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as sexual objects, instead of what they really are: They are a natural, beautiful parts of a woman’s body that were originally made to nourish and feed a child.
The health 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.
- 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 terrible twos? 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.
- Weight loss: Some mothers say that they just could not lose weight while breastfeeding, but then others lose the weight really quickly.
- Prolonged breastfeeding can decrease mom’s risk of breast, ovarian and endometrial cancer. It also decreases the risk of osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
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.
- You might find it difficult to keep him/her from wanting to breastfeed and undress you in public! Hee hee.
- 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 toddler.
Other pages on “breastfeeding problems” in connection with breastfeeding toddlers
* Rubbery, textured nubs offer excellent teething relief.
* Gets to those hard-to-reach molars.
* Anti-choke shield prevents over-insertion...
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Site by BFeeding Mamma, Tracy Behr, Studying through Child birth international (CBC, CBD), Author and Mommy of two.