Women Get Long-Term Weight Benefits from Breastfeeding

Women in their 50s and 60s can expect to enjoy a one-percent reduction in their body-mass index (BMI) for every six months they spent breastfeeding their children, according to a new study from the University of Oxford, England.

MyHealthNewsDaily reported July 13 that the long-term benefits of breastfeeding can partially offset the fact that women who have children generally have higher BMIs in midlife than those who don’t have children. “We already know breastfeeding is best for babies, and this study adds to a growing body of evidence that the benefits extend to the mother as well, even 30 years after she’s given birth,” says researcher Kirsty Bobrow.

Breastfeeding can help you lose that baby weight in the short term, too, because the body burns up to 500 calories a day producing breast milk, which can translate to losing a pound a week if you don’t increase your calorie intake. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention touts breastfeeding as a means to prevent obesity.

The study was published July 10, 2012 issue of the International Journal of Obesity.

(Photo © Mothering Touch via Flickr)