Current Diabetes Reports

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 279–286

Breast-feeding and diabetes: Long-term impact on mothers and their infants


DOI: 10.1007/s11892-008-0050-x

Cite this article as:
Gunderson, E.P. Curr Diab Rep (2008) 8: 279. doi:10.1007/s11892-008-0050-x


In the general population, breast-feeding is associated with a reduced risk of the offspring being overweight later in life by 22% to 24% across the age spectrum, from preschool children to adults. There is a dose-response gradient with increasing duration of breast-feeding, and lowest risk with prolonged, exclusive breast-feeding. Breast-feeding has been shown to slow infant growth up to 2 years of age. By contrast, the scientific evidence is inconclusive about whether breast-feeding protects against the onset of overweight and subsequent development of type 2 diabetes among offspring whose mothers had diabetes during pregnancy. Moreover, evidence is insufficient to determine if lactation protects against development of type 2 diabetes later in life in women with a diabetes history during pregnancy. Given the paucity of the evidence and equivocal findings about the long-term effects of breast-feeding on future health of women with diabetes during pregnancy and their infants, further research is recommended.

Copyright information

© Current Medicine Group LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Research, Epidemiology and Prevention SectionKaiser PermanenteOaklandUSA