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Breastfeeding linked to lower breast cancer risk

11/08/2009 20:00:00 admin
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By Rachel Stockton (

Your mother was right; when it comes to feeding an infant “breast is best.”

A new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows a direct link between breastfeeding and a 59% reduction of breast cancer risk. The women studied had a first degree relative (mother or sister) who’d had the disease.

The next step in further study is to determine what it is about suppressing milk that puts a woman’s body at risk. Scientists will look to discover a potential inflammation response as a result of engorgement, or some other trigger.

In addition to the decreased breast cancer rates, breast feeding also lowers Type II diabetes risk and accelerates weight loss as it simultaneously lowers ovarian cancer and cardiovascular disease risk. Additionally, it facilitates the shrinking of the uterus back down to pre-pregnancy size.

In May, a Swedish study concluded that women who breastfed their babies from 1-12 months cut their rheumatoid arthritis risk by 25%, while those who breastfed longer than one year cut their risk by half. Scientists dedicated to the project say it might be due to the long-term changes in the immune system that breastfeeding incurs.

And a woman’s body customizes her baby’s needs. For the first few days after childbirth, a mother secretes a thick, yellow substance called colostrom. Studies have indicated that colostrum provides the baby with some of the benefits of the mother’s immune system, while getting the baby used to feeding.

It’s hard to imagine, but there was a time in American history when breastfeeding was frowned upon. In 1956, the percentage of breastfeeding mothers dropped down to 20%. That year the La Leche Leaugue was formed as an effort to educate physicians and mothers on the nutritional benefits of breast milk. By 1982, the breast feeding population grew to 61.9.%

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August 13, 2009 - Posted by | Article

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