A new study now shows that breastfeeding slashes women’s risk of developing high blood pressure.
High blood pressure in women are the single biggest cause of death,
A study of more than 3,000 women found those who nursed infants were up to 51 per cent less likely to become hypertensive as they got older.
The more babies they had, and the longer they breastfed, the greater the protection, scientists said.
Studies how that long term breastfeeding boosts children's health - reducing infections, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), diabetes, obesity and even leukaemia and heart disease. But the benefits for mothers have been little studied compared to those for their offspring.
According to the study, those who breast fed at least five children were 51 per cent less likely to have high blood pressure, or hypertension, compared to one or none.
And participants in the highest fifth for breastfeeding duration of 96 months or more showed a 45 percent reduced risk.
Chief author of the study, Dr Nam-Kyong Choi, of Ewha Womans University, Seoul, said, "Our findings endorsed the current recommendations for breastfeeding for the benefit of maternal health in mothers' later lives."
The study published in the American Journal of Hypertension suggests women who breastfeed more children, and for longer periods of time, are less likely to suffer from hypertension after they reach menopause.
Interestingly, the effects were lessened for obese women and those with insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes, the form linked to an unhealthy lifestyle.