Friday, April 12, 2013

Extended Breastfeeding: Benefits for mom and baby don’t expire

As we approach the year anniversary of the much-talked about TIME magazine cover of Jamie Lynn Grumet breastfeeding her toddler (read her insights here), many more voices have joined the conversation about attachment parenting and extended breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding through at least the first 12 months though standards of how long to breastfeed vary across cultures and personal beliefs. It is important to know that the benefits of breastfeeding continue for you and your baby as long as you are nursing and last far beyond weaning. Just because baby turns one, the benefits don’t diminish or expire on a magic date!

A Lansinoh survey found that 52 percent of moms in the US breastfeed between 6-12 months, but only 19 percent nursed beyond a year. That same study found that 56 percent of moms in Turkey breastfed past 12 months, while 13 percent of UK moms and 10 percent of German moms nursed past a year. Additional data on extended breastfeeding around the world can be seen here.
Photo credit to Kelly Verdeck

When parents choose to introduce cow’s milk is a personal decision, though traditionally in the US, it’s around the time a baby celebrates her first birthday. But some moms, as mentioned above, choose to continue breastfeeding until their baby is 18 months, 24 months, 3 years or even older. Whatever decision you make, be assured that the benefits of breastfeeding don’t diminish for you and your baby because your child reaches a certain age. As long as you continue, and beyond weaning, breastfeeding still provides antibodies, immunities, proteins, fats, nourishment, bonding and a host of other attributes to benefit you and your baby.

Are you curious about extended breastfeeding? The site KellyMom.com has a great section on breastfeeding toddlers including:

• How often toddlers breastfeed
• Best positions for breastfeeding toddlers
• When to wean
• Facing criticism about breastfeeding (especially once baby is 12 months and older)

In the end, only you know what’s best for you and your child, and I hope you’ll enjoy the time you have together!

Have a great weekend,

Gina

2 comments:

Faa said...

My daughter is about 19 months old now and I was wondering should I stop breast feeding?

Breastfeeding Benefit said...

Very interesting post, thanks. I have a baby and love to breast feed my baby. It's so healthy and good for the little ones.

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