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19th June 2012 02:46 AM #1
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- Jun 2012
Is breatfeeding after two years still healthy?
I was wondering if breastfeeding after two years is still healthy. I am a mother of three and breastfeeding my youngest child, a daughter of exactly a year and a half. She does eat well but she considers my milk alone over formula. Is this okay? If she still want breast milk after two years, should i still give it to her, considering that I am at the age of 33?
Would be happy to hear some great information.
19th June 2012 10:27 PM #2
Thank you for your post. Breastfeeding after 2 years of age is absolutely healthy! The current WHO (World Health Organisation) guidelines are that it is best for a child to: be breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months of age (i.e. no other liquid or food but breast milk) and then to start introducing some solid food from 6 months whilst continuing to breastfeed 'throughout the second year of life and BEYOND'.
There are many benefits to a toddler or child having breast milk and this is preferable to formula or cows milk as it was designed especially for children! Your daughter is exactly the same age as my son (18 months) and we are still breastfeeding. He has been ill so few times - and I put this down to the immune benefits of breastfeeding. One study (Van den Bogaard, in 1991) showed that breastfed toddlers have illnesses which last significantly shorter than non-breastfed toddlers.
A study by Dewey (in 2001) found that from 12 - 23 months breast milk can provide: 36% of calcium requirements, 75% of vitamin A requirements and a huge 94% of vitamin B12 requirements (these figures are for 450 ml of breast milk).
Breastfeeding can continue to comfort children of two years and beyond and can contribute to their social development. Breastfed babies tend to make eye contact when feeding more than formula fed babies and so enjoy socialising.
The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine recently said: “The average age at weaning ranges anywhere from six months to five years… Claims that breastfeeding beyond infancy is harmful to mother or infant have absolutely no medical or scientific basis”. In light of all these wonderful benefits, what a tragedy it is that extended breastfeeding (or even breastfeeding up to the age of two) is often looked down on by society or portrayed as not normal by the media.
I also don't believe your age is any reason to stop breastfeeding. If you and your daughter are happy then it is a wonderful thing to be breastfeeding her! We would love to support you on this forum however we can with breastfeeding.
So, I guess you can tell from my post that I think breastfeeding is great!
21st June 2012 01:23 AM #3
LJ is spot on in what she says. You can enjoy a breastfeeding experience with your daughter for as long as the two of you want. I found that most of my babies naturally stopped breastfeeding between 2 1/2 and 3 years of age simply because by that point they were eating solid foods very well, they had transitioned to goat milk or cow milk (we had some allergies, so goat milk was the milk of choice for me to transition the children to) and they were so interested in playing with their siblings that cuddling on Mama's lap became less and less important to them.
The first natural transition was to give up some feeds during the day, to where they were only breastfeeding when they first got up, before nap, and before bed.
From one of your other posts I noticed that you're struggling with some sadness, anger, fatigue and other things that give indication that your digestion may be low, so I would highly suggest that you make sure you are getting plenty of good nutrition and that you're taking a high quality multi-vitamin and/or high quality minerals. Vitamin B-12 can be very helpful for reducing anxiety. We're finding that most people don't get enough sunshine on their skin each day, so their Vitamin D levels are low. Thyroid function could be low as well, so if you're experiencing indications that your body is lacking nutrients, you'll want to be sure you address this. Sometimes it can be best to wean a toddler if mum truly can't support her child's health needs and her own.
21st June 2012 01:31 AM #4
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- Jun 2012
21st June 2012 02:51 AM #5
- Join Date
- Dec 2011
Just seconding what has already been said here, breastfeeding beyond the age of two has numerous benefits but health-wise and from an emotional standpoint. As long as you and baby are happy and comfortable, nurse on. Best of luck to you MumO'Three!
23rd June 2012 06:10 AM #6
You are really welcome MumO'Three. Breastfeeding is certainly a journey and we are here to support you along the way with whatever choices you make.