Most of the time the conversation revolves around the benefits received by the infants, but breastfeeding can have positive effects on the mother as well. In time, there have been mentions, for example, one article from the Anderson Cancer Center, and even the latest report from the American Institute for CancerResearch which categorically concludes: “The evidence shows that, in general, the greater the number of months that women continue breastfeeding their babies, the greater the protection these women have against breast cancer.”
While women are largely aware that breastfeeding remains the best source of nutrition for infants, the United States still lags behind most industrialized countries when it comes to nursing rates. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend breastfeeding for a minimum of six months before introducing other forms of liquid to the baby to benefit both mother and toddler.
In addition to promoting weight loss and providing antibodies to the baby, nursing can also have hormonal implications. This can lead to a delay in menstrual cycles and at the same time prevent exposure to certain known malignancy markers – estrogen is documented to promote breast cancer cell growth.
Other advantages of breastfeeding include protecting your child against a series of disease – “Lactation protects the mother against breast cancer and having been breastfed protects children against overweight and obesity, and therefore against those cancers for which weight gain, overweight and obesity are a cause”. There is also evidence that nursing also lowers the incidence rate of leukemia.
In conclusion, both mother and infant benefit tremendously from breastfeeding. It’s a natural physiological process that can genuinely save lives.