A new study published in The Journal of Clinical Nursing reveals that mothers who breast feed their babies longer than 6 months may receive protection against breast cancer. The authors reviewed over 500 breast feeding mothers (smokers and non-smokers) who developed breast cancer.
A new study published in The Journal of Clinical Nursing reveals that mothers who breast feed their babies longer than 6 months may receive protection against breast cancer. The authors reviewed over 500 breast feeding mothers (smokers and non-smokers) who developed breast cancer. Non-smoking mothers who breast fed longer than 6 months got the cancer about 10 years later than non-smoking mothers who breastfed for 3-6 months or not at all. If mothers smoked, however, breast feeding seemed to have less impact on when they got cancer. This may be due to the fact that smoking cigarettes could override the cancer protective qualities of breast feeding.
We have known for a long time that breast milk is superior to formula for babies. For starters, it helps babies’ immune systems, promotes bonding between mothers and babies, and has even shown to lower depression in mothers. This study gives us one more very good reason to encourage moms to breast feed as long as they can.
When mothers bring their newborns to me for checkups, we always talk about feeding and I always encourage mothers to breast feed. But before we talk about feeding, I ask mothers how they are doing.
Are they getting any sleep? Are their husbands, family members or friends helping them? When do they have to go back to work? I feel that it is important to hear from mothers because often they are exhausted and feel they have no control over their lives. And—they are given far more “helpful instruction” from parents and friends than they are heard by those folks. So we need to take time and really listen to how moms are doing.
THE LAST THING I WANT TO DO IS MAKE A MOTHER FEEL THAT SHE HAS NO CHOICE OVER HOW SHE PARENTS (AND THIS INCLUDES HOW SHE FEEDS HER BABY).
Then, when we discuss feeding, of course, I ask mothers if they are breast feeding or using formula. I try to stay open because most are anxious about being good moms, and they feel that breast feeding is part of this.