When you are pregnant, what you eat, breathe, drink – even what you put on your skin – can affect your baby. The same is true when you are breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding has many benefits for both mothers and children. In addition to strengthening the bond between them, it reduces the risk of breast cancer in mothers and prevents excess weight gain in children. To achieve full health benefits for mother and child, it is recommended that mothers who are able to breast feed do so until the child is six months old.
Breastfeeding is also a potential route of exposure to chemicals that have entered a woman’s body from her environment.However, breastfeeding is still recommended and its benefits far outweigh the risks for the vast majority of women. While researchers have not yet made a direct connection between a pregnant or breastfeeding woman’s exposure to chemicals like phthalates (THA-lates) and bisphenol A (BPA) and her daughter’s risk of developing breast cancer as an adult, you might consider taking steps to reduce the amount of these chemicals around you and your baby.
Even a few of these changes could help your daughter grow up to be a healthier woman.
For more information:
- Breastfeeding and Breast Milk: Overview – National Institute of Child Health & Human Development
- Breastfeeding – womenshealth.gov