There is no shortage of information about the benefits of breastfeeding. Preventing childhood obesity has been touted as a major benefit of breastfeeding, but a new study finds that the duration of breastfeeding doesn’t have a significant effect on the likelihood of a child being overweight.
Previous studies suggested that longer breastfeeding and exclusivity (breast only instead of supplementing with formula) led to a reduced chance of obesity. To try to confirm those findings, researchers studied 14,000 healthy babies in Belarus and half the mothers of the infants received help from health professionals in extending the time of their breastfeeding. Doctors followed up with those children when they were at a median age of 11.5 years and doctors didn’t find a significant difference between the weights of the kids in control group and the weights of the kids in the intervention group. Researchers were able to adjust for lifestyle factors that contribute to body weight to determine how breastfeeding affect them.
So the good news is for moms who aren’t able to breastfeed the recommended 12 months, you won’t be dooming your child to being overweight or obese. Still, mothers are advised to stick out breastfeeding as long as it works for them and their babies because there are a number of other health benefits.