Everyone knows that breast milk is good for your baby’s health. Because of this, many mothers find it difficult to breastfeed their babies, and when the breast milk is not sufficient, they suffer from a sense of guilt. A recent study found that metabolic health is linked to breast milk volume.
Lori Normsen-Rivers, associate professor of nutrition at the University of Cincinnati’s Affiliated School of Health Sciences, conducted a case-controlled study to find out why some mothers are not getting enough milk despite their best efforts to breastfeed.
The researchers analyzed data from a randomized controlled trial in mothers tested for insufficient breast milk between February 2015 and June 2016. This included mothers between 1 and 8 weeks postpartum who were 20 years of age or older and who gave birth to healthy newborns aged 37 weeks or older. The participants weighed their babies before and after breastfeeding at home and measured the amount of breast milk.
The researchers looked at all factors that contribute to metabolic syndrome, including participants’ blood pressure, plasma lipids, fasting blood sugar, fasting insulin, and insulin sensitivity. Overall, all measures were significantly worse in mothers who continued to produce low milk for no apparent reason compared to controls.
Professor Nomsen-Rivers, through a number of large-scale epidemiological studies over the past decade, consistently found that women with higher body mass indices (BMI) had shorter breastfeeding periods, sparking many theories. “Although there is strong evidence that a higher body mass index is associated with poorer metabolic health, research in this area is still scarce,” he said.
The results of this study strongly suggest that the cause of low milk production is not a lack of effort by the mother, but a physiological basis. The results of the study were published in the journal Breastfeeding Medicine under the title ‘Measures of Maternal Metabolic Health as Predictors of Severely Low Milk Production’.