Extended Breastfeeding Is It Right For You?

3 min read
Extended Breastfeeding Is It Right For You?

Extended Breastfeeding Is It Right For You? Exactly what does ‘extended’ breastfeeding mean? For some it means breastfeeding continues after 6 months, for others it’s continued breastfeeding after returning to work, or continuing to breastfeed as your baby enters toddlerhood. Some mums are sad at the thought of a child weaning themselves off the breast. Others can’t wait for the ‘acceptable time’ to pass and have their breasts back to themselves.

This is clearly a hot topic in today’s society, with everybody offering an opinion even when not asked! Here are some points to consider when deciding if extended breastfeeding is for you:

Health Guidelines

The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, and then complementary breastfeeding up to the age of 2 and beyond.

Exclusive breastfeeding means your baby has breast milk only no water, juice, other liquids or food. After 6 months your baby needs more nutrition than breast milk can provide so complementary feeding (other foods and liquids along with breast milk) is recommended from 6 months to 2 years and beyond.

What are the benefits of extended breastfeeding?

  • Protection from illness

Breast milk is packed full of higher quality nutrients than complementary foods and provides protective factors this reduces the risk of several acute and chronic illnesses.

  • A super food

Continuing to breastfeed after 6 months gives your baby 50% of their nutritional needs from breast milk up to age one, and 30% of their nutritional needs in the second year (complementary feeding of food and other liquids make up the rest).

  • Feeling safe and content

Feeling safe is critical to brain development. Breastfeeding has likely been your baby’s go-to comforter when tired, upset and hungry. Extended breastfeeding keeps your baby feeling safe and secure in her world.

 Extended Breastfeeding - Is It Right For You?What’s not so great?

  • Work

Extended breastfeeding while returning to work may up the challenge factor. As your baby will be complementary feeding by 6 months, you may find it easier for them to have complementary food and drinks while you work, and save breastfeeding for morning and night. You can also speak to your employer about an appropriate room for you to express, store milk or breastfeed if you bring your baby to work.

  • Society

Everyone has an opinion to give, whether you want to hear it or not. It would be lovely if everyone supported each other’s decisions, but we’re not at that point in evolution just yet. To be an extended breastfeeding mum you need to stay strong in your convictions.

  • Another baby

You may find it harder to get pregnant while breastfeeding. When you have another baby you can breastfeed both children, the challenge is maintaining your energy levels to breastfeed two or more.

  • Toddler discretion

Once your baby nears one year old, they know how to use their hands, and they know where your breasts are located! You may find them going up your dress or pulling your shirt down when you least expect it. Before toddlerhood you were looking for clothes that made it easier to access your breasts when out and about. Now you may be doing the opposite.

Take this information on board, and then follow your own path of motherhood. Celebrate your mummy strengths that are unique to you, and always follow your gut instinct. Stand proud of your parenting and feeding style. And if you don’t feel proud, it’s never too late to make a change!

 This information doesn’t replace that of your Doctor; if you are concerned with your child’s nutritional intake, consult your Doctor or Health Care Professional.

About Author

Jody Allen

Jody is the founder and essence of Stay at Home Mum. An insatiable appetite for reading from a very young age had Jody harbouring dreams of being a pu...Read Moreblished author since primary school. That deep-seeded need to write found its way to the public eye in 2011 with the launch of SAHM. Fast forward 4 years and a few thousand articles Jody has fulfilled her dream of being published in print. With the 2014 launch of Once a Month Cooking and 2015's Live Well on Less, thanks to Penguin Random House, Jody shows no signs of slowing down. The master of true native content, Jody lives and experiences first hand every word of advertorial she pens. Mum to two magnificent boys and wife to her beloved Brendan; Jody's voice is a sure fire winner when you need to talk to Mums. Read Less

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