Women who breast-feed are less likely to develop breast cancer, ovarian cancer, Type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis and may have improved cardiovascular health.
Most women know breast-feeding is good for their babies’ health. But doctors and midwives rarely tell moms-to-be that it’s also good for nursing mothers.
Nursing mothers reduce their relative risk of breast cancer by 4.3 percent for every 12 months they breast-feed, in addition to a relative decrease of 7 percent for each birth. Breast-feeding is particularly protective against some of the most aggressive tumors, called hormone receptor-negative or triple-negative tumors, which are more common among African-American women, studies show. It also lowers the risk by one-third for women who are prone to cancer because of an inherited BRCA1 mutation.
Women who breast-feed are also less likely to develop ovarian cancer, Type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis and may have improved cardiovascular health.
Yet only 16 percent — or fewer than one in five women surveyed — said their doctors had told them that breast-feeding is good for mother as well as baby, according to a new study published in Breastfeeding Medicine.