Wonderful effects of breastfeeding past one year

I have couple of friends with new babies and since I nursed my now 4.5 year old until she was 2, I get many questions about nursing.

Well, luckily I write and so I had my old notes and articles from 3 years ago, which I decided to post here, and hopefully their may be useful is some way to other new moms as well as to my friends 🙂

Peasant woman nursing a baby, by Aimé-Jules Dalou,

Peasant woman nursing a baby, by Aimé-Jules Dalou

My daughter gave up her pacifier before she was 1, on her own. At one time, desperate to get her to sleep through the night without nursing, I tried to give her the pacifier, but she absolutely refused. Also around 1 she gave up a bottle and only used sippy cups.

She never developed any attachments to an object. I read somewhere that if you wean a baby too early, they find a substitute in a form of some sort of an object such as toy, blanket, bottle, pacifier etc. Apparently they miss human connection, closeness that nursing provides and that “thing”, that object that they choose is an attempt to replace what they are missing. So they develop an attachment to an object. It sounded sad to me, so I was happy to notice that there was in fact a difference between my oldest and my youngest. While my oldest daughter nursed only until she was 10 month, she did get desperately attached to a toy fish (that we still, 14 years later, have), yet my youngest, had no preference for any “thing” whatsoever.

Here is what Dr. Sears has to say about extended breastfeeding:

Science is on your side. I have read many medical journals with articles proving the long-term health benefits of breastfeeding. The incidence of many illnesses, both childhood and adult, are lowered by breastfeeding  — diabetes, heart disease, and central nervous system degenerative disorders (such as multiple sclerosis) to name a few. The most fascinating studies show that the longer and more frequently a mom nurses her baby, the smarter her child is likely to become. The brain grows more during the first two years of life than any other time, nearly tripling in size from birth to two years of age. It’s clearly a crucial time for brain development, and the intellectual advantage breastfed babies enjoy is attributed to the “smart fats” unique to mom’s breast milk (namely, omega-3 fatty acid, also known as DHA). From head to toe, babies who breastfeed for extended periods of time are healthier overall. They tend to have leaner bodies with less risk of obesity. They also have improved vision, since the eye is similar to the brain in regards to nervous tissue. They have better hearing due to a lower incidence of ear infections. Their dental health is generally good, since the natural sucking action of the breastfed infant helps incoming teeth align properly. Intestinal health is also much better than those of non-breastfed babies, as breast milk is easier to digest, reducing spit-up, reflux, and constipation. A toddler’s immune system functions much better since breastmilk contains an immunoglobulin (IGA) which coats the lining of the intestines, which helps prevent germs from penetrating through. Even the skin of these babies is smoother and more supple.

I tried to avoid nursing outside of the house. I would breastfeed the little one at home before and after she slept/napped, as well as at night. When she took two naps, she’d nurse at waking up in the morning, then before and after each nap, then before bed and 2-3 times at night. We  have gone through few months when she’d wake up every 2-2.5 hours to nurse. … but about that in another post.

Good luck, enjoy and take care of yourself, because you are your baby’s source of everything, great nutrients, loving motherly energy  – in those moments of nursing you two are one again, just like when the baby was in your belly – feel the connection, cherish it.

To your health,

Elena

Image source: http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O176526/peasant-woman-nursing-a-baby-terracotta-dalou-aime-jules/
http://www.parenting.com/article/ask-dr-sears-extended-breastfeeding—-handling-the-criticism

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Showing 2 comments
  • The Well Girl
    Reply

    Love this! Most people seem to think that nursing past a year is pointless, but I’ve read studies which found the ‘natural’ weaning age to be 2-3 years. Sadly, most babies don’t even get one year. Thanks for putting out this helpful info, and for stopping by my blog!

    • Elena
      Reply

      Hi Well Girl, thank you so much for stopping by!
      I feel the same way about nursing past 2 years, and like you say, most moms don’t even give it a year 🙁
      Thank you again,
      Elena

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