Pro’s and Con’s of Extended Breastfeeding
The Pro’s and Con’s of Extended Breastfeeding For You and Your Child
There are so many pro’s and con’s of extended breastfeeding. Making the decision as to whether to go for it or not is not going to be an easy one.
Before I jump straight in there and list all the pros and cons lets just find out what exactly is classed as extended breastfeeding so we can all be on the same page.
What is extended breastfeeding?
Most experts will tell you that a good age to stop breastfeeding is at 1 year of age. Some will even say 4- 6 months. Anything beyond 1 year or age is considered to be extended breastfeeding.
Certainly not! You can certainly mix it up a bit if you want. There is no rule to say that extended breastfeeding only works when you exclusively breastfeed.
In saying all that the truth of the matter is the less you breastfeed the less supply you will have. That’s kind of how it works in most cases but there are obviously exceptions to the rule.
I know some mommy’s who seem to have an endless supply of milk no matter what but equally I know some mommy’s who struggle with milk supply as well.
Today I’m going to start with the benefits of long term breastfeeding (Just because it’s always nice to start on a positive note)
1. It will do wonders for your baby’s immune system. Before I started having children I was completely clueless as to how perfectly tailored breast milk could be.
I was fortunate enough to have a really good milk supply without ever having to really try.
It was only when people started to comment on how easy I made breastfeeding seem that I started to look into it more. I began to see the health benefits of breast milk for the first time.
I used to think that breastfeeding was just a cheaper way to feed my baby. I was very wrong!
Research has shown that breast milk actually tailors itself according to your baby’s needs. Some time ago there was actually a case of a lady who was breastfeeding her sick child who had a cold.
In the morning she decided to pump and noticed that her milk appeared to be completely different in color to what it usually is.
You can read more about that story here- (Breastfeeding Benefits).
In short the ladies milk adjusted itself specifically to the needs of the child. How awesome is that!
2. Its gentle on your baby’s stomach making it easy for them to digest the food. Breastfed baby’s tend to pop with more ease.
4. It’s a great opportunity for mother and baby to bond. Breastfeeding (especially on demand) creates a calm peaceful place for baby.
I often nurse when my baby is upset or just wants a bit of comfort. I do it because it helps to reassure him that everything is ok and that I am always there for him. I strongly believe that it also instills a sense of confidence in the child.
5. Once you get the hang of it breastfeeding is so much easier. I’ll let you into a little secret…I don’t even know how to make up a bottle of formula. I wouldn’t have a clue if it was too hot or too cold or if I have left it out for too long.
With breastfeeding you don’t need to worry about any of those things because your milk will come out at the perfect temperature to suit your baby.
6. Breast milk continues to have nutritional value. There is no cut off age for this. Some people think that once your child reaches the age of one there is no value in having breast milk.
Well that’s just not true. That’s the equivalent of saying that after age 10 there is no nutritional value in broccoli. There is simply no truth in it.
The Disadvantages of Extended Breastfeeding
1. Its hard work! Personally speaking breastfeeding past 1 is difficult because by the time my child is one year of age I start to feel like I want to get my body back.
My son can walk, even run a little and is able to hold himself independently. My brain starts to shift out of the baby fog and I realise that I have to take my breast out to feed my son as opposed to just feeding my baby with milk.
2. People think that you are weird because it is not the norm. You have to get used to remarks like “oh he’s still breastfeeding?” or “He’s too big to breastfeed”.
3. Sometimes for me it means missing out on things such as going out with friends in the evenings because my son likes to breastfeed during the night.
4. Sometimes you get bitten. I can’t tell you how much that hurts! Although as your child gets older they know not to bite but sometimes it happens by accident especially when they are asleep. Can anyone relate?
5. You will probably never be able to eat another meal in peace again because you have to breastfeed at the same time.
6. There is a risk of over attachment but again personally I think this is more down to your child’s personality rather than the fact that they breastfeed past age 1.
7. It means continued broken sleep as you breastfeed during the night.
8. The most embarrassing thing? If your child is old enough to speak they might ask for it in public so just be ready to respond. Haha!
Overall I think after weighing up the pro’s and con’s of extended breastfeeding, for me there is more value in long term breastfeeding than there is not.
Yes you might get the odd side eye but essentially you will be setting up your child with a great immune system for life.
I know not every woman can breastfeed but if you have the opportunity too then I think you should go for it for as long as you can.
How long is too long for extended breastfeeding?
Well that is entirely on you and what you can handle. I think my cut off time will be around the 2 year mark but we’ll see. My other children I cut off at 1 year but I would like my son to self wean if possible.
If you would like to read lots more on breastfeeding and the pro’s and Con’s of long term breastfeeding you can do so by reading more Here – Breastfeeding Benefits
How long would you do long term breastfeeding for? I would love to know.
If you would like to read more from me you can do so by clicking on the links below: