How Long Should You Breastfeed Your Baby?

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When Should I Stop Breastfeeding?

For new mothers, there are queries all around. Most of them wonder that how long should they breastfeed the baby. If you are among them, you may need to know some important things like the benefits of breastfeeding, how many months to breastfeed and when to stop it.
Knowing benefits will motivate you to pay attention to this duty. But Before we start talking about benefits etc let’s see some facts

Facts About Breastfeeding

> WHO recommendation for breastfeeding duration: 6 months exclusively, extended up to 2 years.
> Even if your baby starts eating solid foods, he/she still receives major nutrients from Breast Milk.
> Babies 1 year to 2 years old: The breast milk is kind of tonic for your infant even though it may not be major part of baby’s diet by quantity.
> The breastfeeding is good for mother too, so the extended breastfeeding is not going to harm mother’s body if her diet is balanced.
> But in case mother is suffering from Calcium deficiency, doctors may recommend stopping the breastfeeding.
> Working Mothers: Many times working mothers have to go back to work before baby turns 6 months.
> Some medical conditions (which require mother to take medicines which are not allowed for breastfed baby) may not allow breastfeeding.

Benefits of Breastfeeding

breastfeeding mother
The nursing relationship, shared between the baby and the mother, has many benefits for both of them. The list of benefits is long, so check the major advantages as under –
• The Colostrum, considered as the first vaccine for a baby, supplies a healthy dose to the baby. It is known for protecting the newborn from all kind of infections.
• Once the Colostrum changes to transitional milk, the milk will become easier to digest, ending digestion problems, colic, rashes and gas.
• Mother’s milk is a great source of protein for the baby. It also reduces the chances of illnesses.
• For the mother, it reduces the postpartum bleeding, develops attachment to the newly-arrived member of your family, and helps you recover faster.

How Long to Breastfeed the Baby?

It is a personal decision of mother that how long she wants to nurse the baby. However, this decision can be wisely taken by using the recommendations, made in upcoming lines. We have already seen the advantages to clarify the importance of it.
It will be excellent for your child if he/she remains on exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, followed by one and a half year of extended breastfeeding. Confused? Don’t worry as it is covered in detail in next sections, along with the benefits.

Benefits of Exclusive Breastfeeding (Duration – 6 months)

For the first month (around 13-14 days specifically), the baby receives the Colostrum from mother’s milk which injects the antibodies and food to the child. It allows the baby to survive the most critical phase of infancy. It strengthens the immune and digestive systems.
The mature digestive system, after 3-4 months, will be able to easily digest the milk. It will also protect your baby from the allergies, ear infections, sickness, and other difficulties.
Breastfeeding for 6 months, without starting to serve other drinks or foods, should be your nursing goal for the good health of your baby. Frequent breastfeeding (the frequency in described below) helps in minimizing the chance of breast cancer and promotes mother’s health. So, hold back on the solids for first 6 months of your child’s life.

Benefits of Extended Breastfeeding (Duration – 1.5 Years over Exclusive Breastfeeding i.e. total 2 years)

baby mom hands
The body and brain development takes place during the first year of life, so continuing proper breastfeeding along with the introduction of solid food will be a good idea. It helps in nutrition and health of the baby. It also allows her to start speaking and standing soon.
When the kid reached 18 months, it should be well-introduced with solid food along with continuing the mother’s milk to protect it from illnesses.
Keep feeding the baby with mother’s milk for at least 2 years of beginning. Smooth transition to weaning should be implemented thereafter.

How Often You Should Feed Your Baby?

Mother’s milk is easy to digest. Breastfed babies have a strong digestive system than the formula-fed babies so they start feeling hungry very quickly. You should feed her whenever she is hungry, its that simple. Generally its 10-12 times a day.

Working Mothers & Breastfeeding

In case of working moms who cannot be with baby 24hrs a day, continuing breastfeeding few times a day is very much recommended. Mother’s skin-touch to baby is important for baby’s brain development. It is a good opportunity for mother to strengthen the bond with her child.
bond baby mother
In case of working mothers who wish to exclusively breastfeed baby, using breast pumps is an option. Also you can freeze the breast milk while on maternity leave which can be used when you join work.
Here are some excellent guides for you.
How to Freeze and Unfreeze the Breast Milk
Tips on Breast milk Storage
Questions like “How long should you breastfeed” will not puzzle you anymore as you are well-aware of how long to breastfeed your baby for the best results. So, do not forget to share this article to help other mothers.

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About Author

Maya

I am a Thai, mom to a 2 yrs old beautiful girl and a freelance writer. I am passionate about learning new things and writing about healthy lifestyle. I love doing and teaching Yoga and Meditation.

6 Comments

  1. Good article Maya it shows the interest of the importance of breastfeed, mother’s milk can’t compare with any other product. And breastfeed is very important not only for baby but also for mother, it protect her from cancer breast. If the mother able to breastfeed her baby 2 years, will be very good for baby growth.

  2. Pingback: Easy Weaning- How to Stop Breastfeeding Without Pain? | GoMama 24/7

  3. Pingback: Food Chart for 6 Months Old Baby | GoMama 24/7

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