Breastfeeding Lowers Your Risk of Cancer But I Still Wouldn't Do It

Breastfeeding. It’s a personal decision. It’s the way God made mothers; it’s best for baby; blah blah blah. Look, in a perfect world, breastfeeding would be a beautiful, wonderful bonding experience for every mama out there, and we would all do it for just the perfect amount of time before creating a national scandal by nursing your preschooler on the cover of a magazine.

But it’s not a perfect world, and that’s why God gave us scientists and nutritionists to make formula. Or something. But if any of you moms-to-be out there are still wavering on the whole issue, a new discovery might influence your decision: Breastfeeding exclusively for six months significantly reduces your chances of getting cancer later in life.

That’s right -- we knew it was healthfully beneficial for baby, but who knew it was for mom too? Researchers have studied the effects of breastfeeding on nearly 380,000 people over 13 years and have found that exclusively nursing your baby for six months can cut your chances of dying from cancer and other diseases by 17 percent!

Part of the same study found that lowering your intake of red meat and alcohol can also contribute to better health. Yeah ... I don’t think I’m going to do that either.

It’s cool and all that yet another benefit of breastfeeding has been found, and it’s a testament to how awesome the human body is -- but breastfeeding isn’t for everyone. I nursed my first daughter for a full year, and my second for a scant two months, and I feel like I had a much better experience with little sister.

It wasn’t even a supply issue, or painful mastitis, or anything other than the fact that I simply didn’t want to. And that’s ok. It should be ok for moms to make parenting decisions that make them the best moms they can be. It’s freaking hard enough as it is; we don’t need other people making us feel like bad mothers because we didn’t do the best of everything.

So yeah, it’s a cool stat and may make the difference to some moms in deciding how to feed their babies, but it’s still fine to shake up that bottle of formula. And if you’re really worried about not getting that added cancer-fighting-whatever-it-is, there are other things you can do like eating well and exercising.

It’s all about balance.

Would this information have influenced you when you were deciding how to feed your infant?


Image via Life Mental Health/Flickr

baby first year, baby health, breastfeeding, bonding, in the news, formula, natural parenting, newborns

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Tatto... TattoodMommy19

No, it wouldn't have influenced me. I nursed both my daughters, and am still nursing my youngest at 17 months.

I nursed because my children deserve the best start in life possible.

I love nursing my daughter

jalaz77 jalaz77

No. I nursed because I wanted to, easy, cheap, no mess, no extra bottles to carry around, ready to eat at all times, were some of my reasons. If you are feeding your child, loving your child, give them shelter, clothing...you are already giving them the best start in life.

Truel... Truelove77

Loved this article I had issues with Breast feeding...but cool to know there is a benefit for mama.

Katy Khan

@tattoodmommy, I COMPLETELY agree. I understand not all moms can physically (though that is rare) and that some moms just can't due to work, I get it. But flippantly disregarding the health benefits for the child and saying 'well my baby is healthy" ....well no one said your baby is going to die if you don't bf...but his/her iq is absolutely a few points lower than it would have been and he or she is more likely to develop obesity and all of it's related health effects, he or she is more likely to develop degenerative brain disease later in life and is more likely to be less of a social butterfly at school...and the list goes on and on and on and on and on.....so yes, there is a HUGE difference between formula and breast milk, that's an undeniable fact of life. I would never choose to give my baby a distant second best food.  

bills... billsfan1104

I breasted and still got breast cancer. I also agree if you don't want to breast feed you have that right. I wish breast feeding advocates would stop degrading others because the "choose" not to breast feed. What happened to "my body my choice"?

femal... femaleMIKE

Call me an Ass but what influenced my decision to try breastfeeding on my baby (due July) is the fact that its free and it will help me to lose weight (as long as I eat healthy).


We all make our decisions differently.

femal... femaleMIKE

The IQ thing was proved to be inaccurate.


6 of 8 of my siblings have been bf for around 2 years. The bf one's aren't neccesarily smarter then the formula fed ones.

femal... femaleMIKE

Katie Khan,  my siblings that were bf are slightly overweight. One of them has a laundry list of health problems.  long term health isn't just about breastfeeding.

randh... randhferedinos

My commitment to breastfeeding was for the health of my children. Babies deserve to be breastfed if possible! I already had heard that the risks of cancer were lower because of breastfeeding, neat!

nonmember avatar CrystalMP

I was the only one of my siblings who didnt get to be breast fed and I'm the smallest of my siblings by 60 pounds. My husband was breast fed until he was almost two and he is about 50 pounds overweight and the iq thing is a bunch of bs too

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