Breastfeeding The Toddler Days

Extended Breastfeeding

This isn’t something I set out to do, but it is my life now.  The days are counting down to the day we stop though, but it’s been a good run.  When my youngest son was born in the summer of 2010 I was determined that I would breastfeed him.  I didn’t know exactly how long I wanted to or not, but I was hoping to make it to a year.  In reality it wasn’t up to me, but up to him.   I wasn’t going to make him wean just because I was done.  He is now 19 months.  Feedings are getting shorter and only in the morning, nap time, bedtime.  He eats “normal” food also and he is not picky at all.  I haven’t really come across many foods he won’t eat.  So let me just say extended breastfeeding will NOT make your toddler picky.

When the 1 year mark rolled around I was excited that I was able to make it that long. I also started hearing the question that even many will hear around 6 months “when are you going to stop?”  It’s not just something that you stop cold turkey because you hit a magical age.  I really saw no end in sight at that age though.  Even the World Health Organization recommends up to 2 years of age.

In the second year (12-23 months), 448 mL of breast milk 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 into the toddler years will not make your child clingy, spoiled, and not independent.

– Breasting into the toddler years will continue to provide immunities and vitamins that will help against illnesses

– Breastfed children are sick fewer times and for shorter durations

– Breastfeeding can delay the return of your fertility

– Prevent certain cancers

Breastfeeding past a year is normal.  Don’t let others turn you to weaning your little one because it’s “weird” or any other reason.  In the end it’s up to mother and baby.  It’s not hurting anyone and no one is forcing them to breastfed their child past a year.  Most likely they are miss informed or just not educated on breastfeeding really.  Before I had my first I thought breastfeeding was gross and had mixed emotions on if I would bottle fed or breastfed.  In the end the bottle won.  With my second I made sure I was more educated on the topic and literally read everything I would get my hands on about breastfeeding.  I made sure to ask questions to my nurse when I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right.  She was very helpful and we had my youngest nursing within an hour of being born.

To read some myths about extended breastfeeding Click Here

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