Hillcrest lactation consultant Cheryl Coleman is talking about the link between breastfeeding and childhood obesity today on our blog.
September is Childhood Obesity Awareness month. Decreasing obesity begins with breastfeeding. Studies have shown a 15 percent to 30 percent reduction in obesity in adolescents and adults who were breastfed. This is one area where it is not just the product but the process that may make the difference. While breast milk is the nutrition intended for human babies, it has been noted in some studies that breastfeeding makes the difference. When a baby is breastfeeding, they self-regulate their intake so they will not be overfed. When a baby is fed either breast milk or formula from a bottle, the tendency is to overfeed the baby and the ability to self-regulate is damaged or lost leading to increased rates of obesity even if the baby is being fed breast milk. There is also a 4 percent decrease in the risk of obesity for each month of breastfeeding, so the longer you breastfeed the better. Help decrease the risk of obesity right from the start by breastfeeding your baby.