breastfeedingThe longer that mothers breastfeed, the less risk they have for heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular disease, according to a study published in the May issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

University of Pittsburgh researchers noted that the benefits from breastfeeding were long-term, and that women who breastfed for more than a month were 10% less likely to have a stroke, heart attack, or to develop heart disease than women who had never breastfed.

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women, so it’s vitally important for us to know what we can do to protect ourselves. We have known for years that breastfeeding is important for babies’ health; we now know that it is important for mothers’ health as well.” – Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, M.D., M.S., University of Pittsburgh

The findings in the study are based on 139,681 postmenopausal women that are enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative study of chronic disease, which was initiated in 1994. According to the research, postmenopausal women who breastfed for at least one month had lower rates of high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure, which are known to cause heart disease.

“The longer a mother nurses her baby, the better for both of them. Our study provides another good reason for workplace policies to encourage women to breastfeed their infants.” – Dr. Schwarz

More great news confirming the benefits of breastfeeding:

Breastfeeding Reduces Anxiety in Children – A new study from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm claims that children who were breastfed as infants are better able to cope with stress and have less anxiety.

Breastfeeding Cuts Asthma Risk for Babies – Breastfed children showed lower prevalence rates of asthma, rhinitis and eczema, and the effect of breast feeding was more evident in boys than girls. Asthma and wheeze were resolved significantly earlier in breastfed children than those who were not breastfed.

Image: ODHD at Flickr under Creative Commons

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