Many women are inspired to breastfeed because of its benefits for their baby’s immune system. There are benefits for you, the lactating woman, too. Breastfeeding even affects your eye health.
Women who breast-feed have lower rates of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). Isn’t that interesting!
A yearly eye exam is the best way to monitor your eye health. When the macula, located at the back of the eye, begins to deteriorate there may be no symptoms. However, as the damage progresses, one begins to notice black spots, blurriness or distortion. That can make it difficult to read, knit, drive, see faces and in general, limit one’s lifestyle. At this point, it is called late AMD.
The research about breastfeeding and late AMD was published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology. The aim of the study was to examine associations between female hormones, reproductive history and AMD. It included data from 1,512 menopausal women, ranging from 60 years to 87 years old.
No relationship was found between late AMD and contraceptives, hormonal replacement therapy, number of children, age at first childbirth, age of menarche (start of menstruation) or menopause, number of menstruation years or reason for menopause. These are all significant hormonal influences in a woman’s life. The study did find, however, that the longer a woman breastfed, the lower the frequency of late AMD.
It’s to your advantage to exercise daily and eat plenty of leafy, green vegetables (preferably certified organic). Interestingly, the study didn’t find that taking fatty fish and omega-3 fish oil supplements made a major difference in reducing AMD.
Add eye health to the list of benefits from breastfeeding. You’re also building bone strength, reducing your risk of breast cancer, uterine cancer, cardiovascular diseases and anemia.
All these benefits are cumulative. That is, the longer you breastfeed, the more the benefit.
In time, your children will have healthy grandchildren. You can be that active, healthy grandmother who takes the grandkids on hikes and imparts the wisdom, or goofiness, of your age.
Yup, Nature plans for success. You, as a healthy woman, are a splendid investment.
Here’s a summary of the AMD research.