Recommendations for Cancer Prevention
9. It is best for mothers to breastfeed exclusively for up to 6 months and then add other liquids and foods.
Evidence shows that breastfeeding can help protect mothers from breast cancer. It also protects babies from excess weight gain that can lead to their being overweight in adult life. And overweight adults have higher cancer risk.
According to the expert report, the evidence that breastfeeding protects mothers against breast cancer is convincing. Having been breastfed probably protects children against overweight and obesity. Overweight and obese children tend to remain overweight in adult life.
Breastfeeding lowers the levels of some cancer-related hormones in the mother’s body, reducing the risk of breast cancer. At the end of breastfeeding, the body gets rid of any cells in the breast that may have DNA damage. This reduces the risk of breast cancer developing in the future.
Research shows that babies who are breastfed are less likely to consume too many calories and too much protein than babies who are fed infant formula. This means that they are less likely to become overweight or obese as they grow up.
If you’re planning to breastfeed your baby, your doctor or certified lactation consultant will be able to provide more information and support.