Does Breastfeeding Protect Moms From Breast Cancer?

There are so many reasons why breastfeeding is good for the child and mother, but in honor of World Breastfeeding week, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is highlighting one of the least recognized findings from its latest report: mothers who breastfeed have a lower risk of breast cancer. The lower risk is modest, but it is one additional motive to breastfeed for moms who are breastfeeding

Research also shows that babies who are breastfed are less likely to gain excess weight as they grow. Among adults, AICR research shows that overweight and obesity increases the risk of 11 common cancers.

“It isn’t always possible for moms to breastfeed but for those who can, know that breastfeeding can offer cancer protection for both the mother and the child,” said AICR’s Director of Nutrition Programs Alice Bender, MS, RDN.

AICR recommends that new mothers breastfeed exclusively for up to six months and then add other liquids and foods. This advice is in line with recommendations of other health organizations, including the World Health Organization. Breastfeeding provides the nutrients babies need, helps protect them from infections and asthma and boosts their immune system.