Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Breastfeeding Protects Mothers and Babies Against Cancer

      Women who breastfeed receive added protection from breast cancer.  One reason is delayed menstruation which reduces a woman’s lifetime exposure to hormones like estrogen, which is linked to breast cancer risk.  Studies show that the greatest benefit comes when a woman breastfeeds for a total of two years.  Another reason are the physical changes in breast tissue cells that accompany milk production provide some protection as well. During pregnancy and breastfeeding, breast tissue reaches the final stages
of physical maturity where the milk-making cells grow and proliferate. In addition, shedding
of breast tissue during lactation.  These shed cells are aimed at maximizing the immunity benefits infants receive through the transfer of antibodies in breast milk.
     In addition to reducing a mothers risk, breastfed infants benefit greatly as well.  Breastfed babies are less likely to become overweight children possibly because of an appetite-regulating hormone leptin, that is transferred to the infant through the breast milk..  Childhood obesity tends to continue into adulthood and excess body fat increases risk of at least six different types of cancer.  Also, researchers note that because breastfed babies are not encouraged to “finish the bottle,” they may learn to self-regulate their calorie intake
more effectively.
    Breastfeeding benefits mothers and babies in many ways including bonding and immediate health benefits.  Moms may not realize the long-term benefits breastfeeding has on the health and quality of life that breastfeeding has to offer.  If you know someone who is considering breastfeeding or wonders about the benefits of breastfeeding past a few months, pass this along!

*Information taken from the American Institute for Cancer Research

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