Breastfeeding your child past infancy is NORMAL. Or at least I wish more people thought so.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that...
“Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child… Increased duration of breastfeeding confers significant health and developmental benefits for the child and the mother… There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer.” (AAP 2012, AAP 2005)
I feel like sharing this information, as I'm finding it helpful to read at the moment - if like me, you're still breastfeeding in the second year (12-23 months), you might be feeling a little lonely too.
These days most women do not choose to breastfeed.
It seems that a lot of people do not view breastfeeding as the normal way to feed babies.
For some reason they consider breastfeeding and formula feeding to be virtually equivalent - representing merely a lifestyle choice.
I currently fear peoples reactions to hearing that I'm still doing it, breastfeeding that is, not to mention bed sharing - but really that goes hand in hand with the nursing.
The fact of the matter is breastfeeding (and bedsharing) should continue as long as mutually desired by mother and child.
Basically I need to 'woman up' and continue to do what I know is right for Ernie and I - and not give a flying feck whatever anyone else thinks - but I can't stress how hard that can be to do when there is simply so little support available.
So for any other full-term breastfeeding mothers out there, here are a few facts to remind you what you already know deep down inside, and to help keep you going strong!
* Health outcomes for mothers and babies are best when breastfeeding continues for at least two years.
* It has been estimated that a natural weaning age for humans is between two and seven years.
* Emerging research on nutrient content of human milk into the second year of lactation suggests that breast milk continues to offer significant nutritional and immunological benefits.
* “Human milk expressed by mothers who have been lactating for 1 year has significantly increased fat and energy contents, compared with milk expressed by women who have been lactating for shorter periods. During prolonged lactation, the fat energy contribution of breast milk to the infant diet might be significant.”
– Mandel 2005
* “Breast milk continues to provide substantial amounts of key nutrients well beyond the first year of life, especially protein, fat, and most vitamins.”
In the second year (12-23 months), 448 mL of breastmilk provides:
29% of energy requirements
43% of protein requirements
36% of calcium requirements
75% of vitamin A requirements
76% of folate requirements
94% of vitamin B12 requirements
60% of vitamin C requirements
– Dewey 2001
* Breastfeeding is a warm and loving way to meet the needs of toddlers and young children. It not only perks them up and energizes them; it also soothes the frustrations, bumps and bruises, and daily stresses of early childhood. In addition, nursing past infancy helps little ones make a gradual transition to childhood.“
- Elizabeth N. Baldwin, Esq.
and my favourite ...
* Extensive research on the relationship between cognitive achievement (IQ scores, grades in school) and breastfeeding has shown the greatest gains for those children breastfed the longest.