Female breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and a leading cause of death from cancer but does breastfeeding lower your risk of breast cancer?
Yes, it does, though the specifics are hard to pinpoint. There are studies worth noting. Of course, breastfeeding can give your baby a healthy start of life, but along with that, it can lower your breast cancer risk.
On an analysis done over 1,50,000 women found, that woman who breastfeeds for 12 months either with one child or more than one have less risk of breast cancer, they found a decrease of 4.3% when compared with women who didn’t breastfeed at all. It has also been studied, mothers who breastfeed lower their risk of pre- and post-menopausal breast cancer.
How does Breastfeeding Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer?
Breastfeeding mothers experience hormonal changes during lactation which delays their menstrual period, this reduces exposure to hormones like estrogen, which can give a rise to breast cancer cell growth. Another theory says breastfeeding can make breast cells more resistant to the variations that can cause cancer.
In addition, breastfeeding also helps to lower the risk of ovarian cancer by preventing ovulations, and the less you ovulate, the less you are exposed to estrogen, abnormal cells that could become cancer.
What should be the duration of Breastfeed to Reduce Your Risk of cancer?
For the healthy benefits, it is recommended to breastfeed for at least six months according to the American Institute for Cancer Research and World Health Organization. It means your baby should receive only breast milk – no water, other liquids or solid. Data shows that health benefits and cancer risk, reduces significantly at six months and beyond, and breast milk is good source of energy and nutrients for infants to stay healthy and for their development.
What if You Can’t Breastfeed?
Not to stress about it! It is not like, you will get breast cancer if you don’t breastfeed or you’ll never get if you have breastfed. Neither of those things are true. The most effective way to help reduce your breast cancer risk is to maintain a healthy lifestyle within your control. Things like smoking, having alot of fried food, red meat, alcohol consumption and lack of physical activity also affects.
That mean’s breastfeeding is not the only way to reduce your risk of breast cancer but exercise and healthy-diet too helps.
Is Breastfeeding safe in Corona Virus Pandemic (Covid-19)?
It is not yet proved about corona virus spreading through breastfeeding; studies are still being carried out. So, all the new mothers who are breast feeding their kids need to take special precautions and specifically mothers who fear of testing corona positive or have been tested corona positive should take the following precautions:
- Wash or sanitize hands before breast feeding.
- Wear a mask while breast feeding.
If the above precautionary measures are followed, the mothers can surely breastfeed their new born.