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As Australians are counting down the days to Mother’s Day, a group of professionals is aiming to somewhat counter the declining rate of breastfeeding among Australian mothers. While the health benefits of breastfeeding for a baby is widely understood and accepted, it is the benefits for the mom that the PSANZ Early Life Nutrition Coalition is trying to promote. According to extensive research, breastfeeding can help protect a woman against a range of potentially grave conditions including heart disease, type II diabetes, and cancer. A closer look at the benefits of breastfeeding from the mother’s perspective provides great insight into why the coalition is so vehemently promoting the benefits of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding especially beneficial after 6 months

According to Professor Peter SW Davies, a lot of women are not aware of the benefits breastfeeding can have to their own health, especially if the feeding continues for longer than 6 months.  Mothers who breastfeed for longer than a year can reduce their risk of contracting breast cancer by as much as 26%. This is compared to a reduction of no more than 7% if breastfeeding is halted after only 6 months. Breastfeeding for up to twelve months also decreases the risk of ovarian cancer by 37% while becoming 32% less likely to develop type II diabetes. While the benefits of breastfeeding cannot be reiterated enough as far as preventing dreaded diseases are concerned, you cannot solely rely on it to keep you in good health. It is always advisable to seek out quality medical cover according to Qantas health insurance, even if only in the form of a hospital plan that will help cover expensive services such as treatment fees, anesthesia, and general surgery.

It also boosts your cardiac health

Recent global studies have found that breastfeeding can also boost the mother’s cardiac health thanks to it promoting stable blood pressure as well as reduced cholesterol levels. Breastfeeding is also known to help a new mother lose her pregnancy weight which can help release some of the strain on her heart. Women who breastfeed for even just 3 months can reduce their risk of dying from a cardiac-related disease by as much as 34%. It has furthermore been established that the chance of having to be hospitalized due to heart disease also decreases by 4% while breastfeeding.

Women do not breastfeed for long enough

According to a 2010 Australian National Infant Feeding Survey as many as 90% of all new mothers commenced exclusive breastfeeding while only 15.4% persevered until the baby was at least 5 months old. As far as reaping the health benefits of breastfeeding is concerned, Professor Davies states that: “Sustained breastfeeding after the introduction of solid foods appears to be the key. The longer the better.” If a mother can continue breastfeeding even after the introduction of solids she has the best possible chance of enjoying the full scope of medical benefits.

Breastfeeding has long been touted for its immense health benefits for babies and has now been proven to be equally as beneficial for mothers. Even if you are not able to breastfeed until your baby is a year old you are bound to enjoy some benefit from simply persevering for as long as you can.

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