Breastfeeding and Menopause



Early menopause – menopause before the age of 45 – increases a woman’s risk for cognitive deficits, bone density loss, and cardiac disease. While estrogen therapy can be protective in maintaining health in women who experience early menopause, pregnancy, and breastfeeding may help avoid it!


A recent National Institute of Health study showed that women who breastfed their infants exclusively for 1-12 months reduced their risk of early menopause by 28%, compared to women who breastfed for a month or less.



Pregnancy may also reduce the risk of early menopause. Women who had a full-term pregnancy lowered their risk of early menopause by 8%, compared to women who had never been pregnant, or those pregnant for less than six months. Women who had two full-term pregnancies reduced their risk by 16%, and those with three pregnancies lowered their risk by 22%. Researchers theorize that pregnancy and breastfeeding may slow or halt ovulation, thereby retaining ovarian supply and delaying the onset of menopause. 


The World Health Organization states that breastfeeding is a health issue, not a lifestyle choice, because breastfeeding confers so many protective health benefits to the infant and mother. Reducing risk for early menopause is one more reason feeding an infant by breast is best whenever possible.



bone health, breast health, cardiac health, estrogen, health education, hormone health, menopause, women's health

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