Bone loss due to breastfeeding – Truth or myth?

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Breastfeeding bone loss is a common concern for nursing mums. Studies conducted suggest certain exercises compensate for bone loss. Find out more...

Many nursing mums are concerned with breastfeeding bone loss and osteoporosis. While definitely a cause for worry, research has been largely inconclusive on whether breastfeeding bone loss is true or not. In fact there have been some research that indicates that breastfeeding for over 8 months might lead to greater bone density in mums, and not less. Other research suggests that mums who breastfeed, irrespective of time actually have increased bone density by the end of 18 months.

In any case bone density loss due to breastfeeding tends to be temporary. Several studies have shown that if a woman does experience bone loss during breastfeeding, they recover full bone density between six to 12 months after weaning.

If you are worried about bone loss during breastfeeding, a study conducted by a team from the American College of Sports Medicine, discovered that mothers transfer a minimum of 200 mg of their own calcium supply to their breast milk.

The researchers also found that  engaging in aerobic and resistance exercises helped to compensate for bone loss caused by calcium depletion during breastfeeding.

So if you are a breastfeeding mama, do engage in  exercise routines if you are worried about bone loss and osteoporosis.  In the absence of any complications in mother or child, there seems to be no reason to forego exercise while nursing. Infact a 1994 review found that women who exercised for an average of 88 minutes per day experienced some remarkable benefits compared to their sedentary peers:

They produced more milk.
They had more energy.
They had a higher aerobic capacity.
They had a higher milk energy output.
lack of any hormone-related problems

A win-win all around!

Worried about breastfeeding bone loss? 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.
Breastfeeding mums support group cover

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