Breastfeeding Moms Reap Health Benefits

Most of us didn’t need to read a scientific review to know that breastfeeding is beneficial.  We lose weight, our babies become brilliant, we bond with our infants, yadda, yadda, yadda.  Breastfeeding is a no-brainer, right?breastfeeding study shows benefits for new moms

Still the latest results of this close look at breastfeeding are pretty astounding.  The study, published recently in the Archives of Internal Medicine, followed mothers at high risk of developing breast cancer for nearly a decade.  Participants had a “first-degree” link to the disease, meaning that either their mother or sister had contracted it.  Among the high-risk women who chose to breast feed, breast cancer rates decreased by a whopping 59 percent.

Researchers aren’t sure why the data is so significant.  It could be that formula-feeding moms experience inflammation from engorgement that leads to breast cancer.  Or it could be that the act of breastfeeding brings about mysterious benefits for women that researchers don’t yet understand.

Still, at 3am when I’m tired and smell a bit like sour milk, it’s nice to know that all those efforts have so many payoffs both for baby and for me.  I have two dear aunts who have struggled with breast cancer.  Each of them has battled it, won, and had it return to their bodies.  They’re both thankfully healthy at this point, but it makes me all the more aware of the risks for my mom, my daughter and me.  Anything I can do to reduce my own chance of contracting the disease seems worth it–and breastfeeding has so many secondary benefits that it’s an easy decision.

Do you have a history of breast cancer in your family?  Did it affect your decision to breastfeed?

Comments

  1. Wonderful post! I had to link to it on my own blog to direct my readers here… everyone needs to read this!

  2. My maternal Grandmother died of Breast Cancer. I can’t say that really affected my choice to breast feed my four kids as in my mind there wasn’t any other option (for so many reasons!) I was pretty happy when I found out that breastfeeding would help prevent it however. We were pretty happy to learn about that study for my Mom as well because she had 6 of us kids and breastfed us all for a year or more. My Grandma who died of B.C. had nine kids but only breastfed each of them for a few weeks. (As was popular at the time.) I am so glad breast feeding is making its rightful comeback!

  3. I had no idea the benefits of breastfeeding in terms of declined chances of breast cancer – but how nice to have yet another amazing benefit to add to the LONG list! 🙂

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