3 Breast Feeding Facts on How it Can Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer

We are celebrating World Breastfeeding Week by sharing helpful information on how breast feeding might lower your breast cancer risk.

Breastfeeding and Breast Cancer Risk

Breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast cancer, especially in premenopausal women [9,85-88].

A pooled analysis of data from 47 studies found that compared to mothers who never breastfed, [86]:

  1. Mothers who breastfed for a lifetime total (combined duration of breastfeeding for all children) of 1 year were slightly less likely to get breast cancer.
  2. Mothers who breastfed for a lifetime total of 2 years got about twice the benefit of those who breastfed for a total of 1 year.
  3. Mothers who breastfed for a lifetime total of more than 2 years got the most benefit.

Although data are limited, breastfeeding for less than 1 year may also lower breast cancer risk [86].

Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Breastfeeding may be especially good at lowering the risk of estrogen receptor-negative (including triple negative) breast cancers [87-92].  

For a summary of research studies on breastfeeding and breast cancer, visit the Breast Cancer Research Studies section.

Learn about other healthy lifestyle behaviors that may lower breast cancer risk.

Other health benefits of breastfeeding

Breastfeeding has other benefits for mothers, including lowering the risk of [93-94]:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Ovarian cancer