The benefits of breastfeeding for the mother

Lactation consultant Corky Harvey, IBCLC, shares advice on the numerous health benefits that breastfeeding has for mothers and the disease risks that breastfeeding helps to reduce
Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Mother
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The benefits of breastfeeding for the mother

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I think everybody today is aware that breastfeeding is pretty great for babies, but a lot of people don’t know that breastfeeding is also great for moms. More and more people are hearing that we do have a reduced risk of breast cancer, if we nurse our babies, particularly down the long road. So, the newest evidence is that for every year you breast feed, you reduce your breast cancer risk by 4.3% and for every baby, you have another reduction of 7%. There are other issues, but what I really like to share with you is the reduction of metabolic syndrome. What is metabolic syndrome? It’s actually defined as a precursor to type 2 or late onset diabetes. One theory about why the reduction of metabolic syndrome happens to breast-feeding women is called the reset theory. When we are pregnant we actually go through a period of metabolic syndrome, which is characterized by elevated cholesterol, some insulin resistance and increase in our visceral fat, which is the fat, not such good fat, that surrounds our internal organs. When we breastfeed, that is reset or reduced or changed. So if we don’t breastfeed, we build on that with the next pregnancy, but if breastfeed, those symptoms are reduced, and in late life women will not develop this metabolic syndrome as often and I have seen statistics of 50 to 80% reduction. The other theory is that, the oxytocin hormone that bathe our bodies every time we hold our babies, nurse our babies, because it’s the hormone released that causes us to let our milk down, it actually down-regulates stress on a consistent basis. It’s the opposite of cortisol and adrenaline hormones that stress us out. So having done that through many years of breastfeeding, may reset us for our whole life in our reaction to stress. Taking a nap with your baby, sleeping with your baby causes you to be calmer and more relaxed and interestingly, it might help you for the rest of your life.

Lactation consultant Corky Harvey, IBCLC, shares advice on the numerous health benefits that breastfeeding has for mothers and the disease risks that breastfeeding helps to reduce

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Corky Harvey, MS, RN, IBCLC

Certified Lactation Consultant

Corky Harvey is a co-founder of the Pump Station & Nurtury™ - the first new parent resource center of its kind. She is a registered nurse with a master's degree in maternal/newborn Nursing, and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She teaches breastfeeding and baby care classes, facilitates the New Mother Breastfeeding Support Groups, and is a frequent guest lecturer. Corky has three grown children who were breastfed and she loves to claim that their intelligence is linked to this. Corky has two grandsons, Diego who nursed over two years, and 18-month-old Axel who is still breastfeeding. 

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