BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Breastfeeding is a win-win situation for both the mother with gestational diabetes and the baby. The baby gets plenty of bonding time with the mommy, while the mommy’s risk for type 2 diabetes is significantly reduced.
Published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, the study it was found that women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) who breastfeed for at least two months post-delivery – as well as those who kept the good habit for a couple of more months – could cut in two their chances of developing type 2 diabetes within the next two years.
Senior author Dr. Erica Gunderson, a leading research scientist at Kaiser Permanente, said that both the duration and the frequency of breastfeeding have a unique impact on new mothers. Almost 12 percent of the women in the study developed type 2 diabetes within two years after giving birth.
Women who didn’t breastfeed at all and instead used formula to feed their infants from six to nine months turned out to have double the risk of getting diabetes when compared with those who exclusively breastfed. Five to 9 percent of all pregnant women in the U.S. experience GDM – high blood glucose – which is approximately 250,000 mothers every year.
More than 1,000 Northern Californian Kaiser Permanente members were enrolled for the study from 2008 to 2011; all participants had gestational diabetes. Approximately 75 percent of the women were Hispanic, Asian, or black.
The connection between lowered risk for type 2 diabetes and breastfeeding ruled out prenatal metabolism, gestational weight gain, ethnicity, race, birth outcomes, and lifestyle. According to Dr. Gunderson, these findings underscored the importance of prioritizing breastfeeding education and support for GDM patients.
Pediatrician Dr. Lori Feldman-Winter chimed in, saying the study emphasizes the need to encourage breastfeed not just among high-risk populations, but for all mothers. At the same time, it delivers the message about the benefits brought by the exclusivity of breastfeeding. Formula should be used only when necessary, she said.
Even so, lactation issues can occur in GDM patients due to metabolic problems, which can raise the chance of giving in to the temptation of formula, but this study suggests solving this difficulty by getting the needed medical support is the right way to go.
Recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) suggest women should exclusively breastfeed for the first six months after giving birth, and follow up with complementary food feeding for a year.
Image Source: The Mom in Need