Breastfeeding Decreases Risk of Breast Cancer

by Natalie on August 11, 2011

Don’t you just love it when you hear about something YOU can do to improve your health and the health of your loved ones? I do.

Especially when it is something completely natural and free of charge!

There is a long list of benefits received by both mother and baby through the act of breast feeding. Today I am going to focus on the benefit of cancer prevention.

Researchers of American Institute for Cancer Research’s expert report found convincing evidence that breast feeding decreases the risk of both pre and post menopausal breast cancer. They also found some evidence that it may also protect against ovarian cancer, but the evidence is limited at this time.

There are several reasons why breastfeeding has this protective effect. Breastfeeding reduces the number of menstrual cycles a woman has, decreasing her exposure to hormones related to breast cancer. It also helps the body slough off any breast cells with damaged DNA.

Surprisingly, breastfeeding also helps prevent cancer in the child as well. Research shows that a breast fed child will be less likely to be an overweight or obese adult. Being overweight increases risk for cancer in all people.

To receive the benefits, it is recommended that breast milk be the infant’s sole source of nutrition up until 6 months of age. After 6 months, other liquids and foods can be added.

Though I have not yet had the experience, I have heard that breastfeeding can be difficult the first time around. There many resources available to provide assistance. Many people are surprised to find out that hospitals have lactation consultants. These breastfeeding experts can help new mothers master the art of breast feeding. All you have to do is ask your doctor or nurse if you can see one of them.

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Photo by: Sabian Maggy

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