U.S. News & World Report offers four reasons women should breastfeed their children:
• Reproductive cancers. Prolonged nursing lowers risks of breast, ovarian and endometrial cancer. This could be because it suppresses the hormones that play a role in those cancers.
• Heart disease. Women who nurse for at least 24 months during their lives have a 23 percent lower risk of developing heart disease. Nursing may also decrease dangerous visceral fat.
• Rheumatoid arthritis. A number of studies have linked breastfeeding to protection from rheumatoid arthritis. One found that nursing for a total of two years decreased the risk by 50 percent.
• Diabetes. Nursing protects against type 2 diabetes, possibly because lactation makes cells more sensitive to the hormone insulin.