Breastfeeding your baby may lower his or her risk of heart disease in later life.
That’s the conclusion of US researchers, who’ve found that adults who were breastfed for at least 3 months as a baby had significantly lower levels of a protein called CRP that’s linked to cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.
In fact, say the researchers, who studied 7000 adults over a 15-year period, breastfeeding seems to have the same or even a greater effect as drug therapies that are currently used to reduce elevated CRP levels in young adults.
Current Department of Health guidelines recommend exclusive breastfeeding up to the age of 6 months, and continued breastfeeding until at least 1 year. But, although more than 8 in 10 mothers start breastfeeding, only 1 in 4 is still breastfeeding at 6 weeks.
“I hope our study will draw attention to breastfeeding as an important social policy issue,” says lead researcher Thomas McDade of Northwestern University, Illinois, “and help more women to breastfeed their babies for longer.
“That said,” he add, “we don’t want to do anything that places more blame on mothers or a higher level of responsibility. Women shouldn’t feel guilty if they decide not to, or can’t, breastfeed.”
- Breastfeeding: the honest reality?
- Halle Berry: breastfeeding is ‘the quickest way to shed weight’
- Mum who couldn’t breastfeed own children sets breastmilk-pumping record
MadeForMums Writer – Jessica Gibb