Study: Breastfeeding Linked to Long Term Weight Loss
Breastfeeding and Weight Loss Connection Explored
Can breastfeeding be linked to long-term weight loss?
Breastfeeding certainly does its part to burn calories when you're nursing a child, but a new British study finds that the weight loss link can be long-term.
A British study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, looked at the connection of 750,000 participants who breastfed their babies and their ongoing health.
Just six months of breastfeeding, they found, could reduce the risk of obesity -- even 30 years from when they nursed a child.
HuffingtonPost.com reports, "Overall, breastfeeding was associated with a modest, long-term reduction in body mass index, a measurement of height relative to weight. For every six months the women breastfed, their BMI decreased by about 1 percent on average."
Kirsty Bobrow, a clinical researcher at the University of Oxford and one of the study's authors, noted, "These are long-term effects. For women in this study, childbearing and breastfeeding occurred on average 30 years before women's weights and heights were recorded."
Dr. Alison Stuebe, an assistant professor of maternal and child health at the University of North Carolina, notes that short term weight loss is often found because "A breastfeeding mom can burn [as much as] 500 calories per day."
She added, "That's an hour on a treadmill, or [it's] sitting in a rocking chair and giving baby breast milk, which has all kinds of benefits."
How can breastfeeding impact weight in the long term? There is a "reset hypothesis," Bobrow tells The Huffington Post, where nursing is believed to reset maternal metabolism.
There is, however, no definitive link between breastfeeding and weight loss for the long haul.
Steube notes, "The question that this kind of study can't answer is, is it breastfeeding that makes you skinnier? Or is it that the type of person who breastfeeds is also skinnier in her 50s?"
Speaking from personal experience, breastfeeding impacted my weight loss significantly while I did it, but over the years since, it definitely hasn't kept the weight off.