October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it turns out that breastfeeding isn’t just good for babies, it’s good for moms too! For every 12 months that you breastfeed, you reduce your risk of breast cancer by 4.3% and each birth adds another 7%. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for a minimum of 2 years so if you breastfeed for a minimum of 2 years for each baby, you would decrease your risk of breast cancer by 15.6%! Why is breastfeeding helpful at reducing breast cancer?
· Making milk limits the cells’ ability to behave abnormally so the longer you make milk, the longer you will be protected especially while breastfeeding.
· Lower estrogen: During pregnancy, women have 9 skipped periods and most women have fewer periods when exclusively breastfeeding which results in lower estrogen.
· Breastfeeding and pregnant women tend to eat healthier foods and follow healthier lifestyles by limiting smoking, alcohol use, and avoiding toxins.
· Take a breastfeeding class at least a month before your due date
· Find and keep a list of the breastfeeding support groups and other resources in your area
· Discuss you breastfeeding goals with you doctors and hospital staff
· Have a feeding plan ready for the hospital
· Find an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)
· Educate yourself on the importance and advantages of breastfeeding beyond 12 months
The longer you breastfeed the lower your risk becomes but breastfeeding isn’t the only thing you can do to reduce your risk of breast cancer. Visit the Breastcancer.org website to learn how you can further reduce your risk of breast cancer.
If you’ve ever breastfed, please help spread awareness by sharing and commenting by how much you’ve reduced your risk of breast cancer! I’ve reduced my risk by 34.53 %!
Col: Breast cancer and breastfeeding: collaborative reanalysis of individual data from 47 epidemiological studies in 30 countries, including 50302 women with breast cancer and 96973 women without the disease. Lancet 360 (9328): 187-95, 2002.