Researchers concluded by pointing that there needs to be enough awareness of the impact of breastfeeding on the future cardiovascular health of the infant.
Healthcare providers should step in to spread education to all the new mums. By providing just the colostrum to their newborns, they are actually setting them up for a healthier heart.
What If You Can’t Breastfeed Or Have Low Milk Supply?
Having said this, do not stress if you are suffering from a low milk supply. Infant formula milk is a healthy alternative for your baby.
It provides your baby with the nutrients they need to grow and thrive. In fact, some mums also wonder if they will be able to bond with their babies since they are not breastfeeding.
But the truth is a loving mum will always find ways to bond and connect with her babies.
So don’t overthink it. Remember, your baby will grow up to be as beautiful and strong as others. The decision to breastfeed or to give formula milk is a personal choice and no one should be judged based on it.
If you decide to breastfeed, keep feeding hygiene in mind, especially now.
Stay safe and happy breastfeeding!
News Source: JAHA, Medical Xpress
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