Birth by Design

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Breastfeeding and Breast Cancer

I have to admit, I am a blogging failure!  I wish I could remember to make posts on a regular basis, but life gets in the way.  OH, I often think of things I should write about, but I don't get them done.  But today I had something to say and I remembered!

This weekend I attended the funeral of a childhood friend who died of breast cancer.  It was very sad to see a lovely, vital person cut down at 48 years old.  She had a wonderful and full life, which she fully enjoyed.  She made a conscious choice to not have children.  Is this a valid choice, OF COURSE!  Could this have led to her early death, MAYBE.

Much research has been done recently about the connection between breastfeeding and breast cancer.  Breastfeeding not only protects your baby from many diseases, but gives her an edge against breast cancer.  But even more, breastfeeding protects you from cancer.  It has been suggested by researchers that the earlier a woman has her first baby, the more cancer protection she has.  Also, the cumulative months of breastfeeding give her more protection.  Having no pregnancies increases risks as well, but having an abortion, especially before a first completed pregnancy, greatly increases the risks.

Since my grandma died from breast cancer, it has my attention.  I get yearly mammograms and take care of myself.  But little did I know that my early pregnancies and multiple cumulative months of breast feeding my babies (90 months!) was giving me protection.  I wish I could say that it was because I was so wise, but I had no idea.  I lucked into it!

So, am I judging my friend's choices?  No, not really.  It does make me more thankful for mine.  What about you?  I would urge you not to wait too long for that first baby, if you have a choice.  I encourgage you to breastfeed and follow the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations, at least: exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and continuing to breastfeed along with introducing foods for at LEAST one year.  But nursing into the second and third year is valuable and enjoyable, for both mom and baby.  How do you think I got 90 months!!!

If you choose not to have children, or are unable, please get early and frequent mammograms.  Early detection could have saved my friend.  I had mine today...what about you?

3:15 pm est          Comments

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