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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

More health benefits for the nursing mom

In late April 2009, 2 interesting articles on breastfeeding came out and I've been meaning to blog about them but got sidetracked with some stuff. The first was the latest report that on the benefits to a breastfeeding mom, which now includes a lower risk for heart disease. This finding adds to the previous benefits that nursing moms have specifically lower risk of osteoporosis, breast and ovarian cancer and Type 2 diabetes. However, experts also caution that the benefits may actually be a result of a healthier lifestyle practiced by nursing women, rather than a causal relationship between breastfeeding and health benefits.

Two days after the NY Times article on breastfeeding benefits was released, Hanna Rosin was back with an article, saying that breastfeeding moms earn less. Hanna Rosin is the author of the controversial article Case Against Breastfeeding, which resulted in a lot of buzz in the breastfeeding community. Ms. Rosin cites a study by 2 researchers, focusing on the economic consequences of breastfeeding. I checked the study and noted that nowhere in the article did the authors state a conclusive finding. Rather, they were in the beginning stages of their research and in fact recognized that their results may "may indicate that breastfeeding is more compatible with work than it really is."

Regardless of the findings of this pending research, previous research has already shown the health benefits of breastfeeding for the baby. Thus, the authors explicitly indicate that if their research shows that "breastfeeding does have a negative effect on women’s work lives", the solution would be not to stop breastfeeding but rather emphasize the "need for further governmental investments in breastfeeding supports, especially if the state is going to continue to emphasize breastfeeding in its blueprints for infant health."

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