How Long Should I Breastfeed My Baby?

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While some women choose to breastfeed their little one for only a week, others continue with breastfeeding for even years. Most of the mothers often come up with this question of how long they should continue to breastfeed their child and what is the right time to discontinue with it. while there are different opinions to this but at the end, it is completely your choice. In this article, we will be discussing about the same.

Read More: 11 Common Breastfeeding Challenges Faced by New Moms

Breastfeeding FAQs: How Long Should I Breastfeed My Baby

how long to breastfeed

Although different people may serve you with different advices but there are a number of breastfeeding guidelines around the world which most of the experts agree with. These are as listed below:

The American academy of paediatrics (AAP)

As per this, breastfeeding is recommended exclusively for 6 months and then breastfeeding in addition to the start of solid foods for a period of at least one year. After that, it is the mother’s and child’s wish as to for how long they want to continue.

The world health organisation (WHO)

It advises full or exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and then breastfeeding along with complementary foods for 2 years or longer.

Read More: 11 Amazing Tips to Wean your Child from Breastfeeding

The American college of obstetrics and gynaecologists (ACOG)

It has been advised that one should continue with breastfeeding alone for the first six months and then along with complementary food for the first year. And then, breastfeeding can be continued for as long as the mother and child wish.

How long does breastfeeding prove to be beneficial?

Basically, any amount of breastfeeding or breast milk is beneficial for your child. In fact, even a small amount of the first breast milk, colostrum is beneficial for your child because it consists of more than just nutrition, which is antibodies and other immune properties. That early breast milk will help your newborn to be free from illnesses such as diarrhea, ear infections and respiratory infections.

Considering past the newborn stage, it is even more beneficial. It helps in reducing your child’s risk of developing allergies, asthma, diabetes and certain types of cancer. Not only this, but it will also help you to lose your pregnancy weight a lot faster. In addition to this, the risk of ovarian and breast cancer also decreases.

Until when can breastfeeding be continued?

According to the experts, breastfeeding can be continued for as long as you feel that it works for you. There is not really any particular age as to when it should end. But one thing to be kept in mind is, that you must add complementary foods in your child’s diet when he/she grows. With that, you can continue to breastfeed for 2 years or even longer. So basically, it’s completely up to you.

Does breastfeeding lead to psychological problems in older children?

A number of people believe that breastfeeding older children could lead to psychological problems but that is not at all true. This is because until now there hasn’t been any evidence that showcases or proves this. We have also discussed this earlier that the longer you breastfeed, the more beneficial it will be. On the contrary, it has only proven to be advantageous for both the moth and the child. Most of the mothers have described their children as healthy, happy, independent and loving after breastfeeding for longer duration of time.

Read More: 7 Best Positions to Breastfeed Your Baby

Weaning

This is one of the most important part of breastfeeding.  It commences when you add another form of feeding to your child’s diet. It is up to you if you wish you continue with breastfeeding after your child starts solid foods or decide to completely wean it off. In case, you plan to end with breastfeeding early enough, you can pump and store the breast milk in the freezer, which can be used later. The breastmilk can be given to your child in a bottle or a cup after the breastfeeding has been stopped. Another option is, you can move on to an infant formula or cow’s milk depending on the age of your child when you stop breastfeeding.

Conclusion

You do not need to abide by someone else’s opinion because it is your personal choice. There is nothing wrong or right in this. Even if you choose to breastfeed your child for only a week or for 2 years, it is absolutely alright. You do not to worry about this or someone else’s opinion if they say you didn’t breastfeed long enough. Just remember that your child would stop on his/her own and there is nothing like breastfeeding would go on forever, so you just need to be a little relaxed.

References

https://www.nichd.nih.gov/newsroom/resources/spotlight/080612-world-breastfeeding-week

https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/breastfeeding/conditioninfo/how-is-it-done

Hope this article was of help to you! Please share your comments/queries/tips with us and help us create a world full of Happy, Healthy and Empowered Women and Healthy Babies!!

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