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Breastfeeding and Cancer Risk

Having a child changes everything. As a mother, you always try to give them the best. Though it is a personal choice, there is no denying that breastfeeding gives your baby a healthy start. It is recommended that you breastfeed your baby for at least six months before the child start eating solids. Why? Because breast milk contains all the nutrients your baby needs for healthy growth and development. Breastfeeding also helps protect your baby from infection and diseases. Because breastfed babies are less likely to become overweight or obese later in life, you are helping them to be a healthy weight individual when they grow up. Additionally, this also helps them reduce their risk of developing cancer in the future.

Now that’s the health benefit for your baby. But how does breastfeeding benefit you, the mother?  Did you know that breastfeeding burns extra calories and help you lose pregnancy weight faster? Besides that, breastfeeding also helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size. And more importantly, it helps reduce your risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

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Research shows that mothers who breastfeed their babies lower their risk of pre- and post- menopausal breast cancer. It is even better if you breastfeed longer than the recommended six months. Studies have found that women who breastfeed experience hormonal changes during lactation that delay their menstrual periods. This will then reduce their exposure to hormones like estrogen, which can promote breast cancer cell growth.

By breastfeeding, you also lower the risk of developing ovarian cancer. This is because breastfeeding prevents ovulation. The lesser you ovulate, the lesser you are exposed to estrogen and the abnormal cells that can cause cancer.

Although breastfeeding has its perks, it is not as easy as it sounds. If you are considering or having trouble breastfeeding, seek help. Get help from a lactation consultant or a breastfeeding specialist. Ask the hospital where you plan to deliver your baby. If not, ask your health care provider to help you find one near you. With their support, your breastfeeding journey will be successful. Good health for both mother and baby.  

If you would like to read more about how breastfeeding can reduce cancer risk, please click on these links: 

1. https://www.wcrf-uk.org/uk/preventing-cancer/cancer-prevention-recommendations/breastfeed-your-baby    

2. http://ww5.komen.org/Breastcancer/Notbreastfeeding.html

3. http://www.medicaldaily.com/breastfeeding-may-cut-mothers-risk-ovarian-cancer-91-percent-244268    

 

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