Breastfeeding is a special journey for a mother and her baby. For the first six months of a child’s life, the child needs to be breastfed. Breast milk has many vital nutrients that are essential for a child’s growth. However, a lot of mothers continue breastfeeding their babies even after they become toddlers (a child at least a year old or older). This is known as extended breastfeeding. There are numerous pros and cons of breastfeeding your toddler. This article is for all those moms who are confused about extended breastfeeding.
In this article:
Pros and Cons of Breastfeeding Your Toddler All Moms Should Know
Extended breastfeeding or long term breastfeeding is the term used when you continue breastfeeding your baby after he turns a year old. It is totally normal and has great benefits for both mom and baby. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of extended breastfeeding
Benefits or the Pros of Breastfeeding your Toddler
According to a study conducted by the national center for biotechnology information (ncbi), the mean concentration of protein, fat and lactose in milk from women breastfeeding for more than one year was the similar as the milk composition during the 1st year. The world health organization recommends exclusive breast-feeding until six months of age and then breastfeeding in addition to complementary foods up to two years or beyond.
Breastfeeding increases the immunity and that holds true for breastfed toddlers too. Breastfed toddlers are sick less as compared to others.
Soothing for the Child
Breastfeeding is soothing for the baby as well as a toddler. It is a comfort zone for them. Toddlers are always running around, and breastfeeding is a good chance to spend some good time with him and give him your undivided attention.
Breastfeeding is convenient and faster. And it can be done anywhere. Breastfeeding is also a powerful trick to soothe the toddler during travelling.
Keeps the Mother Healthy
Breastfeeding moms are less likely to have cancer. It also helps you burn more calories and shed off the post partum weight. Nursing women have lower rates of high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. You can enjoy these benefits of breastfeeding as long as you like.
Cons of Breastfeeding Your Toddler
- Rude remarks from family members and strangers. People usually tend to be insensitive to mothers breastfeeding their toddlers. The reasons are moralistic or pseudo-scientific. Ignore them all and tell them you are happy with whatever you are doing.
- It is difficult to wean off a toddler as compared to an infant. It might require more time and effort to wean off a toddler. This is because the toddler is more understanding and stubborn. He knows what he wants and it gets difficult to stop breastfeeding him. Also, it might get a bit embarrassing when the toddler tries to lift off your shirt in public demanding for milk.
- Toddlers sometimes start relying on your breast when they feel bored and want attention.
- It might become a challenge if you’re pregnant. It is physically demanding to nurse a toddler while you are pregnant because your body is more busy providing nutrients to the foetus than creating milk for your toddler.
How to Make Extended Breastfeeding Work for You?
If you overcome the challenges mentioned above, you can make extended breast-feeding work for you. Ignore all the comments you get from others regarding your decision to extend your breastfeeding. As long as both you and your child are happy, remember you took a good decision. As far as wearing is concerned, it might get difficult but not impossible. You need to be prepared to take all the steps to start weaning and not give into the demands for feeding from your child. If you feel that your child wants to be fed out of boredom, try to distract him into various other activities to keep him occupied. If you are pregnant and still want to nurse your toddler, be prepared because you milk levels might fluctuate. This is because your body is sending more resources towards your growing foetus.
After six months of age, a child needs more than the breast milk. Do not rely on breastfeeding only. Make sure your child has enough solids as per his age. Try to give him a balanced diet. Also, try to have a good diet yourself and make sure you are consuming enough iron and calcium. Keep a check on your water intake too. Extended breastfeeding needs a little more determination and support from your loved ones. If you overcome the challenges, you might enjoy this journey a little longer.