Breast-Feeding Protects Moms from Diabetes, Study Shows: Why Use a Bottle?

GENERIC breastfeeding breast feeding nursing
Breast-feeding helps protect moms against diabetes, new research shows. (Getty)

(CBS) If boosters of breast-feeding needed any more ammunition in their battle against the bottle, they just got it.

A new study from the University of Pittsburgh shows that moms who breast-feed their kids are significantly less likely to develop diabetes.

"We have seen dramatic increases in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes over the last century," Dr. Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, assistant professor of medicine, epidemiology, and obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the university, said in a written statement. "Diet and exercise are widely known to impact the risk of type 2 diabetes, but few people realize that breastfeeding also reduces mothers' risk of developing the disease later in life by decreasing maternal belly fat."

The study involved 2,233 women between the ages of 40 and 78, about half of whom had breast-fed an infant for at least a month. It found that women who had breast-fed were about half as likely to develop diabetes as mothers who had not breast-fed or never given birth.

Breast-feeding has already been shown to help protect babies from bacterial and viral infections, and to reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancer in women, according to a report from the U.S. Surgeon General..

"Our study provides another good reason to encourage women to breastfeed their infants, at least for the infant's first month of life," said Dr. Schwarz.

As if moms needed another reason.