Breastfeeding is a not only an important bond between mother and child, but it offers many benefits to both. Despite what controversial opinions have to say, it is best to breastfeed for as long as your baby needs it. This means, it could be six months, nine months, or even three years old when your child weans off breastfeeding. And, if your friend’s baby stops breastfeeding at a year, that is ok too. There is nothing wrong with breastfeeding at any age, and one should never compare themselves to another mother who is breastfeeding differently.
What to Know About Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding for as long as possible should be the ultimate goal because there are many health benefits to reap from it. It is suggested that for the first six months the baby is breastfed to ensure they are receiving adequate nutrients, and after that, they can slowly be weaned off. Although some would say that by 2 years old one should stop breastfeeding, some mothers still choose too.
Women who choose to nurse their baby may also experience a spike in metabolism which helps with weight loss. Breastfeeding your baby also develops maternal sensitivity with your child. This is a special bond that forms between mother and child, and it is something that lasts for a lifetime.
What to Consider
Your lifestyle plays a big part in determining how long you should breastfeed for. If you are the breadwinner in the family and have to get back to work as soon as possible, it is still possible to breastfeed. Mothers in this type of situation have to decide whether they will pump their breast milk to store or begin weaning their child off, depending on the child’s age. Pumping breast milk to keep for feeding is a great idea for mothers who lead a busy lifestyle and leave their child with a nanny or relative. Additionally, pumping breast milk to store relieves some pressure off having to always be near your baby when they are hungry.
Some women may feel guilty about leaving their baby at home when returning to work. However, pumping breast milk to have ready for your baby while you are away is a great way to stay connected to them when you are apart. Simply keep it in the fridge or pack with the babysitter or relative while you are gone.
To make weaning easier for your baby, try to establish a goal for yourself to work towards. Having an idea in mind, whether you reach it or not, will help you stay motivated during the process. Some babies are pickier than others, and this makes for weaning hard. That being said, breastfeeding is a beautiful thing and if you do not feel like stopping then don’t. Babies will usually be able to let you know when they have grown out of it and are ready to move on. And, the more you get to know your new baby, the better you will be able to read their emotions and feelings.
Breastfeeding is a natural process that is the first form of food for babies to consume. There is nothing more special than nursing your baby, as you relax on a pregnancy pillow or in a rocking chair. It also plays an important part in helping the mother’s recovery after giving birth. The longer you breastfeed, the better your baby’s digestive system will work, as well as battle off infections. Researchers have even reported that nursing a child up to 9 months and beyond is actually linked to academic success. When it comes down to it, the best thing to do is let the child decide for him or herself when they want to stop nursing. By letting them decide, they will have received adequate nutrients and many health benefits they need. Often times, mothers may feel they need to wean their baby off before they are too old, but this should not be the case.
Breastfeeding is a beautiful part of the after-birth experience. It is advised to breastfeed your baby at least until 6 months old, so they are receiving all the vitamins and nourishment they need to grow into healthy kids. After that, it is up to you or the baby to decide when they are ready to wean. Whatever choice you make, do it with confidence.