Breastfeeding Older Children
Should breastfeeding continue over the age of two?
Many mothers decide to wean their babies at six months, because of preconceived ideas in society about breastfeeding older children.
When some people think of breasts, they think of them as sexual objects, instead of what they really are: They are a natural, beautiful parts of a woman’s
body that were originally made to nourish and feed a child.
benefits of breastfeeding,
continue for as long as you breastfeed, so why not continue?
(Your baby is considered a toddler, from 13 months to three years of age. The world average age of weaning is 4 years)
There is no “perfect” or “right” time to stop breastfeeding your baby or toddler.
The Benefits of Breastfeeding Older Children
- Breastfeeding is convenient: You do not need to wean your baby before he/she is ready to wean.
- Breastfeeding is calming: Have you ever heard of the
Well, they are terrible. And in my case they lasted a whole year! When
you breastfeed a toddler, you can calm him/her when they start to feel
overwhelmed or upset.
- A breastfeeding toddler has immune protection: As
long as you are nursing a toddler, you are passing all your immunity towards illness to your child, who will benefit for years to come.
Nutrition: If your baby does not always eat enough food (especially when he/she is ill), at least he/she will continue to receive necessary
nutrients… and it’s free!
- Breastfed toddlers have been found to have a higher IQ and quicker motor skill development, compared to those who were only breastfed for a few months.
- A New Zealand study on breastfeeding older children (older than a
year), showed less behavioral problems in six to eight year olds.
Dr. Bill Sears - The Extended Breastfeeding Debate
Weight loss: Some mothers say that they just could not lose weight while
breastfeeding, but then others lose the weight really quickly.
Read more about breastfeeding and weight loss here.
- Prolonged breastfeeding
can decrease mom’s risk of breast, ovarian and endometrial cancer. It
also decreases the risk of osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Read more benefits of breastfeeding for Mom.
Breastfeeding, nutrition after six months
- Breast milk produced after six months, contains just the right amount of protein, fat and other elements that are appropriate for breastfeeding older children.
- A nursing toddler will receive greater amounts of immune protection factors, that protect against allergies and other illnesses.
- The breast milk will continue to contain all immune system factors, that help the gut, brain and other organs mature and develop.
The Challenges of Breastfeeding a Toddler
- You might find it difficult to keep him/her from wanting to breastfeed and undress you in public! Hee hee.
Read more about breastfeeding in public here.
- You might have to handle criticism from family, friends and even strangers. The best thing to do, is associate with other moms, who are “like minded” and who are also breastfeeding older children.
The transition away from the breast should be a gradual one for your baby and at your baby's own pace.
Studies show that the majority of children will wean
naturally, between the ages of 3 and 4.
So why not allow nature to take its
course? Don’t feel pressured by friends, family, or even your own
pediatrician to stop breastfeeding.
Do what works best for you and your
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Site by BFeeding Mamma, Tracy Behr. Currently studying through Child birth International (CBC, CBD). Also an accomplished author and Mommy of two.