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  • Breastfeeding May Lower a Mom's Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke

    Plus, Australian lawmaker becomes the first to breastfeed while making a motion in parliament and Medela encourages more insurance firms to cover breastfeeding support.
    by Rachel Perez .
  • Breastfeeding helps moms keep a healthy heart

    Previous studies have linked nursing to better heart health, but a new one strengthens the claim further. The latest study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, had researchers analyze data from nearly 300,000 Chinese women with a follow-up interview after eight years. 

    The results showed that women who breastfed their babies had a nine percent lowered risk of heart disease and eight percent lowered risk of stroke, compared to women who didn't breastfeed. Women who had more than one child and breastfed each of their babies for two years or more reduced their risk of heart disease even more by 18 percent; 17 percent were less likely to have a stroke. According to the study, for every six additional months of breastfeeding, the risks of heart disease and stroke were reduced by four percent and three percent, respectively. 

    "The health benefits to the mother from breastfeeding may be explained by a faster 'reset' of the mother's metabolism after pregnancy," study co-author, Sanne Peters, Ph.D., a research fellow at the University of Oxford in the U.K., said via a press release. "Pregnancy changes a woman's metabolism dramatically as she stores fat to provide the energy necessary for her baby's growth and for breastfeeding once the baby is born. Breastfeeding could eliminate the stored fat faster and more completely," he added. 


    Even if the researchers adjusted factors that can influence stroke and heart attack such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure, smoking, obesity and physical activity, the effect remained constant. But it does not mean that breastfeeding prevents heart disease or women who don't breastfeed are more prone to the condition. But the study is encouraging news for breastfeeding women.

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    Lawmaker breastfeeds baby in parliament

    Lawmaker Larissa Waters is making headlines for addressing the Australian parliament while she breastfed her 3-month-old daughter, Alia Joy. The baby girl was also the first ever baby to be breastfed inside the parliament while it was in session. Waters was speaking about black lung disease, a condition that affected coal miners, when she took to the stand while nursing her baby.

    Her decision to speak with her baby on her breast was welcomed warmly and greeted with smiles. "Women have always worked and reared children, whether that work was paid in the workplace or unpaid in the home. I hope [this] helps to normalize breastfeeding and remove any vestige of stigma against breastfeeding a baby when they are hungry," Waters told Buzzfeed

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    In 2015, a cabinet minister was told to express more milk before coming to work so she wouldn't miss voting in the parliament. It was only last year when the government changed its rules to allow mothers to breastfeed inside the chamber. That's a win for all breastfeeding moms and breastfed babies!

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    Medela moves to encourage insurance firms to cover breastfeeding support
    In a move to encourage more insurance companies to cover breastfeeding support, counseling, and supplies, Medela released new evidence that highlighted the importance of breastfeeding support on the health of babies, moms, and economy. The breast pump manufacturer commissioned Milliman, Inc., a global, independent, actuarial firm, to assess the impact of breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling on health insurance premiums.

    The data shows that comprehensive breastfeeding support does not make employers pay more insurance premiums and it also has potential cost savings from preventing common pediatric conditions. Breastfeeding, as we all know, helps lay down baby's overall health. Essentially, what the study proves is that breastfeeding support which helps mom nurse their baby longer helps families save, not just from buying formula, but also in possible medical and hospitalization costs in the future.


    "Supporting breastfeeding improves health outcomes for babies and mothers and saves money for taxpayers, employers and the U.S. health system," said Melissa Gonzales, managing director for Medela USA. The study may be based on American data, but here's to hoping that local insurance firms cover breastfeeding counseling for both mom and baby's health.

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