Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival: Favorite Breastfeeding Benefit

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about the long-term benefits of breastfeeding. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th-31st!

Today’s theme for the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival is “Favorite Breastfeeding Benefits,” however I prefer to think in terms of “reason I am most thankful I breastfeed.”

I believe that breastfeeding is the biological norm. I like the way Breastfeeding USA thinks of these “side effects” not necessarily as benefits for breastfeeding, but drawbacks of not breastfeeding.Mother breastfeeding a baby outdoor

Thinking in that lens, for me, the reason I am most thankful for breastfeeding is that not breastfeeding increases a mother’s chance of contracting premenopausal breast cancer. I’ve watched women in my family battle breast cancer. I’ve seen how cancers of all sorts can ravage the body. I’m so thankful that nursing my children has helped to arm me against this disease.

The numbers are pretty staggering. Breastfeeding for 12 months is associated with up to a 28% decreased risk of developing breast cancer at any age for women without a family history of the disease. For women (like me) with a family history, breastfeeding is associated with a 59% reduced risk of premenopausal breast cancer.

And the effects are cumulative, so that the longer a woman nurses her baby (or babies), the more she is lowering her risk. Scientists have speculated a causal relationship explaining why countries like the United States with lower rates and duration of breastfeeding also have higher rates of breast cancer.

Pretty compelling reasons to stick with breastfeeding! I continue to hope that care providers will learn more about the mechanics and realities of breastfeeding so that new mothers aren’t booby-trapped. I know there are moms every day whose breastfeeding relationship is compromised due to any number of societal barriers. It’s important for everyone to know that not breastfeeding can come with risks for moms down the line.

Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

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