Crazy thing my friend was told about breastfeeding - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 10-28-2010, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The 'breastfeeding expert' at the hospital told my friend that in Asia they only feed from the right breast and so the breast cancer rates are higher in the left breasts of women there. All because they feed from the right only. For certain reasons my friend was only doing it from the right and now is scared to, so is moving slowly to formula only! Is this crazy thing true?

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#2 of 7 Old 10-28-2010, 04:08 PM
 
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Breastfeeding does reduce your breast cancer risk, and it would seem logical that if you only nurse on one breast, your chance in the other breast is higher, but it wouldn't be any higher than if you formula fed.

So, if you nurse with only the right breast, your right breast might have a reduced risk of cancer, while the left one would have a normal risk, not raised risk.

Going to formula in that case makes no sense.
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#3 of 7 Old 10-28-2010, 05:26 PM
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This is based on the observations of Dr. Roy Ing who studied the Tanka fisherwomen in Hong Kong. While the study was of women in Asia, it is of a small group of Asian women, not all Asian women. This group wore dresses that only opened on the right side and for concenience, nursed only on the right side. 79% of the breast cancers were on the left breast.

As Erica pointed out, this is not evidence that nursing one one side is a risk to the other breast. It is evidence that breast cancer is much more likely in breasts that are not used to nurse. It would be best if she used both her breasts to nurse, but if she only nurses on the right side, it still gives protection to the right side. If she weans to formula, she has lost the anti-cancer benefits of breastfeeding for both breasts.
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#4 of 7 Old 10-28-2010, 05:27 PM
 
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I've never heard that, but if anything, what those women are doing is lowering their risk of breast cancer in the right breast, not exactly raising it in their left breast. What the LC probably meant was the they had a higher rate of breast cancer in left breasts than right, not higher rate of breast cancer in the left breast than would be there in the first place. Does that make sense? Switching to formula would just mean that your friend will have a higher risk of breast cancer in both breasts instead of a reduced risk in the right breast if she were to continue to nurse on that side. If that's even true, which I'm not sure of. I was under the impression that it was the hormones involved in lactation that reduced the cancer risk, not the physical act of breastfeeding, but I could be wrong.

ETA: Posted at the same time as the PP - would pumping from the other side then confer breast cancer protection if there was some physical issue that make it difficult to actually nurse the baby from that side I wonder?

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#5 of 7 Old 10-28-2010, 05:35 PM
 
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my grandmother nursed 6 kids, and did end up using her right breast much more than her left simply due to convenience. She would bf while walking around, yelling at kids, etc. It was easier to hold a baby in the crook of her right arm than her left.

She warned against this due to lopsidedness, and offered to show my her breasts as an example, just in case I didn't take her seriously! lol!

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#6 of 7 Old 10-29-2010, 12:14 PM
 
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Yeah, seems like I read that in one of Ina May's books! Crazy...
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#7 of 7 Old 10-31-2010, 04:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plarka View Post
The 'breastfeeding expert' at the hospital told my friend that in Asia they only feed from the right breast and so the breast cancer rates are higher in the left breasts of women there. All because they feed from the right only. For certain reasons my friend was only doing it from the right and now is scared to, so is moving slowly to formula only! Is this crazy thing true?
As has been covered, the left breast then has close to the same chance of cancer as if she had not bfed while the right breast would have a lower chance. Going to formula only would just increase the chance of cancer in her right breast to equal that in her left, not lower it (if it lowered it, you would see lower incidences of breast cancer in ffeeding moms, not the other way around).

 

 

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