Women who breastfeed for one year are 10% less likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or develop cardiovascular disease, compared to women who never breastfeed, a new study has found.
Even women who breastfeed for at least one month have lower rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, the US study found.
“Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death for women, so it’s vitally important for us to know what we can do to protect ourselves,” the study researchers from the University of Pittsburgh said.
“We have known for years that breastfeeding is important for babies' health; we now know that it is important for mothers' health as well.”
The study, which looked at chronic disease, involved almost 140,000 women.
“Our study provides another good reason for workplace policies to encourage women to breastfeed their infants,” the researchers concluded.
Ireland has relatively low breastfeeding rates, with only around 50% of women breastfeeding when they leave hospital, compared to 78% of women in the UK and 99% of women in Norway.
The study was published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.
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