Breast feeding has many benefits for the infant as well as the mother, but Mexican researchers have found one possible downside to prolonged breast feeding. Postmenopausal women whose children nursed for more than three years altogether were more likely to develop osteoporosis. This association was especially strong among mestizo women, who were twice as likely to be diagnosed with osteoporosis if they had breast-fed for three years or more.
The investigators note that the average number of children in Mexico is two, and that a majority of women breastfeed. This could mean that Mexico may face a crisis of osteoporosis in the future. Other scientists are not convinced, however. Previous studies have not found an association between breastfeeding and osteoporosis, and breast milk is often the healthiest way to feed a baby.
[Menopause, online Sept. 27, 2010]