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Breastfeeding for Lower Cancer Risk

August is a great month to celebrate and promote breastfeeding because it is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month.

According to the Centers for Disease Control's Breastfeeding Report Card for 2013, just released yesterday, 49% of infants born in 2010 were breastfeeding at 6 months, up from 35% in 2000. At one year, 27% of moms were breastfeeding their baby compared to 16% in 2000.

One of the most important aspects of breastfeeding is the ample health benefits that both mothers and infants receive. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, breastfed infants have lower risk of respiratory infections, asthma, type 2 diabetes, and obesity as they age.

Did you also know that breastfeeding can lower cancer risk directly for mothers and indirectly for their child?

For Mothers
AICR's report and its continuous updates found that mothers who breastfeed have a lower risk of both premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancer.

AICR and The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend breastfeeding exclusively for six months. After a review of the global research, AICR concluded that the longer women breastfeed, the stronger the reduction in breast cancer risk.

For the Child
Breastfed infants receive nutrients, hormones and antibodies from their mother that promotes a healthy immune system.

Breastfeeding is also a natural way of providing appropriate calories and nutrients to baby. Mom produces breastmilk based on the demand from her child. With this natural portion control, parents are less likely to overfeed an infant who is nursed at the breast.

AICR's report and its continuous updates concluded that breastfed babies are less likely to be overweight as adults. This is important because excess body weight links to increased risk of seven types of cancer, including postmenopausal breast, endometrial, and colorectal cancer.

Resources for mothers

There are often many challenges mothers who want to breastfeed face. In today's blog, we discuss practices that help establish and support breastfeeding. Two resources that can help women include the Office of Women's Health or La Leche League.

You can read more about AICR's recommendation on breastfeeding.

Published on August 1, 2013

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