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5 Amazing Things You Should Know About Extended Breastfeeding

Do you feel awkward when your year-old toddler wants to breastfeed when you are in public places? Are you trying to wean him off this habit? You’ll be surprised to know that doctors and researchers will advise you differently. Extended breastfeeding has numerous benefits for mothers and babies. The World Health Organization (WHO) encourages mothers to nurse their babies until they are at least two years old or continue as long as the mother and toddler desire. This encouragement for extended breastfeeding comes after developments in research that claim benefits for both mother and toddler.

Here are five interesting benefits from extended breastfeeding.

1. Enhances Immunity In Toddlers.

Breast milk is your child’s primary source of germ-fighting antibodies. Extended breastfeeding ensures that your toddler’s immunity is strengthened. He will fall sick less often. It also lowers the risk of your child developing of diabetes, heart diseases and cholesterol issues in their adult life. If you nursed your toddler past the one year mark, it increases the likelihood that your child will be lean and have better digestion. Breast milk contains immunoglobulin (IGA) that coats the inner lining of your child’s intestines and prevents germ penetration. A new study has also found that exclusive, long-term breastfeeding reduces chances of transmitting HIV from mother to child.

2. Provides Nutrition For Your Child.

There is a notion among most mothers that after nursing your child for a year, the nutritional value of your breast milk drops. It is utterly false. Breast milk continues to retain the calcium, protein, vitamin A, and fat content your child needs. In addition, breast milk contains more antibodies for your toddler as he grows up. However, it does not imply that you restrict your child to breastfeeding only. Regular, short breastfeeding sessions are better for your toddler’s complete nutrition.

3. Prevents Detrimental Health Effects In Mothers.

Extended breast feeding has been found to benefit the mother by reducing the risk of developing of breast cancer, ovarian and endometrial cancer.

4. Strengthens Bonding With Your Toddler.

Breastfeeding also allows you the excuse to spend some time with your child, alone. You can read to him while he suckles or listens to soothing music. You can breastfeed your little one after he has fallen and hurt himself. It is also a time you can set aside to rest before you have to take on the world again.

5. Boosts Brain Development.

The fats present in breast milk, like omega-3 fatty acids, contribute to brain development in toddlers. Research has found that babies who are breastfed exclusively, even for as little as three months, outperform their formula-fed peers in cognitive development. There was even more difference when considering babies who were breastfed for longer than a year. In other words, the longer a baby breastfeeds, the better their brain develops early on.

Extended breastfeeding is good for baby and for you!

Our society is a little uptight when it comes to nursing toddlers aged over one year. However, if the questioning stares and advice to stop nursing your little darling do not bother you, then you should go ahead for as long as you and your child decide is best for you both. You now know that it benefits both your little one and you. So don’t let anything stop you from nursing your baby for as long as you want.

Have you practiced extended breastfeeding? How long have you breastfed your child?

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