Let’s hear it for the girls! 

I love breastfeeding.  We always knew it was good for your heart to snuggle and be close to your baby (awwwww.)  But now science supports it as well.  I know breast feeding doesn’t make the breasts look prettier long term (in the short term it can do wonders though).  I know as a plastic surgeon many of you think we only care about how pretty your breasts are.  And I do care what they look like, but the breasts have a purpose other than looking good in a bikini.

A new study came out in Diabetes  (and was presented by Gunderson’s team on June 6 in New Orleans at the American Diabetes Association’s 69th annual Scientific Sessions meeting).  It was a long term prospective study of 1400 patients.  In it, they looked at the benefit to mom (not babe) of breastfeeding, specifically looking at the “metabolic syndrome” of risk factors which cluster and increase your heart risk.

What increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes?

  • Abdominal obesity (the apple body shape, not pear, especially when the fat is “intraabdominal” behind your belly muscles)
  • high blood pressure
  • cholesterol (low HDL the good one, and high LDL, the bad one)
  • high triglycerides
  •  insulin resistance
  • inflammatory markers
  • a tendency to clot.

 

They found of these 1400 women, 50% had kids.  They followed them at 7, 10, 15, and 20  years. They found the risk of the “metabolic syndrome” was reduced in women who breastfed.  This risk was reduced further the longer you breastfed.  For those who breastfed over 9 months, the risk went down 56% in those with no gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant, a marker for those at risk for diabetes later in life) and 86% for those with gestational diabetes.

Yay.

They don’t know why. ? Does it increase your good HDL cholesterol?  Lower the abdominal body fat? Or help with the metabolism of blood sugar and lower your insulin levels?  We don’t know. But it was nice to see these results.

So let’s hear it for the girls.

Don’t worry- if they look bad when you are done, I can help you. But a healthy heart- that looks good on everyone.