Can Breastfeeding Lower Your Breast Cancer Risk? Breasts 101

Can Breastfeeding Lower Your Breast Cancer Risk?

Deciding to breastfeed can be rewarding but tough, so keep in mind that each woman has to do what’s right for herself and her baby. But for those on the fence, it’s good to note that breastfeeding can lower breast cancer risk, especially if a woman breastfeeds for longer than a year.

There are several reasons why breastfeeding protects breast health:

  • Making milk 24/7 limits breast cells’ ability to act abnormally.
  • When they’re breastfeeding, most women have fewer menstrual cycles, resulting in lower estrogen levels.
  • Many women tend to eat more food and follow healthier lifestyles (including limiting smoking and limiting alcohol use) while breastfeeding.

But remember, women who choose not to breastfeed can still make the same healthy lifestyle choices and benefit from lower estrogen by missing periods during their pregnancy.

Whether or not you breastfeed, there are additional lifestyle choices you can make to keep your breast cancer risk as low as possible, including maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly.

These are just a few of the steps you can take for a healthier lifestyle as you navigate motherhood.

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