Setting It Straight on Breast-Feeding
“Facts about Bras, Breasts and Cancer” (June 19) contains some misleading information on breast-feeding.
First, breasts do produce early milk, or colostrum, days or weeks before childbirth. Colostrum--digestible, high-calorie and loaded with immunities--then gives way to mature milk in the days following birth.
Second, while breast-feeding does not absolutely prevent maternal breast cancer, women who breast-feed do have dramatically lower rates of breast, uterine and ovarian cancers. Because breast-feeding delays the return of menstrual cycles, often for a year or more, it reduces a woman’s lifetime estrogen exposure and cancer risk.
Finally, nutritional and immunological factors in breast milk also reduce the risk of a host of diseases, including childhood cancers, in breast-fed children.
LAURA HAYNES COLLECTOR
Breastfeeding Task Force of Greater Los Angeles