In a study conducted by doctors at the University of Western Australia, breastfeeding was shown to have a significant impact on mothers’ rates of type 2 diabetes later in life.
Mothers who did not breastfeed had higher incidences of diabetes than childless women. But the study showed that as long as the mothers breastfed for at least 3 months per child, the risk was no higher than for a woman who had never given birth. Compared with other mothers, the breastfeeding women reduced their risk of developing diabetes by 14% for each year they nursed their children.
One of the researchers, Dr. Bette Liu, said that, while it is not understood exactly how breastfeeding protects mothers from developing diabetes, it is now clear that the health benefits extend to mothers as well as to babies.