So you’re always hearing about how great breastfeeding is for your babies, how it makes them smarter, makes them even healthier and all those wonderful things you want for your babies.
But then researchers from China came along and said, “go on mom, breastfeeding is good for your own wellbeing too!” and then moms were like, “whaaaaat?”
Yeah, it’s actually true moms. Researchers found that breastfeeding reducers your risk of getting rheumatoid arthritis later in your life.
And then we ask, but what is rheumatoid arthritis?
This is a chronic inflammatory disorder that typically affects the small joints in your hands as well as your feet. Dissimilar to osteoarthritis, this form of arthritis affects the lining of your joints; it causes painful swelling, this could ultimately result in bone erosion and joint deformity.
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body tissues and this then causes joint problems.
This disorder can start at any age but more often after 40 and is much more common amongst women than it is in men.
The Bump reports that researchers analyzed a few thousand women all aged over 50 and above in China. They were asked to complete questionnaires with questions similar to the following:
- Have you used oral contraceptive?
- Have you breastfed? And for how long, if did?
- How old were you when you first fell pregnant?
Their findings were that most of the women had at least one child, 95 percent of them breastfed for a month or longer, a small percentage of them used birth control and most of them were pregnant for the first time at the age of around 24.
The average age of diagnoses for RA was about 48.
The women who breastfed were less likely to develop RA than the ones who didn’t and the longer she breastfed the lower the risk became. There was no relationship between the use of oral contraceptive and RA.
This is the first study to take place in a Chinese population that demonstrates a link between lower risk of RA and breastfeeding. The study was based on a large population sample in the community and as data were part of a larger study, the researchers were able to look for many potential confounding factors.
According to Science Daily, replication of the association between breastfeeding and lower risk of RA in a different population strengthens the need for further research to understand the hormonal mechanisms involved in the onset of RA.