What Is Extended Breastfeeding?
If you are nursing your toddler, you are doing extended breastfeeding according to most people in the western world
Extended breastfeeding... What is that?
Extended beyond what?
The answer really depends on who you ask.
In most western countries today, it is considered normal and great if a mom breastfeeds her baby for up to 1 year. After that it starts to slowly become more controversial, and the mom also is said to be doing extended breastfeeding.
One can of course speculate about why anyone outside a baby's immediate family would care at all for how long a baby is breastfed. It is not like the mom is feeding her baby Coca Cola - breast milk is very healthy; at least that should be something we can all agree on!
But speculations is not the purpose of this article. Instead, we want to share with you the benefits of extended breastfeeding as well as talk a little but about the challenges of breastfeeding your toddler.
Extended Breastfeeding 101
What is Extended Breastfeeding?Whenever the subject of breastfeeding comes up, new or expectant parents often hear the term extended breastfeeding and find themselves wondering what exactly does that term mean. The answer is not as simple as one might suppose since breastfeeding in some parts of the world continue until a child is 2, 3, or sometimes 4 years of age.
However, in the US and many other western countries in particular, mothers are more or less expected to wean their child from their breast no later than one year of age. So when you hear the term extended nursing it simply means continuing to breastfeed your child when they become a toddler or until they are ready to wean themselves from the breast.
What Are The Benefits To Extended Breastfeeding?
Although formula companies and even some doctors encourage mothers to stop breastfeeding at 6 months to a year telling them breastfeeding past this point has no real benefits for your child, they are wrong. Extended breastfeeding has many benefits for your child including:
In addition, the general benefits of breastfeeding, which you can read about here, continue to be important and relevant.
What Are The Challenges of Extended Nursing?Of course, extended breastfeeding is not without challenges but being prepared to meet these challenges will make the experience all the more beneficial for both you and your child. Here are some of the challenges you may face when you decide to extend the length of time you breastfeed.
Just remember that extended breastfeeding is a personal choice and each parent must decide what is right for their child and themselves.
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