Breastfeed For Your Health
Last year the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research launched its second expert report on Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer. Five years of work by nine research teams from universities throughout the world was assessed by a group of 21 internationally renowned scientists who then formulated a list of 10 recommendations for the prevention of cancer including a special one, just for mothers entitled ‘breastfeed’.
Breastfeeding has long been known to aid in the prevention of breast cancer. There is significant inverse relationship between the amount of time you lactate and your risk of breast cancer, i.e. the longer you lactate the lower your risk. Breastfeeding also lowers the incidences of ovarian, uterine and endometrial cancers.
Osteoporosis is a condition of bone thinning generally found in postmenopausal women. Despite that fact that a breastfeeding woman’s bone mineral density is reduced while she is lactating, she is less likely to develop osteoporosis. Upon weaning, the mother not only regains her bone mineral density, it actually increases over her pre-lactating state. Like breast cancer prevention, the more a mother breastfeeds the less her chances of developing osteoporosis.
Research has shown that breastfeeding mothers tend to lose weight faster than non- breastfeeding mothers. Obesity is implicated in many illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease. Included in the 10 recommendations for the prevention of cancer, as mentioned above, is to be as lean as possible within the normal range of body weight.
Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the mother’s risk of rheumatoid arthritis. It also decreases the insulin requirements of diabetic mothers. I am sure that research will continue to uncover health benefits of breastfeeding for mothers just as it is discovering more health benefits for babies all the time. Breastfeeding your baby is a proven investment for a healthier future for both your baby and you.