Breastfeeding Mothers Are at Lower Risk of Getting Breast Cancer
Breast milk is an important source of nutrition for babies. Although the main benefit is to meet the nutritional needs of your little one, it turns out that this activity is also beneficial for mothers, one of which is reducing the risk of breast cancer. Check out the full explanation in the following review.
Reasons Breastfeeding Can Prevent Breast Cancer
After giving birth, generally mothers will produce milk from the breasts. Not only for babies, breastfeeding can actually provide benefits for mothers.
Babies will get nutrition, antibodies, and emotional connections through the breastfeeding process. Meanwhile for mothers, breastfeeding can be a method of contraception, reduce bleeding after childbirth, and reduce the risk of breast cancer.
A study published in the journal Cancer Medicine revealed, women will experience a reduced risk of breast cancer by 7 percent each time they give birth. The risk of this cancer will decrease again by 4.3 percent if the mother breastfeeds for 12 months.
The following are several reasons that can explain the reduced risk of breast cancer due to breastfeeding, including:
1. Reducing the duration of hormone exposure
Most women who breastfeed will experience hormonal changes that will delay menstruation and ovulation. This will reduce the duration of exposure to the hormone estrogen.
The hormone estrogen is a hormone that can encourage the growth of cancer cells. When exposure to this hormone is reduced, the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and uterine cancer will also decrease.
Also Read: 8 Characteristics of Breast Cancer that are Important for You to Recognize
2. Maintain Breast Cell Health
During breastfeeding, there will be shedding of breast tissue and maturation of cells. The process of tissue decay can help remove cells that have the potential to experience DNA damage, so that the risk of breast cancer can also be reduced.
3. Pay more attention to food intake
When breastfeeding, you will automatically focus more on meeting the nutritional needs of every food consumed. Every food consumed will affect the quality of breast milk for the baby.
Of course, you also definitely won’t do bad habits like smoking or consuming alcoholic beverages. Women who breastfeed can also experience more stable weight loss. This healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of breast cancer.
World Health Organization and American Institute for Cancer Research recommend exclusive breastfeeding for at least 6 months to get the benefits of breastfeeding. Breast milk can provide all the energy, nutrients and antibodies a baby needs for the first 6 months of life.
Also Read: 5 Ways to Take Care of Your Breasts During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding Tips to Keep Mothers and Babies Healthy
Here are some things you need to pay attention to so that the breastfeeding process can provide maximum benefits for babies and mothers, including:
- Avoid consuming alcoholic beverages. No amount of alcohol is safe for babies. Therefore, you are advised not to consume it during the breastfeeding period.
- Quit smoking. Smoking can decrease your milk supply and cause colic. In addition, smoking can also increase the risk of cancer.
- Limit consumption of fish. Although fish is a good source of protein and omega-3s, it also contains mercury and other contaminants that can be harmful to both mother and baby.
- Consult with a doctor first before taking the drug. Most drugs are safe for consumption when breastfeeding without having an effect on the baby. However, medications can affect the milk that is produced. Mothers are advised to consult a doctor before taking any medication.
- Breastfeed according to the baby’s wishes. CThis way can ensure your baby can get enough milk in the early stages of life. In addition, this method can make breast cells focus more on producing milk.
- Limit processed and ready-to-eat foods. These foods are generally high in sugar, salt, fat, and contain carcinogenic chemical compounds (such as nitrites). These various ingredients will affect the mother’s health and the content of breast milk produced.
In the end, breastfeeding is not an easy thing. Therefore, you need to get support and help from those closest to you to help the breastfeeding process run smoothly. Don’t forget to learn about the breastfeeding process even before your little one is born.
- Anonymous. 2022. Breastfeeding Nutrition: Tips For Moms. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/breastfeeding-nutrition/art-20046912. (Accessed March 1, 2023).
- Anonymous. 2022. Breastfeeding and Medicines. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/baby/breastfeeding-and-bottle-feeding/breastfeeding-and-lifestyle/medicines/. (Accessed March 1, 2023).
- Anonymous. Breastfeeding and Alcohol, Drugs, and Smoking. https://wicbreastfeeding.fns.usda.gov/breastfeeding-and-alcohol-drugs-and-smoking. (Accessed March 1, 2023).
- Cordeiro, Brittany. 2014. Breastfeeding Lowers Your Breast Cancer Risk. https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/breastfeeding-breast-cancer-prevention.h19-1589046.html. (Accessed March 1, 2023),
- Stordal, Britta. 2022. Breastfeeding Reduces The Risk Of Breast Cancer: A Call For Action In High-Income Countries With Low Rates Of Breastfeeding. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/cam4.5288. (Accessed March 1, 2023).
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