And I thought why not focus on extended breastfeeding, or benefits to breastfeeding a two year old?
I breastfed my first baby until 14 months and at the time it felt like quite an accomplishment. Then I breastfed my second until way past two, including some tandem breastfeeding in there.
Breastfeeding to two and beyond is not something I ever planned, or thought I would do. But as I breastfed my babies I decided I wanted to let them wean when ready and not force anything.
Now I am about to have another two year old and she's still breastfeeding. Since she is my last baby I am letting her wean whenever she wants.
When it comes to breastfeeding there are many benefits, which have been covered before and in my other articles. But the thing is...when your child is one or two those benefits do not go away. Breastmilk is still extremely nutritious, and probably more so than a lot of the junk my toddlers eat. I have heard myths about breastmilk not being nutritious past a certain age but this is false. It is the same and adjusts to your child's age and needs.
The pros agree, breastfeeding beyond one, and even past two is beneficial
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breast-feeding for the first six months after birth — and breast-feeding in combination with solid foods until at least age 1. Extended breast-feeding is recommended as long as you and your baby wish to continue.
- From the World Health Organization: Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.
- From the Mayo Clinic: Worldwide, babies are weaned on average between ages 2 and 4. In some cultures, breast-feeding continues until children are age 6 or 7.
Here's a few more benefits to breastfeeding a two year old, or extended breastfeeding
- Nutrition and immune system health. As I said above, breastmilk is just as nutritious at two as it is under one. Why wouldn't you want to feed your baby and toddler the most nutritious food possible?
- Breastmilk provides energy and nutrients during illness and helps boost immunity.
- Between 12 and 24 months breastmilk provides up to one third of a child's energy needs.
- It's healthy for us moms. The longer we breastfeed the more we reduce our risk of certain cancers. You can read more here.
- From my own experience; breastfeeding longer provides an incredible bonding experience with my baby and toddler. I can soothe any issue and have a built in way to deal with any problem.
Breastfeeding beyond one or even two has many benefits and pretty much no downside. While some people may look down on it or give negative opinions, this is usually due to not understanding the true benefits. If this is something that concerns you try to remember this is for you and your baby and many people may offer opinions which do not truly matter in this case.
You can find more information on breastfeeding recommendations from my sources used for this article.
Good luck and please let me know if you have any questions about extended breastfeeding at all!