HealthDay News — Breastfeeding for 2 months or more may reduce the odds of developing type 2 diabetes for mothers who had already experienced gestational diabetes in the past; and the longer a woman breastfeeds, the lower the odds of type 2 diabetes, according to research published online Nov. 24 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Erica Gunderson, PhD, MPH, a senior research scientist with Kaiser Permanente Northern California, and colleagues followed 959 women 2 years after they had gestational diabetes during pregnancy and gave birth. During this time, 12% of them developed type 2 diabetes.

Mothers who exclusively breastfed their babies had a 54% lower risk of developing diabetes compared to mothers who only used formula. Women who fed their babies a mixture of formula and breast milk or even mostly used formula reduced the odds of type 2 diabetes by more than a third compared to formula-feeding alone. Breastfeeding for more than 10 months was linked to the mother’s reduced risk of diabetes by 57% compared to breastfeeding 2 months or less. Mothers who breastfed their babies somewhere between 2 and 10 months had about half the risk of developing diabetes compared to those who breastfed less than 2 months.


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“The main policy implication is that we need to focus our breastfeeding promotion efforts to high-risk women, those who are obese or have a pregnancy with gestational diabetes,” Gunderson told HealthDay.

Reference

  1. Gunderson EP, Hurston SR, Ning X, et al. Lactation and progression to type 2 diabetes mellitus after gestational diabetes mellitus: a prospective cohort study. Ann Intern Med. 2015; doi: 10.7326/M15-0807