When you made the decision to nurse your baby, you undoubtedly did so because you knew about the many benefits nursing provided your newborn. After all, nursing protects your baby from gastro-intestinal trouble, respiratory issues, numerous ear infections and from developing allergies. Not to mention all the additional benefits like helping you to lose weight, lowering your stress, and reducing post-partum bleeding.
Of course, you did realize it would be nice to be able to leave your baby with a responsible caregiver, so you made sure to purchase a Madela breast pump and bottles as well. But, in all your careful planning, did you give any thought to how long you would nurse? While it is commonly accepted that babies are taken off the bottle around 12 months old, there is no reason one must quit nursing simply because the baby is now a year old.
Matter of fact, in many Eastern cultures, it is not uncommon for a child to still be nursing at 2, or even 3 years old. It is interesting to note that while the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends nursing until the first birthday and the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for the first 2 years, only 16% of nursing moms are still nursing beyond the baby's first birthday.
5 Reasons Why Should One Continue Nursing Beyond 12 Months
1. While it is often assumed that once babies begin solid foods (usually around 6 months), nursing is unnecessary, this is actually incorrect. A baby cannot have cow's milk until they are a year old, so formula will have to be purchased.
2. The longer your baby is nursed, the stronger their immune system will be; toddlers who are still being nursed are healthier than others.
3. The longer your nurse your baby, the better your chances are to prevent and avoid cancers like ovarian and breast as well as provide greater protection against osteoporosis and may even improve women's bone density, reducing the risk of hip fractures.
4. Nursing offers stability during a time of development and growth.
5. Nursing lets your baby set the pace at how often they want to eat, ultimately making weaning easier.
Nursing your baby is a special time in both of your lives. Enjoy it to its fullest, not just for the health benefits, but for the bonding it allows. Unbelievably, babyhood passes quickly, so make the most of those special moments while you can.