We’ve been always told that breast-feeding is best for babies, but it also has a lot of perks for moms, too. You could burn excess calories and lower your risk of getting diseases. In addition, Science Daily reports that nonsmoking mothers could get an extra treat–protection against breast cancer.

Researcher Emilio González-Jiménez, PhD, of the University of Granada in Spain and his colleagues worked with 504 breast cancer patients between ages 19 and 91 in an effort to identify the link between breast cancer and breast-feeding. Factors such as family medical history, alcohol consumption, and smoking were taken into account.

Based on their findings, female cancer patients who nursed their children were diagnosed with the disease at a later age. However, those who breast-fed for more than six months and did not smoke were diagnosed 10 years later than those who did. The benefit did not seem to apply to smoking mothers even though they breast-fed, as they were diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age. Researchers conclude that in general, mothers who breast-feed and veer away from cigarettes may gain more protection against breast cancer as compared with their smoking counterparts.

Experts recommend women to nurse their babies for as long as a year or two. However, every mother and every child is unique, so it’s always best to consult your doctor.

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(Photo by JORGE RAVINES via Flickr Creative Commons)

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