Thursday, November 8, 2007

The American Center for Cancer Research on Breastfeeding

The American Center for Cancer Research has just released the new study on diet and cancer and includes specific recommendations to breastfeed--and be breastfed!

The breastfeeding summary:

Mothers to breastfeed; children to be breastfed!

The majority of mothers to breastfeed exclusively, for six months

Aim to breastfeed infants exclusively2 up to six months and continue with complementary feeding thereafter3
1 Breastfeeding protects both mother and child
2 'Exclusively' means human milk only, with no other food or drink, including water
3 In accordance with the UN Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding

The evidence on cancer as well as other diseases shows that sustained, exclusive breastfeeding is protective for the mother as well as the child.
This is the first major report concerned with the prevention of cancer to make a recommendation specifically on breastfeeding, to prevent breast cancer in mothers and to prevent overweight and obesity in children. Further details of evidence and judgments can be found in Chapters 6 and 8.
Other benefits of breastfeeding for mothers and their children are well known. Breastfeeding protects against infections in infancy, protects the development of the immature immune system, protects against other childhood diseases, and is vital for the development of the bond between mother and child. It has many other benefits. Breastfeeding is especially vital in parts of the world where water supplies are not safe and where impoverished families do not readily have the money to buy infant formula and other infant and young child foods. This recommendation has a special significance. While derived from the evidence on being breastfed, it also indicates that policies and actions designed to prevent cancer need to be directed throughout the whole life course, from the beginning of life.

To read the full report (all 500 pages!) go to:
Chapter 6 deals specifically with lactation