February is American Heart Health Month and a good time to learn about the role of breastfeeding in improving heart health for mothers and the children they breastfeed. The Northwoods Breastfeeding Coalition (NWBC) whose mission is to improve the health of our communities by protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding in Forest,
Evidence suggests that formula-fed infants tend to have higher cholesterol overall and less of the “good” cholesterol, HDL, than those who are breastfed. Formula feeding is also associated with increased Body Mass Index (BMI), a major risk factor in heart disease. For mothers, several studies have found that those who do not breastfeed are at an increased risk of retained gestational weight gain, type 2 diabetes, myocardial infarction, and metabolic syndrome all of which can lead to the development of heart disease.
When it comes to heart health and breastfeeding, more is better. In every study, both intensity, meaning exclusive breastfeeding, and duration, or length, of breastfeeding matter. The take-away message is that breastfeeding may promote heart health for mothers, as well as adult men and women who had the good fortune to be breastfed as infants.
If you are looking for more information about the benefits of breastfeeding, visit the Northwoods Breastfeeding Coalition heart-friendly website at http://oneidacountypublichealth.org/?p=628. The NWBC provides an informative website describing the coalition, members, activities, grant awards and successes. The website not only includes information about the organization, but also includes a Resource Guide for women and families with breastfeeding questions. The resource guide includes contact information for professionals in Hospitals, Clinics, Independent Lactation Consultants, Childbirth Classes, County Health Departments and WIC Programs, and links to breastfeeding organizations like La Leche League.
Please contact your local Health Department or the Northwoods Breastfeeding Coalition for more information on breastfeeding.