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Attention moms and moms-to-be: Breastfeeding could reduce your baby's leukaemia risk by up to 19%

by , 03 June 2015

A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics has uncovered an interesting new finding: Breastfeeding your baby could put him or her at lower risk of developing leukaemia - a common childhood cancer…

Leukaemia is a cancer of the bone marrow that impedes the natural formation of blood cells. Despite being the most common childhood cancer in the world - accounting for about 30% of cancers in childhood - scientists still don't know much about the causes of leukaemia…

Researchers behind the study, from the University of Haifa in Israel, now explain to you that breastfed babies are up to 19% less likely to develop childhood leukaemia. Read on to find out more…

Common leukaemia risk factors

For their study, the researchers analysed 18 studies examining the impact of breastfeeding on risk of childhood leukaemia
They found that breastfeeding for six months or longer can decrease your baby’s risk of developing leukaemia in childhood by 19%, compared with no breastfeeding or breastfeeding for a shorter period.
The team also noted that breastfeeding for any duration can decrease your baby’s risk of developing leukaemia by 11%, compared with no breastfeeding…
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How breast milk can protect your baby against leukaemia

Suggesting a potential mechanism behind the protective effects of breast milk, the authors explain that breast milk influences the development of a baby’s immune system as it contains assorted immunologically active components and anti-inflammatory defence mechanisms. 
These mechanisms may supply more stem cells to babies, and in turn help prevent cancer forming in the blood-forming cells, they add.
The study also explains that breast milk is a “total food” that’s able to exclusively supply a baby with all of the nutrition he or she needs. Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend that babies are breastfed for at least the first six months to ensure healthy growth and development.
After those first six months, they recommend that babies receive nutritious and safe complementary foods, but they say that it’s safe to keep breastfeeding for up to two years – or even longer, if you wish.
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Attention moms and moms-to-be: Breastfeeding could reduce your baby's leukaemia risk by up to 19%
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