Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Most moms know the benefits of breastfeeding their child, but now researchers at the University of South Carolina believe moms can also benefit.

Specifically, researchers say breastfeeding reduces the risk of developing one of the most deadly forms of breast cancer.

It's a study geared toward African American mothers and experts are looking for more participants.

"Unfortunately, black women are less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, but more likely to die," said Dr. Tisha Felder, Assistant Professor at USC College of Nursing.

At the University of South Carolina, research happening in the College of Nursing is changing lives of women around the world.

Dr. Felder hopes that at the end of this story, you'll understand how breastfeeding can save lives.

Researchers have found that breastfeeding is not only good for your baby, but it also greatly reduces the risk of developing one of the most deadly forms of breast cancer.

"There's been a lot of growing research that has been showing that there's a very strong relationship between breastfeeding and reducing the risk of these very aggressive hard-to-treat breast cancers. So we hear a lot about triple negative cancers, for example," said Felder. "Breastfeeding can reduce the rate of developing those cancers by about 60%."

So why don't more women breastfeed -- specifically African American women in the South?

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report looked at women across the United States from 2011 to 2015. It found that out of 885 African American women in South Carolina, only 10% (roughly 85 women) breastfed exclusively for six months.

That number dropped to below 70 for moms who nursed an entire year. 

National numbers show 77% of new moms at least try to breastfeed. 

In South Carolina, that number is much lower for African American women. It sits at 55%.

"We want to make sure that women understand that we're not shaming anyone who doesn't because we understand how complex it is," said Felder.
"But we really want to do everything we can to help women get the resources and support should they choose to breastfeed."

The scientific benefits are without question.

"I think it's really just getting back to realizing that this is a very normal, natural process and there are so many physical, emotional benefits in doing it."

Dr. Felder's 5-week intervention study with new moms will use social media and social support to encourage breastfeeding for the first six months.

"Our project is called Mocha Mamas Milk, and we are looking for pregnant African American women," said Felder. "They just need to be 21 years of age, and speak English, and that's pretty much it."

Felder is the first professor in USC's College of Nursing to receive an award from the American Cancer Society on this study.

If you would like to help participate in the study, you can e-mail mochamamasmilk@gmail.com or connect with them on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.