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The short answer is as long as you and your baby want to! But don’t take my word for it… The AAP says, “there is no upper limit on the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychological or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the 3rd year of life or longer.” There you have it! The answer to how long should I breastfeed for.
This is absolutely not true. As long as you continue to breastfeed it will continue to be a valuable source of nutrition.
After age 1 it’s true that breast milk shouldn’t be the only source of nutrition for your child and the child should start eating more solids but continuing to breastfeed will help make up for the lack of nutrients that sometimes busy toddlers don’t get.
“The longer an infant is breastfed, the greater protection from certain illnesses and long-term diseases. The more months or years a woman breastfeeds (combining breastfeeding of all her children), the greater the benefits to her health.” Says the CDC.gov.
According to the World Health Organization, infants should be exclusively breastfed for their first 6 months of life to achieve their optimal growth, development and health. Breastfeeding also helps their never-ending change in nutrition needs. Breastmilk changes to what your baby needs throughout their growth.
How amazing is that?
If you’re pumping, you might be able to see your milk changes colors and that’s why! There have been reports of milk changing colors when the baby is sick too!
"Breastfeeding should continue for up to two years or beyond."
We all know now that breastfeeding increases the mother-child bond, and that couldn’t be any more precious. But to me, this information is the cherry on top: researchers have found that since breastfeeding means more interaction with your child and bonding time, that your child is learning more about acceptable and appropriate behaviors, which also means less behavior problems. Wow!
Dr. Sears has also stated that he has noticed this with the toddlers that come to his practice.
Another amazing fact about breastfeeding through this time is that breastfeeding is baby reading. It allows a mother to be able to understand what their child needs and be able to read their cues better. This means mom can intervene before a meltdown happens.
I don’t think you can avoid the “terrible twos” or a meltdown all together, but it will sure make everyone’s days happier and even quieter!
I know, this one seems unreal and backwards. But low and behold, Dr. Williams Sears said in a long-term study on children who were able to self-wean on their own time were more independent and interested in people rather than things. Pushing them into something they may not want yet or are not ready for only creates a clingier and more dependent child. We should be allowing our children to reach milestones at their own pace rather than pushing or forcing them to do so. The more you encourage your baby, the better, but do not push or force them.
"The most secure... and happy children we have seen are those who have not been weaned before their time."
They are the first set of teeth in the growth development of humans and mammals. They develop during the embryonic stage and start to be visible during infancy. Primary teeth are needed in the development of the mouth. They maintain: arch length in the jaw, the bone and the permanent teeth replacements, which develop from the same tooth as the primary teeth do. Primary teeth provide guides for permanent teeth. Primary teeth are important for the development of the child’s speech, smile and chewing of food. You can read more about milk teeth HERE.
Here’s a list of my sources for this article and a great place to read more breastfeeding facts:
Ready for more Cleveland Motherhood content? Then don’t skip over the blog links below!
Are you a mother looking for local breastfeeding support in a local, uplifting community with mothers just like you AND breastfeeding professionals? Join my NE Ohio Breastfeeding Mothers Group on Facebook! Can’t wait to meet you!