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5 Benefits of Extended Breastfeeding

5 benefits of extended breastfeeding

Before I became a mom, I always knew I wanted to breastfeed. I also thought that breastfeeding would likely end once my baby turned one. Isn’t that what most people do? They don’t “technically” need breastmilk beyond a year so most people stop? Or so I thought. And I know most moms are happy to give it up at that point because maybe it wasn’t the easiest road to get there. But for us, I didn’t see a reason to stop. It continued to have a lot of benefits in our family so I’ve continued to do it. The WHO actually recommends breastfeeding until 2 years of age. So that is my new goal, to continue until our little guy is 2 years old and then reassess at that point. While we have seen many benefits from breastfeeding beyond a year, I thought I would compile some of them in a list including other ones I was surprised to find out as well.

Here are 5 benefits of extended breastfeeding: 

1. Part of a bedtime routine. I put this at the top of the list because this is really the reason I have continued. It’s been part of our bedtime routine and it helps my son go to sleep. It provides comfort before he goes to bed and makes getting him to bed a lot easier! This has been extremely beneficial when we’re staying overnight in a different place that’s not familiar to him.

2. Provides comfort. There’s been a few times he’s been sick, teething, tired and he just wants to nurse. It calms him down. And boy I am really happy that I have this tool at my disposal still. Particularly when you have a sick toddler, being able to comfort them when they wake up in the middle of the night, or before a nap is a huge benefit.

3. It boosts their immune system. Since starting daycare, our little guy has only gotten sick twice. Twice in five months is pretty good. I had heard horror stories of other moms with their toddlers constantly getting sick. Granted he is in a home daycare, but the home daycare has regular school kids which I’m sure carry just as many germs. Breastmilk beyond one year continues to carry antibodies that will help fight illnesses. Kelly Mom states “Breastfeeding toddlers between the ages of one and three have been found to have fewer illnesses, illnesses of shorter duration, and lower mortality rates”

4. It contributes to your child’s intellectual development. A study done in Brazil found that children breastfed for 12 months or longer had a higher IQ (about 3.7 points), more years of education and earned roughly 20% more than the average income level. One hypothesis on why this may be is because breastmilk is rich in good fats which are essential for brain growth and development.

5. Longer duration of breastfeeding can help reduce health risks for the mom. Extended breastfeeding can help reduce risk of breast, ovarian, uterine and endometrial cancer in mom.

What are some reasons you have decided to extended breastfeed?

Other Breastfeeding Support

Lactation Cookies – make a batch of our lactation cookies. They are easy to make and taste great!

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7 comments on “5 Benefits of Extended Breastfeeding”

  1. Hi, I know this is an older post but thought I’d share anyway. My daughter is currently 2 yrs old and we have no plans to stop breastfeeding anytime soon. The main reason is that she has special needs and limited understanding, so at the moment trying to wean seems impossible. But also, I don’t really want to stop, I know she will be my last baby and I’m ‘milking’ it for all it’s worth (pun intended). I breastfed my older daughter until she was 26 months too. Some of my inlaws don’t agree with breastfeeding full stop, so I have copped some comments for continuing, but my bubs and I are happy and healthy so I don’t care; I just put it down to ignorance. Plus the money we save by breastfeeding, an added bonus!!!!

  2. Breastfeeding my twin boy and girl they are coming up 6 months now and are thriving from the nutritional goodness and I feel great too I will continue on feeding until 2 I also breastfed my 10 year old for four months wish I had carried on longer but my health wouldn’t allow me however all my babies are so happy and healthy and I put most of that down to breastfeeding

  3. BF my twin boys until 3, and my girl also until she was 3. Convenience. The boys growth was wonderful. Less illness for everyone. It was so beneficial. We were able to stop, cold turkey, on their 3rd birthday without any care or concerns.

  4. BF my twin boys until 3, and my girl also until she was 3. Convenience. The boys growth was wonderful. Less illness for everyone. It was so beneficial. We were able to stop, cold turkey, on their 3rd birthday without any care or concerns.ma

  5. Thanks for your post. I bf my first son until he was 22 months and I’m currently breastfeeding my 17 month old. It’s really helpful to see the reasons why extended breastfeeding is beneficial. I find that people tend to view extended bf in a negative light which is very frustrating.

  6. Our guy is 18 months in a little bit and we still bf about once or twice a day. Someday I’ll miss his little hand rested on me and his sigh when he’s content.
    Daycare for us was horrid- he was non stop sick the entire time 🙁
    Being pregnant now is tricky as I find it’s now painful to BF when I had previously felt no pain. Never thought I’d go beyond one year but am now looking at tandem feeding. Just goes to show us that we need to save our plans and ideas until we get to that point-because you never know how you’ll feel once you get there!

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