While many pediatricians recommend breastfeeding until baby is one year old, many mothers continue to nurse their child beyond that. This is known as extended breastfeeding and in some countries, it’s considered normal and healthy. If you wish to keep nursing your child after he or she turns one, here are some things you to know:
1. There are significant benefits to extended breastfeeding
Breast milk (also known as “liquid gold”) is filled with all the nutrients (i.e. calcium, vitamins, and enzymes) beneficial to your little love. As they grow, the composition of your breast milk will continue to change to meet his or her nutritional needs. Besides that, studies show that breastfeeding toddlers get sick less often than their peers.
2. It’s good for mamas too
According to Mayo Clinic, extended breastfeeding benefits mothers too. It has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. In addition, extended breastfeeding may also help to keep your weight in check.
3. Don’t worry, your toddler won’t bite
One of the reasons why a lot of mothers don’t continue to breastfeed their child after they reach is that they are afraid their toddlers might bite. As Scary Mommy explains, latching onto the breast doesn’t involve teeth. In fact, a child’s tongue covers the lower gum to protect the breast from teeth. But if a toddler does bite, the San Diego Breastfeeding Center suggests mothers to remain calm and firmly tell their babies to stop biting.
4. Nursing your toddler in public might attract negative reactions
As aforementioned, extended breastfeeding is very common in some countries. However, this may not be the case in your part of the world. If someone shares his or her opinions about when to stop nursing, always remember that the decision is yours to make – not theirs.
5. Be sure your toddler is also eating well-balanced meals
Besides breast milk, your toddler should also be getting all the nutrients he needs through meals (solid foods) so that he or she continues to grow at a healthy rate. If you’re concerned about your baby’s diet, talk to a pediatrician or your health care provider.
6. Breastfeeding past a year does not make it hard for you to wean later on
Weaning is the process of gradually introducing an infant foods other than breast milk and it usually refers to when a baby stops breastfeeding. According to Kelly Mom, each child has his or her own developmental timeline for child-led weaning. But if you decide to start weaning, try distracting your child with other food, drink, and activities when he or she wants to nurse.
7. It’s safe to breastfeed while pregnant
Experts say it’s safe to breastfeed your toddler while you’re expecting another baby. As lactation consultant Jan Barger explains, there’s no reason not to continue nursing while you’re pregnant if you want to do so. However, nursing mommies may see a decrease in milk supply when they’re pregnant. Also, the taste of the breast milk may change.