According to the American Association of Pediatrics, babies should be exclusively breastfed until the age of at least six months old. After which solid foods should be supplemented by breastmilk. But a lot of moms push far beyond that point. Why? What are the benefits of extended breastfeeding? Let’s take a look:
Benefits of extended breastfeeding
1. It provides extra nutrition
Babies (even those beyond the age of one year old) benefit from the calcium, protein, fat, vitamin A, and other nutrients that can be found in breastmilk. It’s like comparing it to eating spinach. Regardless of whether it’s, you’re first serving or your third; it’s still good for you.
2. It boosts immune
Babies that are breastfed have decreased incidence of illness, and the longer a baby breastfeeds, the more the immunity benefits. It’s also beneficial for mom’s health as breastfeeding may reduce your risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and endometrial cancer.
3. Talking about mom’s health…
Mothers that breastfeed their babies for prolonged periods of time are far less likely to contract breast cancer. The benefits are cumulative, which means that a mom that breastfeeds her baby for three years has equal benefits to a mom that breastfeeds three children, each for one year.
It promotes brain development
Breastfeeding may help boost brain development in babies since it promotes hand-eye coordination as well as gross motor skills, which are all essential for brain development.
5. It’s soothing
We know that breastfeeding is an intimate deal, so while it creates bonding time for a mom and her baby, it’s also a way to help your baby calm down under stressful situations. It’s also soothing for moms. With every breastfeeding session, moms have some time to sit down and just chill out and escape the hustle and bustle of running a home.
6. It’s convenient
Extended breastfeeding will require a lot of planning, but it can be much more convenient than bottle feeding. It’s a lot faster to unclip your nursing bra and nurse your baby than it would be to measure out powdered formula, add water to a bottle, and then only have the time to sit down and feed a frantic baby. Along with the convenience factor, breastfeeding is also a lot cheaper than going the formula route with your baby. You’ll save yourself a bunch of cash and energy over the long run, so it makes sense to breastfeed until your baby has weaned him or herself.