The benefits of breastfeeding a newborn is well known. And normally breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months after delivery. When a baby crosses the age of six months, she is introduced other types of baby foods. But breastfeeding beyond six months has several benefits.
And acknowledging the benefits of breastfeeding a toddler, the UNICEF has been encouraging breastfeeding for up to two years and beyond. Also, the American Academy of Pediatrics encourages breastfeeding for one year at the least. So what are the benefits of extended breastfeeding? Let’s find out.
The basic reason to continue breastfeeding after six months is because the breast milk still contains all the essential nutrients which are required by the baby. And more important, the immunologic property of breast milk is even stronger in the second year of breastfeeding than in the first year. The contents which help to develop and strengthen the baby’s immune system are present in greater quantity during the second year.
And as grown up babies are exposed to additional sources of infections, extending breastfeeding will help the immune system of your baby to mature. This may also explain why breastfed toddlers are less prone to infections. Moreover the baby’s organs which are still growing need the vital nutrients of breast milk to mature.
Again, extended breastfeeding plays an important role in strengthening the mother-baby bonding. In fact, many women find breastfeeding enjoyable and give them a unique sense of pleasure and satisfaction. So if both the mother and baby are enjoying breastfeeding, it does a world a good for the relationship between the two. So why stop breastfeeding after six months?
Another reason to continue breastfeeding is because artificial weaning is not good for the baby. Few moms are aware of the advantages of natural weaning. And few women also believe that weaning the baby early on makes him or her more independent later on. But this is not true.
Toddlers who have been weaned naturally are likely to become more secure and independent as he himself has made the decision not to rely on milk breast as a source of food. He had taken the decision after coming to know it’s time to stop being breast fed.