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How Long Should I Breastfeed My Child?: What Experts Say on the Subject
How long should I breastfeed my child? Mothers the world over wonder at this and experts have given a fitting response for it.
Most mothers wonder how long to breastfeed a child to get the health benefits associated with breastfeeding. There are a few information in this flying around, and it can get a little confusing knowing which is true.
However, while all these sources mean well, it’s always best to stick with an authority source, one well versed in the topic of breastfeeding and its benefits.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends breastfeeding for at least two years. It supports exclusive breastfeeding for six months and mixed feeding afterward.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exckusive breastfeeding for 6 months, mixed feeding (breastfeeding and the introduction of solid foods) for at least a year. After that breastfeeding can continue for as long as the mother and child wish.
WHO and other authoritative health bodies like UNICEF, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) all support breastfeeding, especially exclusive breastfeeding due to these reasons:
Some Top Benefits of Breastfeeding
Here are some top laws and benefits of breastfeeding:
- Colostrum, the first milk that comes out of the breast after your baby arrives, is one of the richest foods in the world. It is highly concentrated and is densely packed with helpful nutrients like protein and antibodies to help build your baby’s immune system.
- It’s also a laxative and helps get rid of meconium, your baby’s first stool.
- Breastmilk, the milk that comes right after colostrum, contains all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals your baby needs in the right proportion.
- Breastfeeding significantly reduces death from acute respiratory infection and other such childhood diseases that claim lives. Babies who are breastfed have a six times more chance of survival than formula-fed babies.
- Breastfeeding protects your child against allergies and ear infections.
- It intensifies the effectiveness of vaccines taken and also reduces the risks of SID.
- Breastfed babies have been known to have a higher IQ and perform better on behavioral and intelligence tests.
- Children that are breastfed, especially exclusively for the first six months, have a reduced risk of developing chronic conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and asthma much later in life.
Mixed Feeding: What You Should Know About Its Risks
Mixed feeding involves giving other foods alongside breastmilk and poses the following risks to your baby:
- It reduces the amount of milk you produce, seeing as you wouldn’t be producing milk to meet your baby’s needs.
- It also increases your baby’s risks to diarrhea and other infectious diseases.
How Long Should I Breastfeed My Child? Making the Decision
Recommendations have been put forward on the right breastfeeding duration, and while these bear some logic, how long you choose to breastfeed depends on you, your health, and what you believe will work for you.
Any amount of breastmilk your baby receives is beneficial and will go a long way in boosting her development and also protecting her from diseases.
That first colostrum and the breastmilk afterward will both work to give your baby the immunity she needs to grow and thrive.
Read More: Why Does My Child Grind Her Teeth at Night?
Dealing with Other People’s Views
One of the hardest parts about breastfeeding a baby is dealing with other people’s views on the subject. You will find everyone has an opinion on how long your baby should be breastfed and won’t hold back from voicing these to you.
However, in the end, what matters is your views and decision on the issue. You should do what works for you and your baby and not let anyone guilt-trip you into doing what they want.
Work with your doctor to find out the best feeding plan for your baby.