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Should I extend breastfeeding?

mom breastfeeding her baby

Key points:

  1. Breast milk provides energy, vitamins, and antibodies that strengthen a child’s immune system, and breastfeeding can provide comfort and security.
  2. Deciding when to stop breastfeeding is a personal decision that should be made by the mother and child.
  3. Breastfeeding may continue even when a child is eating solid foods, and the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding along with complementary foods up to two years or beyond.
  4. Mothers may face criticism from others regarding their decision to breastfeed, but it is important to trust their instincts and remember that breastfeeding is a natural act full of tenderness and love.

Deciding when to stop breastfeeding is a very personal issue. You and your child know the best time to stop, nobody else does. Even though your baby is probably already an expert at eating solids and breast milk is not the only source of nutrition, it continues to provide energy, vitamins, and antibodies that strengthen your child’s immune system. Furthermore, breastfeeding remains a great source of comfort and security. Despite the fact that children’s excessive dependence due to breastfeeding has been criticized, research has shown the opposite. You may continue breastfeeding to reassure your baby when sick or altered, after a fall, or just because you want to keep doing so. The World Health Organization recommends continued breastfeeding along with complementary foods up to two years or beyond.

Dealing with criticism

People always seem to have an opinion about everything; breastfeeding during the first year, or even after 6 months, is not an exception. Don’t let criticism affect you. Breastfeeding is a natural act full of tenderness and love! The best indicator to know that you are right is your own instinct and your partner’s support, but not the views of others. Likewise, if you feel that breastfeeding doesn’t affect your child’s social growth or interfere between you and your partner, just keep on doing it.

Experts suggest that when your child begins to talk, you can create a secret word that only you and your baby know. In that way, when he wants to be breastfed, your little one can say this word. You can also decide to only breastfeed at home, that way your child will know that when you are out he will drink milk out of his own bottle and not from mom’s breast. Don’t forget to listen to instinct and think about what is best for you and your little one. You’ll hear some unsolicited advice or opinions from family or close friends. Listen to them and thank them for their concern. Use your sense of humor to lighten up the conversation, and remember that, at the end of the day, you will decide what is best for your little one!

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