Women who breastfeed their babies may be lowering their own risk of a heart attack, heart disease or stroke, research suggests.
A US study found women who breastfed for more than a year were 10% less likely to develop the conditions than those who never breastfed. Even breastfeeding for at least a month may cut the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The research features in the journal Obstetrics and Gynaecology. The study adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting breastfeeding has health benefits for both mother and baby.
Research has found that breastfeeding reduces a woman's risk of ovarian and breast cancer and osteoporosis in later life.
And the list of benefits for the baby is long, with breast milk credited with protecting against obesity, diabetes, asthma and infections of the ear, stomach and chest.
As well as cutting the risk of heart problems, breastfeeding for more than a year cut the risk of high blood pressure by 12%, and diabetes and high cholesterol by around 20%.