Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How long should we breastfeed? For 2 years and beyond...

Is is 'normal' for a toddler of 2 years to be breastfed? Who decides what is the norm? The media? I often hear medical professionals advising patients to wean off their baby after 6 months or after a year. I also often hear friends ask me " Are you STILL breastfeeding?". We should realized that our norm for the past 30 or more are determined by the intervention of formula companies. Breast milk was the only way of feeding before formula came into being. Mothers can breastfeeding for as long as they want.

United Nations recommends that Babies should be exclusively breastfed for 6 months, then complement with solid food till 2 years and beyond.

" Optimal infant and young child feeding means that mothers are empowered to initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth, breastfeed exclusively for the first six months and continue to breastfeed for two years or more, together with nutritionally adequate, safe, age appropriate, responsive complementary feeding starting in the sixth month."
Extracted from UNICEF - Infant and child feeding goals

"Pediatricians and parents should be aware that exclusive breastfeeding is sufficient to support optimal growth and development for approximately the first 6 months of life and provides continuing protection against diarrhea and respiratory tract infection. Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child."
Extracted from La Leche League International - How long should a mother breastfeed?

Information on Extended Breastfeeding beyond one year.

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