WEDNESDAY July 21, 2021
Here’s another reason new moms to try breastfeeding: Toddlers who have been breastfed for a few days have lower blood pressure than those who have always had a bottle, research shows.
And low blood pressure at an early age can lead to a healthier heart and blood vessels in adulthood, the researchers said.
The new study is believed to be the first to study breastfeeding in the first days of life and blood pressure in infancy.
“Infants who received even a relatively small amount of their mother’s early breast milk, also known as colostrum, had lower blood pressure by age 3, regardless of how long breastfeeding was done. or when they received other complementary foods, ”said the lead author. Dr Kozeta Miliku, postdoctoral fellow at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Colostrum, which is found in breast milk but not in infant formula, is loaded with immune, growth and tissue repair properties that benefit babies.
Other research has linked breastfeeding to a lower risk of heart disease in adulthood, but the amount of breastfeeding needed to achieve this benefit was unclear.
To find out more, the researchers analyzed data from nearly 2,400 children participating in an ongoing Canadian study. Participants in the CHILD cohort study were followed from birth between 2009 and 2012.
Of these children, 98% were breastfed, including 4% who received some breastfeeding during their hospital stay.
Among breastfed children, 78% were breastfed for six months or more and 62% were exclusively breastfed for at least three months. Exclusive breastfeeding means not having formula, solid foods, or other liquids.
At 3 years of age, children who had never been breastfed had higher blood pressure (mean: 103/60 mm Hg) than those who were breastfed for any length of time (mean: 99/58 mm Hg).
In toddlers who received only limited breastfeeding as newborns in hospital, blood pressure was also lower (mean: 99/57 mm Hg) than in those who did not. had never been breastfed.
Blood pressure was lower in breastfed toddlers even though they were receiving other nutrients and food, and regardless of their body mass index at 3 years or their social, health or lifestyle factors. mother. (Body mass index is an estimate of body fat based on height and weight.)
The results were published on July 21 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Lead author Meghan Azad, deputy director of the CHILD cohort study, said the benefits of sustained and exclusive breastfeeding for a variety of health conditions are well documented. These health problems include respiratory infections and illnesses that cause diarrhea in infancy, and chronic illnesses such as asthma and obesity later in life.
“Our study suggests that for cardiovascular outcomes such as high blood pressure, even a brief period of breastfeeding is beneficial,” Azad said in a press release. “This indicates that colostrum is a key factor in the formation of developmental processes during the neonatal period.”
She said breastfeeding should be strongly supported.
“It’s also important to understand that ‘every drop counts’, especially in the critical first days of life,” Azad added.
The US Office of Women’s Health has more information on breastfeeding.
SOURCE: Journal of the American Heart Association, press release, July 21, 2021
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