Super Extended Breastfeeding

Posted: February 4, 2013 in Misang's Motherhood Journey
Tags: , ,

As some of you know, my toddler just turned two last December. And guess what? She hasn’t weaned yet!

Yeah, yeah…most of you will surely tell me to try to wean her. Or like some Pedia here in Papua New Guinea just told me (straight to my face) that my milk has no nutrients and that I should stop nursing her and instead (gasp!) give her formula.

These comments made me think of researching further to prove that breastfeeding is still best for kids beyond 2 years old. And NO, I’m not going to wean Iya for the mean time, even though there are times that I really want to. Contrary to what others believe that kids who still nurse are so clingy and very dependent, Iya is a very independent kid – she can entertain herself, she gets her water from the table, she can get her toys by herself, some other things that other kids would normally ask help from their parents.

The Controversial Time Magazine Cover

Here are some from Kellymom

Although there has been little research done on children who breastfeed beyond the age of two, the available information indicates that breastfeeding continues to be a valuable source of nutrition and disease protection for as long as breastfeeding continues.

“Human milk expressed by mothers who have been lactating for >1 year has significantly increased fat and energy contents, compared with milk expressed by women who have been lactating for shorter periods. During prolonged lactation, the fat energy contribution of breast milk to the infant diet might be significant.”
– Mandel 2005

The American Academy of Family Physicians notes that children weaned before two years of age are at increased risk of illness (AAFP 2008).

Breastfeeding toddlers between the ages of one and three have been found to have fewer illnesses, illnesses of shorter duration, and lower mortality rates  (Mølbak 1994, van den Bogaard  1991, Gulick 1986).

“Antibodies are abundant in human milk throughout lactation” (Nutrition During Lactation 1991; p. 134). In fact, some of the immune factors in breastmilk increase in concentration during the second year and also during the weaning process. (Lawrence & Lawrence 2011, Goldman 1983, Goldman & Goldblum 1983, Institute of Medicine 1991).

According to Elizabeth N. Baldwin, Esq. in “Extended Breastfeeding and the Law”:
“Breastfeeding is a warm and loving way to meet the needs of toddlers and young children. It not only perks them up and energizes them; it also soothes the frustrations, bumps and bruises, and daily stresses of early childhood. In addition, nursing past infancy helps little ones make a gradual transition to childhood.“

Baldwin continues: “Meeting a child’s dependency needs is the key to helping that child achieve independence. And children outgrow these needs according to their own unique timetable.” Children who achieve independence at their own pace are more secure in that independence then children forced into independence prematurely.

There are also benefits for mommies

Breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer (References). Studies have found a significant inverse association between duration of lactation and breast cancer risk.

Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of ovarian cancer (References), uterine cancer (References), and endometrial cancer (References).

Breastfeeding protects against osteoporosis. During lactation a mother may experience decreases of bone mineral. A nursing mom’s bone mineral density may be reduced in the whole body by 1 to 2 percent while she is still nursing. This is gained back, and bone mineral density may actually increase, when the baby is weaned from the breast. This is not dependent on additional calcium supplementation in the mother’s diet. (References).

Breastfeeding reduces the risk of rheumatoid arthritis (References).

Breastfeeding reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease (References).

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