Did you know that failing to breastfeed totally is a risk factor for breast, ovarian and uterine cancers among women?
Worse still is the fact that giving birth above 30 years makes women susceptible to breast cancer.
Geoffrey Mutuma, head of oncology and pathology research at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) said breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer primarily through two mechanisms.
One way is that the human milk, scientifically known as hamlet, induces the death of tumor cells found in the breasts.
Dr Mutuma says clinical research has proven that the complex components of human milk secretion lower the risk of breast cancer in women who breastfeed their babies exclusively for a certain period of time.
As a result, the hamlet provides safe and effective protection against the development of breast cancer. Breastfeeding also offers protection against ovarian cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and type two diabetes.
Another way in which breastfeeding reduces chances of getting cancer, Dr Mutuma said, is because of the differentiation of breast tissues and reduction of lifetime number of ovulatory cycles.
“I would urge women especially the working mothers to breastfeed exclusively for at least six months. This will not only be beneficial to the baby but also to the mother as it lowers to the chances of getting breast cancer,” said Dr Mutuma, who is also a former chief government pathologist and founder of Nairobi Cancer Registry.
Many women fear that if they breastfeed they would have sagging breasts but researchers confirm that breastfeeding doesn't make them wilt more.
In a 2007 study of 132 women, breastfeeding did not have a significant effect on breast ptosis, the medical term for sagging breasts. But age, smoking and the number of pregnancies a woman had did contribute to the shape of their breasts.