Exclusive breastfeeding reduces the risk of leukemia in children
Breast milk or breast milk is known to have many benefits for newborns. In fact, the fluid secreted by the breast glands is believed to protect children from blood cancer or leukemia. How does the medical world see this? Check out the full explanation below.
The Link between ASI and Leukemia in Children
Leukemia or blood cancer is the most common type of cancer in children and adolescents.
The exact cause of this condition is not known with certainty. However, there are several factors that can increase the risk such as genetics, immune system problems, infection.
A study reveals that Breast milk is believed to reduce the risk of blood cancer in children.
This study concluded that children who were breastfed for 6 months or more had a 20 percent lower risk of developing blood cancer compared to children who did not receive breast milk or received it for a shorter duration.
The researchers suggest that this is due to the antibodies present in breast milk acting as prebiotics, thereby promoting digestive health. Breast milk also has anti-inflammatory properties that can support the baby’s digestive system.
The protein content lactoferrin in breast milk can help kill microbes and reduce inflammation. Oligosaccharides in breast milk are a type of carbohydrate that can prevent infection.
Its anti-inflammatory properties and compounds that support the immune system and microorganisms are what make breast milk believed to reduce the risk of blood cancer in children.
Also Read: 14 Healthy Foods for Breastfeeding Mothers
Other Benefits of Breast Milk for Babies
Apart from reducing the risk of blood cancer, breast milk also has many other benefits for babies, including:
1. Provides Ideal Nutrition for Babies
Many health experts recommend giving exclusive breastfeeding to babies for 6 months or more. Breast milk contains all the nutrients a baby needs during the first months of life. The nutritional content will even change depending on the baby’s needs.
2. Supports Ideal Body Weight
Consumption of breast milk can help babies experience ideal weight gain and help avoid obesity in infants.
This can be caused by the development of various bacteria in the digestive system, thereby affecting fat storage in the body.
In addition, babies who are given breast milk are also known to have more leptin in their bodies compared to those who are given formula milk. Leptin is a hormone that regulates appetite and fat storage.
Also Read: 8 Breast Milk Enhancement Foods That Are Proven Effective
3. Optimizing Brain Development
Several studies have stated that there are differences in the brain development of babies who are given breast milk and babies who are given formula milk.
Babies who are breastfed are known to have a higher intelligence value and tend not to have problems with learning abilities while growing up.
This difference may be due to the nutritional content between breast milk and formula milk. In addition, babies who are breastfed will be closer to their mothers.
Consumption of Formula Milk Increases the Risk of Leukemia in Children?
There is information that says that giving formula milk increases the risk of children getting leukemia. Is that true?
Please note, consumption of formula milk does not cause blood cancer in children. However, formula milk can cause changes in gut microorganisms. Several studies suggest that these changes can alter the immune system’s response to pathogens.
A 2019 study indicated that breastfeeding for a shorter time or not at all slightly increases the risk of childhood leukemia.
However, if you cannot provide breast milk (due to a medical condition) for your little one, formula milk is the best choice for your baby’s food.
Ultimately, childhood leukemia is a rare disease. Breastfeeding for 6 months or more can reduce the risk of blood cancer in infants, but does not completely eliminate the risk.
- Anonymous. 2020. Risk Factors for Childhood Leukemia. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/leukemia-in-children/causes-risks-prevention/risk-factors.html. (Accessed 10 February 2023).
- Bjarnadottir, Adda. 2020. 11 Benefits of Breastfeeding for Both Mom and Baby. https://www.healthline.com/health/breastfeeding/11-benefits-of-breastfeeding. (Accessed 10 February 2023).
- Pietrangelo, Ann. 2022. Can Breastfeeding Reduce the Risk of Childhood Leukemia? https://www.healthline.com/health/leukemia/breastfeeding-and-leukemia. (Accessed 10 February 2023).
- Sissons, Beth. 2021. Breastfeeding To Prevent Or Treat Leukemia. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/breastfeeding-and-leukemia. (Accessed 10 February 2023).
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