Eco-friendly, One Step at a Time

Breastfeeding Beyond One Year – Why I Do It

It happened again. As I lifted up my blouse to nurse the nearly-2-year-old Anton, I got an incredulous response: “You’re still breastfeeding him?” I merely smiled and kept right on nursing.

On hindsight, I should have done better. It was a perfect opportunity to educate another woman about the benefits of breastfeeding beyond one year. In fact, the woman I was with is a registered nurse and yet she didn’t recognize the importance of breastfeeding my toddler.

So I’ve been thinking of what I wish I had said, or what I will say next time this happens. I think it’ll be something like, “Yes, of course. As far as breastfeeding is concerned, the longer a mother breastfeeds, the better it is for her baby and for herself.”

And if the person I’m talking to is still interested, then I will give the juicy details:


[ad#ad-2]
I like being able to put my toddler to sleep easily, without having to carry him or rock him to sleep.

With my little boy’s weight, I can barely carry him, let alone rock him to sleep. But when he’s tired, I can just sit down or lie down and nurse him and he’ll be out like a light.

It’s great to be able to comfort him when he’s having a rough time or even after a tantrum.

Toddlers are prone to sudden emotional shifts, which they cannot control. Breastfeeding allows me to help my toddler calm down and regroup in a loving, nurturing way. Nobody can deny that breastfeeding beyond one year is great for emotional bonding.

My milk continues to give him plenty of immune system boosters.

When the little guy started having a runny nose last week, I made a mental note to nurse him more frequently. His cold disappeared after one day. My breastmilk still contains antibodies and there’s just no other better way to give them to my child than through breastfeeding.

Scientists say babies who were breastfed the longest have higher IQs even up to adulthood.

Many studies have been made and published showing that there are differences in IQ between children who were breastfed vs formula-fed. The greater differences were observed among children and adults who were breastfed the longest. Need I say more?

Next time somebody makes an innocent (I won’t say “ignorant”) remark about me breastfeeding beyond one year, I’ll be ready.

What do YOU say when other people comment about your breastfeeding?

Related Resources:

Articles on Breastfeeding – From getting started to overcoming common problems, to nursing in public, and many more!

Breastfeeding Videos – It’s easier to learn how to breastfeed with the help of high-quality video footages. Includes advice from world-renowned experts, too, such as Dr. William Sears and others.

Photo by Alexander Tundakov

[!AdServe:Motherwear!]



If you liked this post, submit your email address below to get new posts by email:

Disclaimer: This website is not a substitute for consultation with your health care giver. You should not use any of the exercises or treatments mentioned in this website, without clearance from your physician or health care provider.

Disclosure: When I mention products, you must assume I will receive compensation for doing so. However, I only recommend products and services I myself use or believe in and would recommend to my own sisters and mother. Nevertheless, you should perform your own due diligence before purchasing a product or service mentioned in this website.

44 Responses to Breastfeeding Beyond One Year – Why I Do It

  1. Katherine says:

    Thanks for posting your approach on the subject. I breastfed my son until he was almost two years old, and had very little support from those closest to me. Now I have better replies for the next one!

  2. Alexis says:

    @Katherine: We do tend to get better with breastfeeding as we have more children. I wish I could come up with a witty retort though. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Erin says:

    Hi. This is a very interesting read. I was unable to breastfeed my first daughter, but I’m pregnant again, and really, REALLY want to try with my second child.
    I’m just curious, as a toddler, is breast milk the only nourishment he’s getting, or do you feed him regular food as well?
    This certainly makes sense the way you’ve put it, and I commend you for doing so. I would really like to look more into the subject as a whole. If you’ve got any tips, please do let me know! πŸ™‚

  4. Dean says:

    I do not judge mothers who choose to breastfeed after one year. Both of my children weaned themselves at around 18 months. However, I am concerned with your practice of nursing your child to sleep or in order to comfort them when upset. Being able to calm oneself and to fall asleep independently are important skills for children to learn. In addition, teaching your child to eat as a calming or soothing mechanism can lead to inappropriate uses for food, such as stress eating.
    Breastfeeding past a certain age is not the issue for me. Using your breast as a pacifier is counterproductive at any age.

  5. Ann says:

    Hi
    I fed my now almost 12 year old son until he was nearly three, albeit at night time only for the last year
    It was a huge confort and consolation to him, I realise that genes have a lot to do with his poersonality but I firmly believe the nursing and teh one to one that he got at this tim emade him as he is today, all through his life strangers have commmented on how relaxed he is, how caringand kind to other kids, how he appears to have lived before…..I think it sets them up as secure young people and onto adulthood, that along with shared sleep is or excellent benefit to our kids
    If i mention that he still comes into my bed for cuddles or the night if my partner is away people scold and say you’ll have to get him out of it..WHY?
    The factthat my child feels comfortable with me, does not mean he will do it forever, Im sure in a year or two it will disolve, and hes a great cuddle!

  6. Emma says:

    Good for you. I wish I’d been able to feed my son for longer, I managed till he was one and then he refused, I now realise I should have carried on through it.

  7. Alexis says:

    @Erin: My son has been eating solids since he was about 6 months old. Now at almost 2 years of age, he mostly eats what the rest of the family eats. Lately he’s been so busy exploring the world that he nurses just a few times a day, definitely not as often as before. For more breastfeeding tips, please check out the resources I listed at the end of the blog post. Good luck on breastfeeding your second child. If you put your mind to it, you CAN do it!

    @Dean: You raised some good issues. Children will and should learn to comfort themselves – when they’re ready. Besides, I don’t nurse my child every single time he’s upset! Nursing is more like the last resort, when all else fails. I do not believe in forcing children to self-soothe before they are ready. Right now, my child is conflicted between being more independent and fear of separation from me. It is only normal that he would seek comfort from me when he is hurt or upset. And I would prefer him to seek out people rather than objects when he needs comforting. I don’t think it will lead to stress eating at all because breastfeeding is so much more than merely feeding a child. It is part and parcel of a strong bond between mother and child.

    @Ann: Congratulations on breastfeeding until your child was 3! After having 3 kids myself I can assure you that they do outgrow that crawling-into-your-bed-in-the-middle-of-the-night thing πŸ™‚

    @Emma: It’s great the you breastfed your son until 1 year. Many others don’t last so long.

  8. amber says:

    i bf our first for 6 years and have tandem nursed the three following. our last had suck swallow problems, but with two other nursing i was able to pump 18- 30 oz a day for 9 months before getting pg and having my milk dry up.

  9. Lexi says:

    @amber: wow, 6 years! and pumping full time for a baby – kudos to you!

  10. Annette says:

    No one has ever really said anything to me about it at all, much less in a negative way. My baby is 17+ months old. I still pump at work, too. I think sometimes my co-workers talk about it behind my back, but they dont say anything to me.
    What would I say? I dont know. If it was a confrontational thing, I am sure I would be too stunned to think of what to say until later. I would have a witty repartee later, I’m sure. Why do I do it? Because my baby’s not ready to wean. She wouldnt ask to nurse if she didnt want to nurse. And yes, I certainly nurse her for comfort and for sleep as well. Because she asks for it. She is a beautiful happy healthy little girl. Thanks for listening!

  11. srab says:

    Hi – It is very reassuring to meet Mother’s who have breastfed for a long time and know how special it is. I have been breastfeeding for 13 months now. My son is very active and is little low on percentiles. That is because both I and his Dad are lean people. My doctor wants me to wean him of breast because she thinks he is not gaining weight because of breastmilk and he is over dependant on breast and it is absolutely not necessary. I was shocked. I am feeding him variety of good healthy food and I will not stop breastfeeding. Has anyone else faced such a situation?

  12. Alexis says:

    @srab – Make sure your doctor is using the growth charts for breastfed babies. You can find them in the World Health Organization website at http://www.who.int/childgrowth/en/

    My children tend to be on the lean side, too, and I used to worry. It was my children’s pediatrician who reassured me that there was nothing to worry about. After all, both DH and I are on the lean side. It helps a lot to have supportive health care givers!

  13. Jennboree says:

    I breastfed my oldest daughter until she was 19 months, my youngest just turned two and she nurses a bit before we rock at bedtime. Nursing at this stage isn’t about food intake for the baby, it is about security and comfort. If my daughter is distraught, I can quickly soothe her by holding her close, talking to her and letting her nurse. It is never for more than a few minutes.

    I never realized the importance of breastfeeding and our Western cultures hangups about it until I had children. When asked, I just tell people that she isn’t ready to wean completely so neither am I. Frankly, I don’t care what anyone thinks about it, including my mom who is pretty much disgusted by it!

  14. Anon says:

    Though many would find this very strange, I have been breast fed up until I was 6 years old. I’m 13 now, and my IQ is 135 and I excel in all subjects.

    Despite the mean comments that mothers may receive when breast feeding past 5 months, those who do so feel very rewarded. Seeing their child blossom into a healthy, intelligent individual is worth the time and effort πŸ™‚

  15. […] she is passionate about helping other Moms breastfeed successfully. Learn the secret benefits of breastfeeding beyond one year and other breastfeeding tips at http://www.naturalmomsblog.com Share and Enjoy:These icons link to […]

  16. […] Rodrigo is a breastfeeding Mom and certified childbirth educator. Find out why breastfeeding beyond one year is good for Moms and babies too. Want to get more natural parenting information? Subscribe to the […]

  17. […] Rodrigo is a breastfeeding Mom and certified childbirth educator. Find out why breastfeeding beyond one year is good for Moms and babies. Want more natural parenting tips and resources? Subscribe to the free […]

  18. […] she is passionate about helping other Moms breastfeed successfully. Learn the secret benefits of breastfeeding beyond one year and other breastfeeding tips at […]

  19. […] Rodrigo is a breastfeeding Mom and certified childbirth educator. Find out why breastfeeding beyond one year is good for Moms and babies. Want more natural parenting tips and resources? Subscribe to the free […]

  20. […] Rodrigo is a breastfeeding Mom and certified childbirth educator. Find out why breastfeeding beyond one year is good for Moms and babies. Want more natural parenting tips and resources? Subscribe to the free […]

  21. […] Rodrigo is a breastfeeding Mom and certified childbirth educator. Find out why breastfeeding beyond one year is good for Moms and babies too. Want to get more natural parenting information? Subscribe to the […]

  22. […] Rodrigo is a breastfeeding Mom and certified childbirth educator. Find out why breastfeeding beyond one year is good for Moms and babies. Want more natural parenting tips and resources? Subscribe to the free […]

  23. […] she is passionate about helping other Moms breastfeed successfully. Learn the secret benefits of breastfeeding beyond one year and other breastfeeding tips at […]

  24. […] she is passionate about helping other Moms breastfeed successfully. Learn the secret benefits of breastfeeding beyond one year and other breastfeeding tips at […]

  25. […] Rodrigo is a breastfeeding Mom and certified childbirth educator. Find out why breastfeeding beyond one year is good for Moms and babies. Want more natural parenting tips and resources? Subscribe to the free […]

  26. Flora says:

    My son is 15 months old and sadly our breastfeeding will be ending soon. I am in the Military and I am being deployed. I was told by family and friends to stop earlier to help him better transistion to my deployment. I simply felt like I needed to breastfeed him until I left, he does not want to stop and I don’t want him to suffer anymore than he already has to because he is losing his mommy. If I wasn’t deploying I believe we would continue beastfeeding until he lost interest. I breastfeed my son once in the morning, when I get home from work, and several times in the night. I just hope that he will be OK with Daddy when I’m gone. I commend all breastfeeding mom’s and highly recommend breasfeeding to full time working mom’s.

  27. Alexis says:

    Kudos to you, Flora, for doing everything you can to breastfeed your son! It’ll be tough on all of you, but you’ve already laid a solid foundation by breastfeeding your son as long as you could.

  28. […] she is passionate about helping other Moms breastfeed successfully. Learn the secret benefits of breastfeeding beyond one year and other breastfeeding tips at http://www.naturalmomsblog.com var a2a_config = a2a_config || {}; […]

  29. Dashaina says:

    Alexis:
    I am currently breastfeeding my 3 month old and would like to try to get pregnant again in January (2012), I would also like to continue breastfeeding my daughter through the pregnancy, can you give any advice suggestions or examples of how you did it? What you ate? How successful, etc? I am sure other moms would love to read about it too! If you have already posted something like this, I apologise I just found your sight and think it is wonderful.

    Cheers!
    Dashaina

  30. Alexis says:

    @Dashaina – Unfortunately, I’ve never breastfed through a pregnancy as all my babies are six years apart from the older child. Unfortunately, I don’t any articles on the site on that topic. However, when I find some good ones, I’ll make sure and post the links here.

  31. Jett says:

    I think my little brother is who is a little older now stopped breastfeeding when he was 3 years old or something which might be a little too old, right?

  32. Jett says:

    Oops sry about that made a ‘little’ mistake in my last comment :)_

  33. Sandra says:

    I am still nursing my son of almost 13 months and have no plans of stopping in the near future. I love nursing him and will miss the closeness very much when it’s over. I work part time at my uncles clothing store and I was talking to a customer the other day about children and I mentioned how I still nurse my little guy, but mainly at night. She said, “Oh…you have a boy?! You better start giving him cereal or something, because he has got to be getting hungry and needs something else. You are gonna have to stop doing that!” I was totally taken aback by the fact that this women actually thought that I was starving my son all day and just feeding him when he nursed at night.

  34. Alexis says:

    @Sandra – Just goes to show how little other people know, LOL!

  35. […] she is passionate about helping other Moms breastfeed successfully. Learn the secret benefits of breastfeeding beyond one year and other breastfeeding tips at […]

  36. Whit says:

    I’m still successfully breastfeeding my 9 mth old. His pediatrician has suggested that I wean him at 12 mths. I’m starting to think I should (and would like to) nurse longer but have very little support. I live in a small southern town and my attachment parenting style is not very popular. I’ve also ran into some sleep issue disputes. Pretty much everyone I know recommends I let my son cry it out so he will sleep through the night. I still nurse him twice each night. The “experts” say that if I continue to get up with him, I’ll create a night waking habit that could impact him the rest of his life (talk about guilt!). I do let him cry for up to 15 min during the day for naps when I know he is tired. Can you share anything about breastfeeding and sleep that you’ve experienced with your children. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

  37. carol says:

    thanks so much for your thoughts. my daughter is now a little past 12 months and we will keep nursing til she wants to stop or til the milk isn’t there. recently i got some suggestions by the pediatrician to give my daughter cow’s milk because ‘she’s now 1 yrs old’… it didn’t make sense to me to do that and i think that there are still lots of benefits to nursing her. anyways, thanks for your blog entry as it reminds me to keep at it. honestly, it was hard to nurse her for 11 months and then when i finally stopped stressing, it got much better. there are still many moments when i wonder if it’ll be easier to stop but then i remember all those sweet times when she nurses so well… and i choose for us to keep at it. thanks again. πŸ™‚ isn’t it great that after so long, your blog entry is still being read by new mommies of 2010 and 2011? πŸ™‚

  38. Lucca says:

    it has been a blessing to be able to breastfeed my son up until eighteen month aside from all of the health benifiets it provides for the both of us theres a bond there that is surpassed by nothing its amazing and yes i have delt with a lack of support good thing i just kept going

  39. […] Rodrigo is a breastfeeding Mom and certified childbirth educator. Find out why breastfeeding beyond one year is good for Moms and babies too. Want to get more natural parenting information? Subscribe to the […]

  40. […] Rodrigo is a breastfeeding Mom and certified childbirth educator. Find out why breastfeeding beyond one year is good for Moms and babies. Subscribe to the free Natural Parenting Newsletter at […]

  41. […] Rodrigo is a breastfeeding Mom and certified childbirth educator. Find out why breastfeeding beyond one year is good for Moms and babies. Subscribe to the free Natural Parenting Newsletter at […]

  42. Angela Wills says:

    Interesting post Lexi! As you know I’m pregnant with my second child. I have to say that I’m really not excited about breastfeeding and I doubt I’ll go past the six month mark but I DO believe it’s the way to go if I can.

    With my first son I had problems with breastfeeding. He really didn’t want it and had been supplemented with formula from day one (at the suggestion of the nurses who said it would be fine). Once he had a taste of how easy the bottle was he would fight not to breastfeed and I think I simply didn’t have the determination or energy to fight it.

    I have to say though that my son has never yet been on antibiotics, he’s almost never sick (flus or colds) and he has no medical conditions, allergies, etc, so at least in his case I can’t see how not breastfeeding had any negative effect on his health.

    Also, he’s smart. And I know that may sound like a mom who maybe sees her child as smart because we all do but he constantly ranked way higher in reading at an early age, he was very independent and very quick to pick up stuff. Matter of fact I was told by a number of his teacher’s that he may be gifted and when he did go for gifted testing the lady said he was just under and mostly because he doesn’t really apply himself to schoolwork because he doesn’t want to.

    I think my son being the opposite of what the stats seem to show on formula feeding may have had to do with how well I ate during pregnancy. I took my role as ‘baby builder’ while he was in the womb very seriously and ate as much nutrition food as possible. I think I gave him a great start and the building blocks he needed that way before he came out into the world.

    Anyway I’m not trying to start a debate by any means. I think it’s definitely a GOOD thing to nurse! Also I think your right to nurse as long as you feel is right for you and your kids is so important. It’s not right that people make you feel guilty on it.

    The one thing I noticed is that it seems no matter if you breastfeed or if you don’t there’s someone out there to judge and that’s too bad. We are all moms doing what we think is the very best for our kids!

    Holy long comment, but you definitly got me thinking. I’m going to try, hard this time at least to breastfeed. If I make it past six months I’ll be happy πŸ™‚

  43. Alexis Rodrigo says:

    @Angela Wills – I’m glad you’re going to try for at least six months of breastfeeding! Every little bit is good.

    About your breastfeeding experience with your first child, I think the most common reasons why a newborn seems to reject the breast are:

    * he was placed in the nursery and given a pacifier and/or a bottle with glucose water
    * he didn’t know how to nurse yet
    * he was too drugged to nurse properly
    * mom was inexperienced and didn’t know how to latch the baby on
    * any combination of the above

    If you want to avoid this with your baby, I would suggest:

    * room in with your baby
    * instruct the hospital that you do NOT want your baby to receive pacifiers or any form of artificial feeding
    * place baby to the breast as soon as possible after birth – newborn babies have been observed to crawl towards their mother’s breast and start breastfeeding without any assistance at all, so we just need to get out of their way
    * get help with latching baby on – breastfeeding doesn’t come naturally or automatically to some Moms nowadays, and we all need a little encouragement and practical advice now and then

    I’ve counselled a number of women with breastfeeding. Once, I thought the baby would never latch on, and I was close to giving up myself. But with the mother’s perseverance and the support of other women, her baby eventually latched ono and fed like a champ!

    If you have any questions at all about breastfeeding, you know where to find me!

  44. Angela Wills says:

    Yes you’re right about why he didn’t breastfeed. I was told in the hospital by the nurses that I could supplement with formula (the little bottles they had there) and he’d still breastfeed so I did that at first for some reason (can’t even remember why now, guess it seemed easiest).

    Then when I tried breastfeeding he just fought and fought not to until finally I gave the bottle and he sucked it down. He had it in his mind that the bottle was what he wanted and I didn’t have the energy to fight it after a few days of trying constantly!

    So anyway I think I do need to be more determined this time and also not supplement with the bottle because that seemed to completely backfire and I’m not sure why the nurses told me it was ok to do.

    Thanks for the advice!

Google