Breastfeeding is one of the best tools of a mother to FeedIQ to her baby. It’s time to talk about extended breastfeeding!
Hey guys, I am back again with one of the least talked about topics ever i.e. Extended Breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is a beautiful part of a mother-child relationship as it helps in making the bond even stronger. During World Breastfeeding Week (1st Aug – 7th Aug), we saw many big organizations talking about the benefits & importance of breastfeeding for both the baby and the mother. Breast milk is considered the first complete food for the baby. It does not just provide the nutrition for the baby’s growth but it also helps to keep the baby healthy by providing the necessary immunity.
Various researchers have even found a connection between breastfeeding and infant cognition.
However, there is still a lack of knowledge and understanding among the new mothers regarding breastfeeding. And extended breastfeeding is not even considered by many due to some myths hanging onto it. Hence, today, I am going to share my experience with extended breastfeeding.
I am a mother and I have breastfed my son till 2.4 years and I can say that this journey was not at all easy. Just like any other part of motherhood & parenting, breastfeeding comes with its own set of hurdles. However, you all will agree that when it comes to our babies, we moms can do anything.
Extended breastfeeding means breastfeeding after the age of 12 or 24 months.
Many of us are already aware that the WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for up to 6 months of age. But not many know that WHO also recommends continued/ extended breastfeeding along with complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond. I was shocked to read that globally, only 40% of infants under six months of age are exclusively breastfed.
I understand there could be many reasons for not being able to breastfeed exclusively. Whatever your situation is, just remember you are still doing the best for your baby. And you are not alone!
I also want to tell you that Breastfeeding has innumerable benefits for the baby as well as the mother. And even if you are struggling with this phase, just don’t give up yet. Give it one more try!
We, moms, are ready to do anything which is in the best interest of our babies. During pregnancy, I took very good care of my diet as advised by my doctor, even though I hated those superfoods. Since I knew that the right nutrition during pregnancy leads to improved health of the baby at birth.
As per a research from Abbott, 3 key nutrients i.e. DHA, lutein and natural vitamin E are essential to support brain development and encourage early learning skills in infants.
DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid which is an essential nutrient for the baby’s nervous system. It works best in combination with lutein and natural vitamin E. Hence, it’s important to include these nutrients in diet during pregnancy. After birth, the baby receives these nutrients through breast milk, hence it’s even more important for mothers to take care of their diets and include foods rich in these essential brain-boosting nutrients.
This is how mothers FeedIQ to their babies even when they are in the womb and later through breastfeeding.
Research has revealed that the nutritional needs of a mother increases during breastfeeding. And the diet alone may not provide all the essential nutrients for the mother as well as the baby. Hence, it becomes important to fulfill those needs by taking a good supplement rich in DHA, lutein, and Vit E. One such supplement is Simmom™IQ+ which is specialized nutrition offering IQ+ blend of brain nutrients for effective brain development of the growing baby.
In one of my previous posts on FeedIQ, I had also mentioned how 90% of brain development takes place by the age of 2 years. So, along with nutrition, stimulation and the role of parents also play an important role in the brain development of a child.
There are so many benefits of breastfeeding still not many mothers consider extended breastfeeding for their children. One big reason is support from the family and on a whole from society. In earlier times, breastfeeding a child till the age of 3 or 4 years was a norm in our culture.
Why I chose extended breastfeeding?
At first, I was not aware of the many benefits attached to extended breastfeeding. I was forced to continue feeding as I had no idea how to go about weaning. Breastfeeding a toddler is completely different as compared to feeding a baby. While I was thinking about ways to wean off, we adjusted to the new feeding schedule. Now the feeds were not that frequent and were of shorter duration. And I noticed that in fact, it was helping me and my son in many ways. It was easier for me to continue breastfeeding considering that I am a stay at home mom.
So, mommies if you are not able to feed your child after a certain age due to any reason, don’t feel bad about it. It is your decision and no one can force you. But, if you are considering extended breastfeeding and undue pressure from others is stopping you, do only what is best for you and your child.
Extended breastfeeding gives Comfort & Security – Everybody talks about toddler tantrums and their mood changes. Will you believe it if I say we rarely face tantrums. That’s true! My son knows that he can come to me whenever he feels confused or upset. When nothing works, breastfeeding comes to the rescue. Even during sickness, he would find comfort in breastfeeding.
Bonding – After one year, our feeding sessions reduced in number. And I would use those times to bond better with my son. A few minutes, 4-5 times a day we would spend just with each other. No distractions around. Those were actually the best times spent in peace.
Independence – The strong bonding helped him become independent. He’s not at all clingy.
Health benefits – Breastmilk changes as your toddler grows. Breastfeeding has been shown to support the child’s immune system antibodies even at the age of two and beyond. Breastfed kids are known to fall less sick and have a good IQ.
Helped me as a mother – Breastfeeding beyond the age of two helped me in many ways from emotional security to fighting stress. Nursing also lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. I feel more connected to my toddler & understand his needs better. I am happy that I decided to continue breastfeeding my toddler and provide him with brain-building, immune-boosting nutrients. It feels so satisfying. Thanks to the supplement I was taking.
Breastfeeding is a personal decision to be taken by the mother for her child. And no one has a right to interfere or pressurize her for her decision to breastfeed or not. Be well informed, only you know what is best for your child!
I hope you find this post informative and helpful in taking the most important decision of breastfeeding your child. Do spread the word, share this post! If you have any queries or doubt leave your comments below.
Featured Image Source – www.bubhub.com.au