Lactation: Defense for Maternal Health

by Erin Kathryn Williams, BSN, and Elizabeth Smith, MPH ICCE IBCLC RLC

Abstract: Breastfeeding is beneficial for mothers as well as babies. Both breast and ovarian cancers are seen more frequently in women who do not breastfeed. Mothers who do not exclusively breastfeed for at least 1 month increase their risk of developing Type II diabetes. Lactation has been shown to prevent cardiovascular disease. Discontinuing breastfeeding in order to lessen perinatal mood and anxiety disorders may instead exacerbate symptoms. Breastfeeding is economical and has environmental benefits.

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