New Study: Lower Risk for Obesity by Breastfeeding at Least 6 Months

breastfeeding mother

If you were to judge the effect of childbirth on a woman’s body solely by the celebrities featured in magazines and on television, you would likely believe that six weeks is all it takes to go from a full term pregnancy with a healthy baby to skinny jeans and bikinis. The truth of the matter is that not all women have the youth, the money, and the resources to make that sort of transition happen, whether in six weeks or six months.

It takes a long time to gain the weight necessary to carry a baby, and it usually takes a long time for that weight to come back off, even if you are following a healthy diet and exercise plan. The older or the more out of shape you are to begin with, the more challenging the loss is going to be.

The benefits of breastfeeding are often discussed as it relates to the newborn. What is not as often the focus are the benefits to the mother. There are many benefits, but a newly released study focuses on one in particular. The study finds that “[c]hildbearing is linked with an increased risk of obesity, but breast-feeding cuts that risk by about 1 percent for every six months of nursing.”

So, for each child you carry and deliver your chances of obesity – for the rest of your life – increase. When the researchers considered the 740,000 women who participated in the study, they found that “[a]mong those who had no children, average BMI was 25.6 — slightly overweight. For women with four or more deliveries, average BMI was 27.2.”

So what can you do to return to a healthy weight after pregnancy? Of course, as is the case any time you want to lose weight, following a healthy diet and exercising regularly are the best steps to take. But this study shows that breastfeeding – especially extended breastfeeding – is beneficial in ways that are worth considering.

If you are or were a nursing mother, did you feel like breastfeeding helped you to return to your pre-pregnancy weight?

If you haven’t delivered yet, does this study make you more inclined to try breastfeeding? 

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What do you think?

New Study: Lower Risk for Obesity by Breastfeeding at Least 6 Months

Sara McTigue is a secret agent, cupcake chef, award winning author, photographer, and PTA mom. At least, that is how things look in her mind. When she isn’t testing the bounds of her imagination, she is a mom to three amazing and hilariously funny children, wife to a charming and handsome man, and thoroughly addicted to reading. With a BS in English Education and an MA in English Literature, words – and their ability to shape our lives and thoughts – are an everyday fascination. Af ... More

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8 comments

  1. Foxin3ss says:

    Breastfeeding has always been a priority for me, not only does it help your baby become smarter, but it also helps lose the baby weight.

  2. Theresa says:

    Found out early at week 20 that I had gestational diabetes, so I ate right & exercised & didn’t gain a pound during my pregnancy (I was overweight going into it, so it was completely healthy ladies). The day my son was born I lost 30 pounds & have lost & maintained 10 more pounds since. He’s 5 1/2 months now & still breastfeeding while eating solids too. Mom & baby are healthy & happy thanks to breastfeeding! 🙂

  3. Rachel says:

    With my first daughter I wasn’t able to breast feed because I didn’t have the support or resources. Now with my second daughter I was determined to BF her and was successful. I gained 35 pounds with her and by 8 weeks I only had 5 more pounds to lose. Not going to lie I am still working on the five pounds, but I haven’t worked out a single day(other than chasing my 4 year old around) Hope this helps 🙂

  4. MOMMY says:

    I WASENT GOING TO BREAST FEED AT ALL BUT I DECIDED TO TRY IT BC IT IS HEALTHY FOR THE BABY AND I WAS TOLD ITS EASIER TOO LOOSE THE BABY WEIGHT.

  5. Amanda says:

    I miss breast feeding but my supply became sooo low! I was pumping 30 ounces a day and it just kept going down down down. until one week i only pumped an ounce a day. It felt like I failed my baby of nutrition 🙁

  6. dana says:

    I breastfed my daughter for 13 months and lost 60 pounds without exercising now she’s 6…I stayed in great shape and now have a 6 month old boy and I’ve already lost 42 pounds Im Going to start working out to lose the last 15 pounds and tone up I plan to breastfeed for at least a year it’s good for baby and mommy!

  7. Brittney says:

    I’ve lost 45 lbs in 4 months and I have been breastfeeding and not really exercising…

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