We know that breastfeeding offers a variety of health benefits both to newborn babies and their mothers. After all breast milk contains the perfect mix of vitamins, proteins and fats to help your baby grow and is easier to digest than formula. It can also help to boost your baby’s immune system and help him or her fight of illnesses. These are just some of the benefits to your baby. The benefits to the mother include lowering your risk of developing ovarian and breast cancer, to mention just a few. However, a report recently published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease suggests that there may be a link between the duration of time in which a woman breastfeeds and her risk for developing Alzheimer’s Disease.
The study was conducted on a very small sample size: 81 women in Britain and was meant only to be a pilot. However, the researchers found such a strong and consistent correlation between breastfeeding and the risk for Alzheimer’s disease, the results are hard to ignore. It is thought that this correlation is due to certain biological effects of breastfeeding including restoring insulin resistance which is decreased during pregnancy. Clearly, more research is needed on this important topic. Researchers hope that this study will stimulate more research on the relationship between female reproductive history and disease risk.
Choosing whether or not to breastfeed your baby is a very personal decision. If you have questions about breastfeeding and the benefits to your health and the health of your newborn baby, talk to your OB/GYN or Obstetrician today.