Breastfeeding Older Children

Extended Nursing

Should breastfeeding continue over the age of two?

breastfeeding older children

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them as sexual objects, instead of what they really are: They are natural, beautiful parts of a woman’s body that were originally made to nourish and feed a child.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.

breastfed older child

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 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.

Dr. Bill Sears - The Extended Breastfeeding Debate

How Does Extended Breastfeeding Help Mom?

  • 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 a mother’s risk of breast, ovarian and endometrial cancer. It also lowers the risk of Osteoporosis and Rheumatoid arthritis. 

If you feel forced to wean, please read the following article first...

When should I stop breastfeeding?

Breastmilk Composition

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 higher 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. 
  • You might have to handle criticism from family, friends and even strangers. The best thing to do is to 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.

Leave an anonymous comment

Your comment...

What Other Moms Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

17 year old breastfeeding - fantasy  
I would never want anybody to know, but I often wish that I could still breastfeed. I would be mortified if anyone had to find out how I feel about it. …

Breastfeeding your older child 
I am still breastfeeding my 21 mth old. Every time I'm at my parents home and my daughter wants to nurse he is always saying things to discourage me or …

9 years old and still breastfeeding 
My son is now nine years old and still going strong. I love the bond it has created; we are like two peas in a pod! I still pick him up at lunchtime …

Weaning off breastfeeding 
I've been breastfeeding my twins for almost two years now.I decided that I have to wean them because I'm losing a lot of weight,and now that they are eating …

Click here to write your own.

Join us facebook breastfeeding page

privacy policy