Science Finds Yet Another Benefit to Breastfeeding, and It’s a Win for Your Liver

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There are a bunch of reasons why breastfeeding is a good choice for your health and the health of your baby. Breastmilk offers babies balanced nutrition and ‘customized’ protection from illness, healthy gut bacteria, and has even been shown to protect kids from things like obesity and cancer in the years to come.

And if you are into nursing your kids, it turns out that your liver might be among the parts of your body to benefit from the process.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Moms who breastfeed have also been shown to experience long-term benefits, too, like reduced rates of breast and ovarian cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and heart disease – and now, thanks to a recent study, they might have a reduced chance at contracting liver disease, too.

The study was published in the Journal of Hepatology concluded that breastfeeding for 6 or more months significantly reduced the mother’s risk of non-alc*holic fatty liver disease, which is often linked to obesity. Researchers followed moms for 25 years after giving birth, and of the 844 women who were monitored, 32% breastfed for up to a month, 25% for 1-6 months, and 43% for 6 or more months.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

At the conclusion of the study, 6% had contracted the liver disease in question, and moms who had nursed for over 6 months were 52% less likely to fall victim.

The lead author of the study told Reuters,

“This new analysis contributes to the growing body of evidence showing that breastfeeding a child also offers significant health benefits to the mother. Maintaining lactation through at least the first six months is physiologically how the mother’s body reprograms metabolism and prevents chronic disease. While obesity and diet also modify this risk, the effect of lactation seems to be greatest and offers the best potential to decrease the prevalence of fatty liver disease.”

All of this said, there is no shame in formula feeding (for real, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise), and everyone involved will turn out just fine if that’s the route you and your family opt to pursue.

True story.