Posted by: Admin | May 24, 2011

The 2011 Breastfeeding Calendar – Breastfeeding Mothers have fewer hip fractures later on in life.

According to the Public Health Calendar, May is Injury Prevention Month. Injuries in the Cree territory are frequent and have different causes. An injury that often happens when a woman grows older is hip fracture. Hip fractures can immobilize a person and cause more health problems. In some cases, surgery is necessary to repair the fracture, and this can lead to complications. This is why bone health is very important.

We always talk about the benefits of breastfeeding for the baby, but rarely do we mention that the mother’s health is also improved. In fact, the effects of breastfeeding can be felt even when the woman gets older. For example, a woman who had breastfed her children when she was younger has a decreased risk of hip fracture as she ages, when compared to a woman who did not breastfeed.

Mothers lose a little bit of the thickness of their bones when they breastfeed, but they regain it all, and even more, after they wean their babies. Mothers metabolize calcium better when they breastfeed. Also, mothers absorb calcium better once their monthly periods return. This is how they  replace the calcium that was used to make the breastmilk. It seems that mothers’ bone thickness is even higher after weaning then it was before pregnancy.

Studies have reported that the risk of hip fracture decreases with the increase in duration of breastfeeding and that the effect is related to the amount of breastfeeding. Another study says that mothers that breastfed at least six children for six months and more had no greater risk of developing osteoporosis than other women.

An interesting fact is that the calcium used to make milk does not seem to come from the mother’s diet but from her own bones, and also because she is not eliminating as much of it in her urine. All that calcium is kept for the baby! So it seems there is no benefit in the mother taking extra calcium while breastfeeding unless her diet is low in calcium to begin with.

In conclusion, this is yet another example of how breastfeeding does not only improve the baby’s health but also offers benefits for the mother!


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