Breastfeeding children may have long-term health benefits for mothers. It can reduce the mother’s risk of high blood pressure after they reach menopause.
Long-term breastfeeding is already linked to a reduction in children’s allergies, coeliac disease, obesity and diabetes.
The effects on the mother’s health have not been studied in the same detail up to now.
A new study has shown that the more children a woman breastfeeds and the longer the duration of feeding the lower their risk of high blood pressure after menopause.
Women who breastfed their babies for more than 96 months showed a 45pc lower risk of high blood pressure.
Those who breastfed more than five children had up to 51pc lower risk.
The study was of 3,119 non-smoking, post-menopausal women aged 50 years or older.
The researchers believe that fat accumulation and insulin resistance may be “reset” by breastfeeding after pregnancy.
They are also looking at the proposal that oxytocin release, stimulated by breastfeeding may be associated with a drop in the risk of obesity-related disease.
“Our findings endorsed the current recommendations for breastfeeding for the benefit of maternal health in mothers’ later lives,” said the paper’s lead researcher, Nam-Kyong Choi.
The Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey is published in the American Journal of Hypertension