Today there are many opinions about how long to breastfeed. Some doctors advise at least six months. Some moms say that you need to feed up to three years old. And other parents are sure that after the introduction of complementary foods, breast milk is no longer useful for the baby.
So to what age should a baby breastfeed, and what is the risk of breastfeeding for too long?
See also: Pros and Cons of Breastfeeding – Is It Good to Breastfeed Your Baby?
The content of the article:
How much can you feed your baby with breast milk?
More than one word has been said about the benefits of breast milk. And no one doubts its value for the health of the baby. Mom’s milk is not only food for the little person, it is also his immune defense, because, unlike the formula, it is live food, saturated with the mother’s enzymes and hormones.
Currently most mothers feed for up to a year, or, in extreme cases, up to one and a half. Because it is at this age that a woman goes to work and returns to a full-fledged social life.
See also: How to End Breastfeeding Properly – Stress-Free for Baby and Mom.
Of course, there are always extremes in everything. For example, some mothers are sure that it is not worth breastfeeding a child for a long time, because many parents raised their children on formula, and nothing terrible happened.
This bias occurs because:
- Breastfeeding, especially in the beginning, is painful. Delicate breasts are not ready for such abuse – after all, babies literally dig into the nipple. Not all mothers pass this test, and switch to the mixture.
- Breastfeeding has many challenges. For example, frequent pumping, lack of free time, and complete attachment of a mother to her baby.
- Some women are not lactatingand that’s why they use formula milk from birth.
According to statistics, about 27% of women either do not breastfeed at all or stop breastfeeding early… But recently, this figure has been rapidly declining, as people are increasingly striving for everything that is environmentally friendly, useful and natural.
In France, for example, women deliberately refuse to breastfeed and only 69% of women in childbirth begin to feed in the hospital.
In the Soviet Union, a woman was supposed to be a drummer for labor, and then a good wife and an affectionate mother. The postnatal leave was then only 30 days, the ladies went on maternity leave at the eighth month, and the babies were taken to the nursery while still in diapers. So Soviet women practically did not breastfeed their children.
The other extreme is long-term feeding, meaning feeding for more than 3-4 years. By the way, in pre-Soviet Russia, peasant women fed children up to 7 years old. Firstly, because pregnancy came one after another and lactation did not stop. Secondly, there was no time for excommunication. This is how grown-up children applied to their breasts before school.
Nowadays, very few women breastfeed children after three years of age.
Benefits of breastfeeding
- Children grow up healthier. They do not suffer from allergies and colds.
- Smoother adaptation of the child to the adult world… The kid gets used to the kindergarten faster. It is easier for him to find contact with peers because he did not experience the stress of weaning at an early age.
- Such children are not obese. in adolescence.
- Long-term breastfeeding promotes full maturation of the gastrointestinal tract. Breast milk provides support for the baby’s stomach and protects him from early gastritis and ulcers in the future.
- Breastfeeding has a positive effect on the formation of the bite.
- When sucking on the breast, almost all the muscles of the lower face are involved., which in the future will protect the child from speech therapy problems.
- It is useful to breastfeed girls for a long time. This lays the foundation for breastfeeding in their subconscious.
- When sucking, the baby reflexively calms down, take the load off a fragile child’s brain. This feature increases intellectual and creative ability, as a result – a higher IQ level and increased stress resistance.
Consequences of prolonged breastfeeding
It is believed that feeding a child after a year, and even more so – after three, is not only not useful, but even harmful… So, for example, many people claim that prolonged feeding is unhealthy for the mother.
- Firstly, because the reproductive function does not resume for a long time. Even if menstruation has come, this does not mean that the body has completely rebuilt and is ready for a new conception.
- Secondly, because the child “sucks the strength out of the mother.” Indeed, during the formation of breast milk, all the nutrients and microelements necessary for the child are taken from the mother’s body, and the “residues” are taken by the mother. Moreover, these “residues” are not always enough for the normal life of an adult organism. Therefore, by three years of feeding, under the condition of inadequate nutrition, many women begin to lose hair and crumble their teeth.
- Long-term feeding is a conditioned reflex. It is vital only during the first 15 months of life, and then it is already a habit, from which it will be more and more difficult for a child to break the habit.
- Psychological discomfort and condemnation of others. “So big and still asking for a title,” the neighbors are indignant. This weighs on a nursing woman, even if the feeding itself does not cause discomfort to her.
- Deterioration in breast shape. Every woman is worried about the loss of her sexuality, and improper behavior of the baby at the breast, when he pulls and jerks the nipple, can ruin the shape of the mammary glands.
- It is impossible to lose weight. And this is true if you eat all the time for two.
Up to what age is it recommended to feed a baby with breast milk?
- According to the recommendations of doctors – pediatricians and therapists – the minimum period for breastfeeding should be from one and a half to two years… Feeding up to three years is possible. 4-5-6 year old breastfeeding is a matter of personal choice. But there is no medical evidence for its benefits.
- Deciding how much to feed your baby – this is a question that concerns only his mother, and, as a last resort, his father… But not grandmothers, other relatives, friends and neighbors.
- Remember, if someone begins to refute your personal point of view on this issue, then ask for scientific and medical evidence of their opinion – and, believe me, they will not be able to do this.
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