By Dr. Prabha. S,
The majority of individuals are aware of the numerous advantages of breastfeeding. Everyone has undoubtedly heard that it’s the best source of nutrition for most babies and that it offers a variety of health advantages. Breastfeeding can reduce a mother’s risk of breast and ovarian cancers, in addition to lowering her risk of type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. According to a recent study by the CDC, just approximately 1 in 4 people believe that breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer later in life. Therefore, it is crucial to understand that breastfeeding benefits not only the baby’s health but also the mother’s.
Benefits of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding has unrivalled health benefits for both mothers and newborns, as it is beneficial to one’s overall health. Breastfed babies are less likely to develop asthma, obesity, ear and respiratory infections, SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), and gastrointestinal diseases like diarrhoea. Breastfeeding also reduces the chance of a woman developing high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and breast and ovarian cancers.
Breast milk is particularly customized to fulfil the health needs of a growing baby, making it the clinical gold standard for infant feeding and nutrition. Hence, more should be done to support and protect mothers who choose to breastfeed their children.
Breastfeeding Lowering the risk of Breast and Ovarian Cancer
Age of menarche, number of pregnancies, age at first birth, lifetime duration of breastfeeding, age at menopause, and use of menopausal hormone therapy are all reproductive risk factors linked to breast cancer risk; however, research has found that these factors are associated with each subtype differently. Because breastfeeding is a modifiable risk factor, it is of particular relevance in the prevention of breast cancer.
Breastfeeding also has a number of advantages for the infant, including fewer episodes of diarrhoea, ear infections, and respiratory infections, as well as a lower risk of SIDS, diabetes, asthma, and childhood obesity. Breastfeeding not only lowers the risk of breast cancer, but it also has other health benefits for the mother, such as a lower risk of endometrial and ovarian cancers, as well as a lower chance of chronic diseases that are also cancer risk factors.
Lactation has a tremendous appeal as a potentially modifiable factor in the hunt for practical approaches to prevent breast cancer. Nonetheless, the link between breastfeeding and the risk of breast cancer requires more research. Lactation, especially for lengthy periods of time, has been linked to a slight reduction in the incidence of breast cancer in numerous recent case-control studies. Premenopausal women appeared to be the only ones who experienced this impact.
Breastfeeding has been shown to be a preventive factor against breast cancer. From a public health standpoint, the research linking breastfeeding to a higher risk of cancer emphasizes the necessity of providing all women with the resources they need to achieve their nursing goals. More effort is needed to better the contextual factors that influence population-level breastfeeding rates. It is imperative that we pay special attention to the needs of women in order to alleviate breastfeeding inequities and potentially contribute to lower breast cancer rates.
(The author is Consultant – Paediatrics & Neonatology, Milann Fertility & Birthing Hospital, Kumarapark, Bangalore. The article is for informational purposes only. Please consult medical experts and health professionals before starting any therapy, medication and/or remedy. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)