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Thread: extended bf bad for your bones?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Default extended bf bad for your bones?

    I was reading an article in the May Real Simple about bone health. It reminds you to get your calcium during pregnancy as the baby will leech your supplies. Then it says that "breastfeeding for more than a year can adversely affect your bones." They get their information from Dr Felicia Cosman, clinical director of the National Osteoporosis Foundation. She continues, "but bone mass, for the most part, can be regained later if you get the requisite amount of calcium and vitamin D."

    This info about extended bf was news to me, so I thought I'd share. I knew it was important during pg, but all of you who are nursing past a year should be extra careful as well to get all your needed calcium.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default Re: extended bf bad for your bones?

    I found this at kellymom which backs that up:


    "Breastfeeding protects against osteoporosis. During lactation a mother may experience decreases of bone mineral. A nursing mom's bone mineral density may be reduced in the whole body by 1 to 2 percent while she is still nursing. This is gained back, and bone mineral density may actually increase, when the baby is weaned from the breast. This is not dependent on additional calcium supplementation in the mother's diet."

    This article cites references to back this up:


    I've been trying harder to get more calcium - I've been slowly adding milk into my diet and seeing how LO does with it.

    DS, 11/08/06
    DD 02/06/09

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: extended bf bad for your bones?

    To add to this info, here's a few articles I found on the LLL website.
    Later today I'll try to find some more current research, if possible, too.

    A Well-Kept Secret
    Breastfeeding's Benefits to Mothers

    "Another important element used in producing milk is calcium. Because women lose calcium while lactating, some health professionals have mistakenly assumed an increased risk of osteoporosis for women who breastfeed. However, current studies show that after weaning their children, breastfeeding mothers' bone density returns to prepregnancy or even higher levels (Sowers 1995). In the longterm, lactation may actually result in stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis. In fact, recent studies have confirmed that women who did not breastfeed have a higher risk of hip fractures after menopause (Cummings 1993)."

    Media Release: La Leche League International Offers Good News about the Link between Breastfeeding and the Prevention of Osteoporosis during National Osteoporosis Prevention Month

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Default Re: extended bf bad for your bones?

    I have to see an endocrinologist because of bone density issues, and he corroborated what you quoted in that study -- my bone density will bounce back after I stop nursing. (And he did NOT encourage me to stop nursing early because of my problem!)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: extended bf bad for your bones?

    Yup, I've read and been told by doctors that the mother recovers completely. My ob even used this information to defend the Depo shot (I was concerned about bone density and my choice of birth control). She said it was like the loss that mothers experience from breastfeeding, which is not a concern because they recover it all back.

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