Breastfeeding Is Not Just For Babies

June 29, 2008

Experts generally recommend exclusive breastfeeding for babies for the first 6 months and continuing on at least until baby's first birthday.  After that, they say, breastfeeding should continue for as long as mother and child desire.  Besides fulfilling your child's needs for both physical touch and sucking, breastfeeding is good for both of you as long as it continues.

Health Benefits Of Breastfeeding As Long As Your Child Nurses

The health benefits of breastfeeding continue on as long as your baby continues to nurse - and then some.  Your milk adapts itself to your baby's changing needs as he gets older.  It even gets higher in calories after baby's first birthday.  Your milk's immunological properties continue to protect your child and contribute to the development of her own immune system, which is not fully developed until the age of 6.  This is probably the reason that the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding at least until the age of 2.

Many of the health benefits for you increase the longer you nurse your child.  For instance, breastfeeding a child for more than 24 months has been shown to lower your risk of breast cancer by 50 percent!

Straight Teeth from Breastfeeding

Now that your child has a mouthful of teeth you may be wondering how much you will need to spend on orthodontia in the future.  Breastfeeding will save you money in two ways.  The fist way began long before your baby had teeth.  Breastfeeding your infant encourages proper tongue motion and oral musculature.  These are crucial for the proper alignment of the teeth.  Furthermore, a breastfeeding toddler has his sucking needs met at the breast, which means he will not end up sucking on other things, his thumb or a pacifier, which could alter the shape of his mouth.

Toddlers are Picky Eaters

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters.  Besides that they are often too busy to sit down for a meal.  The mother of a breastfed baby can rest assured that her child is getting plenty of vitamins and minerals, even if the only thing he will eat is cheerios.  Since your toddler will be a very efficient breastfeeder, even a brief nursing will ensure an abundance of goodness.

Easier Mothering with Toddlers

Of course you know that your child falls asleep easiest while breastfeeding and it probably makes his transition to being awake easier as well.  But did you know that breastfeeding is a proven pain reliever.  Your little one's mobility and curiosity means a lot of bumps and bruises.  Breastfeeding is the perfect remedy for his sore knees and his sore ego.  Breastfeeding a two year old can easily turn the terrible twos into terrific twos!

Early Discipline with Toddlers

You may feel overwhelmed by your child's demand to breastfeed.  There is no reason that you should have to breastfeed a toddler "on demand."  Toddlerhood is a time when parents begin to set limits.  This is true for breastfeeding as well. For instance, if you are uncomfortable nursing a toddler in public, you can tell him that nursing is only for home.  Or if he is waking you at night to nurse, teach him that there is no nursing while you are sleeping. Remember, breastfeeding your toddler does not need to be all or nothing, finding the right balance will keep it enjoyable for both of you.

Time For The Two Of You-Mom and Toddlers

Of course you are still the center of your child's world but now he has other interests as well.   Breastfeeding is the perfect way for a busy mother and a busy child to reconnect.

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