Breastfeeding Past One AKA Extended Breastfeeding
Hey y’all! It’s Jess again and I’m here to talk about something near and dear to my heart: breastfeeding.
Let’s clear up one thing
Breastfeeding has come a long way. It isn’t just baby to breast anymore. I’m talking about anyone who feeds their baby human milk whether it be via donor milk, pumping, or nursing.
As soon as my daughter turned 1, everyone had an opinion about getting her off the breast. My favorites were “she doesn’t get anything from your milk anymore,” “she doesn’t need it,” “she’s too old for it now.”
My daughter still breastfeeds on demand. Wakes up about 3-8 times (it varies greatly night to night) to nurse and I am comfortable with that. We have no plans of stopping anytime soon.
Why do people always seem to have an opinion on feeding children?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends (AAP-Reaffirms-Breastfeeding-Guidelines) exclusively breastfeeding until 6 months of age and continuing to breastfeed with a combination of solid foods until age 2.
Many people choose to stop at the 6 month mark or at the year mark. This is amazing! Breastfeeding until any age is commendable.
Don’t breastfeed? No problem!
For those that don’t breastfeed, though, we see you and we know that there are many reasons not to breastfeed. You are supported here.
Just because this post is about breastfeeding does not mean that there is anything wrong with formula feeding. Fed is best.
Keep doing your best, mama.
Breastfeeding beyond the year mark
Now, let’s talk about breastfeeding past infancy. IT IS A GOOD THING. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Let me list some of the amazing benefits you can bring up when someone asks you when you plan to stop breastfeeding or tells you that your child no longer needs it.
Benefit 1: A Balanced Diet
Anyone who has ever tried to feed a child knows how difficult it can be to get them to eat all the stuff that’s good for them.
Breastfeeding is basically liquid gold. This is a way to ensure your child receives all the nutrition they need (whats-in-breastmilk).
The Mayo Clinic specifies “there is no known age at which breast milk is considered to become nutritionally insignificant for a child.” Breastfeed on mama!
Benefit 2: Reduced Risk of Certain Illnesses
Who said breastfeeding is only good for a baby? Breastfeeding is also good for you!
Breastfeeding for 12 months cumulatively has shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes (https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/faq/index.htm).
Are you impressed with this list? I know I am!
Benefit 3: Boosted Immunity and Better Overall Health
Experts from all over the world agree that the longer your baby breastfeeds, the better their health might be (https://www.bbc.com/news/health-44301125). On top of that, the cells, hormones, and antibodies in your breastmilk will continue to boost your child’s immunity!
Bonus benefit: Continued Comfort
Anyone who has breastfed can tell you the comfort a baby feels while breastfeeding. It is not just about the milk.
When a baby is scared or hurt, breastfeeding makes them feel close to mom and brings them comfort. This benefit can continue for whatever length of time you choose to breastfeed.
Continuing to breastfeed is a great way to continue bringing your child comfort while they take on the scary world of toddlerhood.
All over the world babies are breastfed. The norm around the world is for babies to wean between ages 2 and 4. Don’t be ashamed. This is normal. This is good.
What’s the right amount of time to breastfeed?
There isn’t one!
The right amount of time is as long as you and baby are comfortable.
Trust yourself. Trust your instincts.
Ultimately, the decision is yours and nobody else’s opinion matters.
Have you decided to breastfeed past infancy? If so, share some special moments you have shared with your toddler below 😊