Scientists have found consistent evidence that breastfeeding protects against premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancer. Based on this scientific evidence, one of our 10 Recommendations for Cancer Prevention is that women should aim to breastfeed their babies exclusively for six months, and then continue with complementary breastfeeding after that. This is in line with advice from the Department of Health and the World Health Organization.
Not only can breastfeeding help prevent breast cancer, it probably helps prevent excess weight gain in children too. Breastfed babies have a decreased risk of becoming overweight or obese later in life, which may help reduce their risk of cancer in adulthood. Research shows that babies who are breastfed are less likely to consume too many calories than babies who are fed infant formula.
Check out our A Closer Look At: Breastfeeding leaflet for more information.