Breast Feeding Reveals Benefits for Mothers
Research has shown proof of the significance of breast-feeding for both infants and the mother. Based on a report from the Associated Press on January 30, 2001, women who breast-fed their babies for 2 years or longer decreased their risk of breast cancer by 50%. The study by Yale University following rural women in China, discovered that the advantages to the mother are generally long lasting and may decrease cancer risk before and after menopause.
In the US, fewer than 1/3 of women keep on breast-feeding for 6 months after the birth of their infant. Only modest amounts of women in the US breast-feed their babies until 2 years old. However, in China, as in other developing areas, breast-feeding for extended amounts of time is common.
One of the 2 possible reasons provided by the researchers was that breast-feeding decreases exposure to estrogen and the female hormone cycles. Another possible reason given is that fat-soluble cancer causing agents along with other pollutants aren't stored in the tissues of women's breasts as easily when they're breast-feeding.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast-feeding for babies at least up to the first year of life. UNICEF and the World Health Organization go even farther and recommend that babies be breast-fed with the addition of other foods until at least the age of two.