My daughter, now 6, nursed like a champ for the first 4 months of her life. I contracted a kidney infection, and ended up in the hospital for a weekend, on meds. The nurse told me I had to stop breastfeeding...instead of looking for a lactation consultant to talk to me! I am quite sure she would have nursed for quite some time. She had bottle mouth so bad by the age of 2, that she had to have mouth surgery. We are still not sure why this happened, as we always brushed her teeth, and took care of her mouth. She also has some behavior problems, uncluding Autism. On the bright side, she is 2 grade levels ahead of her class in reading and math.
I wish I knew about Le Leche League for my older 2 kids. I would have been able to nurse them a lot longer then I did, and they would have been a lot better off for it! To this day, I still feel guilty for quitting on them!
My little man, now 2, nursed for 23 months. I would have gone longer, but he decided to stop, even though mama tried to encourage him to continue! He never had a drop of formula! He is exceptionally bright and, even though he can be a handful, seems to have no other behavior problems I saw in the other two by this age!
The baby seemed to have a hard time adjusting to the outside. He is nursing like a champ, but we did end up giving him a couple bottles of formula a week, maybe 3 a week, for the first 4 weeks of his life. He is now 2 months old and exclusively on breastmilk. I plan to keep it that way for as long as he wants to go! Maybe he will be my kid to go past the 23 month mark. He is also my last baby...so it may take mama a while to wean him!
I see a lot of people wondering when they should wean their baby off the breast. Many think that they have to by a certain age (3 months, 6 months, 1 year, etc...) because they either heard it from a friend or relative, or a doctor. The good news is, there IS no age you HAVE to wean.
First and foremost, doctors have little to no factual knowledge in the area of breastfeeding. They only know what they may have read in a book, or learned in a 5 minute blurb in a class in medical school. If you want the real facts on breastfeeding, contact a lactation consultant, or the local Le Leche League.
Many will tell you that, after a year, there is no nutritional value to breastmilk. That is about as true as saying that after one, there is no nutritional value to food itself. It is just not true. In fact, unlike formula, breastmilk changes and grows WITH your child, to meet their current nutritional needs. The milk that your baby had as a newborn, is not the same as it was/is going to be at 12 months, 24 months, and beyond.
The longer you breastfeed, the better the benefits to both you and your child!
Breastfeeding benefits toddlers and young children...nutritionally, immunilogically and psychologically.
* Nursing toddlers benefit NUTRITIONALLY
* Nursing toddlers are SICK LESS OFTEN
* Nursing toddlers have FEWER ALLERGIES
* Nursing toddlers are SMART
* Nursing toddlers are WELL ADJUSTED SOCIALLY
* Nursing a toddler is NORMAL
* MOTHERS also benefit from nursing past infancyYou can read more on the above on the Kellymom site.
There are also some other great resources out there, including Dr. Sears and LLL.
Some great books I reccommend are:
The Breastfeeding Book
Mothering Your Nursing Toddler
The Breastfeeding Answer Book
The Womanly Art of BreastfeedingThe Nursing Mother's Companion
These are all great resources to arm yourself with information, the next time you are confronted on your personal choice to breastfeed, and the most important thing you can do for your baby and toddler!
Becka has a Bachelors in Early Childhood Education and Development, and has 18 years experience in the field. She is a Certified Parent Educator and Licensed Baby, Toddler, and Preschool Sign Language Instructor. You can visit her site, at www.learnandgrowtogether.com