Why You Should Breastfeed Longer
Human breast milk is nature’s perfect food for infants. It promotes health, prevents disease and minimises health care and feeding expenses. The World Health Organization, the NHS and many other organisations have adopted policies to promote the benefits of breastfeeding for both mothers and their children. They advocate exclusive breastfeeding from birth up to six months, then supplemented breastfeeding up to two years or more.
What makes breast milk so ideal is the fact that it is easy to digest, and it has basically the right amount of water, fat, sugar and protein that babies need to grow and develop. Antibodies are handed down from mother to child during breastfeeding. Colostrum, the milk produced in the first few days after birth, is particularly rich in immunoglobulins, which help prevent prevalent childhood illnesses such as diarrhoea and pneumonia.
There are so many advantages to breastfeeding. You will get to enjoy a special bond with your baby, knowing that you’re giving him the best possible nutrition. You also save money since you don’t have to buy infant formula. There are so many health benefits for you and your child. In some studies, it has been found that mothers who breastfeed lower their risk of developing health problems such as type 2 diabetes, and ovarian and breast cancer. Also, women who breastfeed are able to return to their pre-pregnancy weight a lot faster and enjoy lower cases of obesity.
Breastfeeding leads to a lifetime of excellent health. According to the WHO, there is evidence that people who were breastfed perform better in intelligence tests, have lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and lower rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes. It is also interesting to know that women who were breastfed as babies, tend to have a naturally positive attitude to breastfeeding and would choose it as their preferred feeding method for their newborn babies.
Though any amount of breastfeeding has a valuable effect, the longer you breastfeed, the longer the protection lasts and thus, the bigger the benefits. Breastfeeding your child after one year and beyond is beneficial to both you and your child. One of the best ways to help toddlers develop emotionally is the closeness and availability of the mother through breastfeeding. Also, similar to babies, toddlers receive a lot of health benefits from breastfeeding, as your milk continues to provide vitamins and immunity boosters, and guard your children from illnesses and allergies.
Think about this. Infant formula is made from cow’s or goat’s milk, and it doesn’t come close to the quality of human milk. Though manufacturers continually try to replicate human milk, they simply cannot come near to it. Breast milk is species specific and has a crucial role in promoting brain growth and strengthening the immune system. Formula has no such effect and should not be promoted as equal to breastfeeding. Breast has always been and still is best.
At one year of age, your baby’s immune system is not yet as fully developed as that of an adult. Formula doesn’t contain any live antibodies, which is why it is associated with a higher risk of infection. Breast milk, however, does contain these antibodies, and as long as you continue to breastfeed, you can continue to give your child the protection she needs. Nursing a child past infancy would also give them extra time to cuddle, settle down and relax, which is quite beneficial for a busy toddler. From tantrums to teething pains to lulling a child off to sleep, breastfeeding is the ultimate comfort aid that will calm a child miraculously when all else fails.
Truly, a mother should continue to breastfeed her baby for as long as they both need and wish to. It gives them a lot of rewards and helps them enjoy a deeper, more special bond together.