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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