Updated: Nov 23, 2022
Reviewed by - Dr. Anuja Khare Joshi (Lactation Consultant)
The basic feature of cancerous cells is to not sit idle. It starts multiplying without any purpose, has no control over its multiplication and the cell has no idea why it is multiplying.
The logic is simple, as long as all your body parts and their cells are functioning well, and they know what they are doing, we are good. The moment they lose their mind, we lose ours!
Researchers say that breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancer in breastfeeding women more than in non-breastfeeding women. But they cannot confirm it as there are women who have breastfed and had cancer as well.
The main reason is, that these studies are done on a fixed number of women from a particular region. There are so many factors to be considered in such studies like their lifestyle, region they live in, their genetics, any heredity disorders, previous history of illness, medication, and many other habits that can vary for each individual.
It is difficult to track down each and every aspect of an individual on a day-to-day basis. Hence such studies/research can be referred to but cannot be completely relied upon.
Why breastfeeding is important?
Breastfeeding is not only beneficial for the baby but also for the mother. As the hormones are keeping the cells busy in producing milk for the baby and have to be active throughout the breastfeeding journey.
As I said before, cells have to continuously function else they start losing their mind. It is also said that estrogen levels are the culprits and breastfeeding delays exposure to estrogen.
For some women, as long as they are exclusively breastfeeding*, there could be a delay in their menstrual cycle and this, in turn, can help in preventing ovarian cancer as well. Basically, hormones are instructing the cells to produce milk and keep them active and busy, so the cells are healthy and burning their calories well.
The longer you breastfeed, it is beneficial for both the baby and you and it is recommended to exclusively breastfeed at least for the first six months.
You can read about breastfeeding's advantages & disadvantages here.
So, why breastfeeding is related to cancer prevention?
Breastfeeding burns a lot of calories, it requires you to keep yourself hydrated, and most importantly you have to eat healthily! Also, delay exposure to estrogen which can cause breast and ovarian cancer.
Breastfeeding mothers do not want their babies to suffer because of indigestion, so they are careful of what they eat because “What you eat goes to your baby through your milk”. In order to produce milk in a regular manner, you have to maintain a healthy lifestyle and most women eat healthy food to feed the baby.
Also, constant monitoring of breasts is happening. You are constantly vigilant and looking, checking for breast engorgement, any lumps, or anything unusual during your breastfeeding journey.
Breastfeeding mothers also avoid smoking and alcohol and they automatically become conscious eaters and stick to majorly a good diet.
Research and studies are based on people from certain regions. It is clearly impossible to carry out studies in every region! It can take years and years to come to a conclusion, and there will be more and more new people getting added to the region.
These studies are needed so that we can take reference and see a common pattern based on high-level parameters. It can vary when the level comes down to an individual.
However, we recommend you breastfeed your baby unless otherwise there is a complication and you are not able to feed the baby. Though there is no hundred percent guarantee, breastfeeding does help and has many benefits for both the mother and the baby.
Breastmilk is a natural food in its purest form. Embrace motherhood, embrace breastfeeding, and take care of yourself.
*Exclusive breastfeeding means you breastfeed your baby regularly every day and breastfeed only breastmilk.
What do you think is the most common factor that leads to cancer? type below👇