Breastfeeding protects against breast cancer (especially premenopausal breast cancer). Breastfeeding appears to lower the risk of both estrogen receptor-positive and estrogen receptor-negative breast cancers.
In a pooled analysis of data from 47 studies, mothers who breastfed for a lifetime total of one year (combined duration of breastfeeding for all children) were slightly less likely to get breast cancer than those who never breastfed. Mothers who breastfed for a lifetime total of two years got about twice the benefit of those who breastfed for a total of one year. Women who breastfed for a lifetime total of more than two years had even more benefit.
Other health benefits of breastfeeding
- Type 2 diabetes
- Ovarian cancer
- Postpartum depression
- Middle ear infections
- Asthma and respiratory infections
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Type 2 (and possibly type 1) diabetes