So, I must have missed the memo, but apparently breastmilk is completely worthless after a child turns 12-months-old. Sure. *rolls eyes*
But seriously, I’m really not sure how this got started, or why people are under the impression that children should only breastfeed during infancy. According to the World Health Organization mothers are encouraged to nurse their children “…for up to two years of age or beyond.” This recommendation greatly exceeds the ‘breastmilk is only for newborns’ theory.
Recently, I started a #100daysofnursing challenge on Instagram. It was here that I realized the absolute hell that many mothers face for breastfeeding their toddlers. I came across comments like ‘she’s only doing it for herself’ or ‘that’s sexual abuse’ and my jaw dropped. Do people really not realize the endless benefits of breastfeeding your baby through toddlerhood? So I’ve compiled a list of my 5 favorite benefits of breastfeeding toddlers.
Immune System
 
At one year old, a child’s immune system still needs time to mature. It is already well documented that the mother’s milk provides immune system support in infants-and that doesn’t just disappear once a child hits their first birthday. Actually, according to many studies, when compared with their weaned peers, breastfed toddlers were less likely to get sick, develop allergies, or asthma.
Obesity
Like with immune system support, much of the medical field agrees that breastfeeding helps lower the risk of obesity in childhood. But new studies and evidence are proving that the longer a child breastfeeds, the lower their risk of developing childhood obesity. When examined at one year of age, breastfed infants consistently had significantly lower levels of fat than did their formula-fed peers. According to La Leche League International, kindergarten aged children who were never breastfed had obesity rates at nearly 5%. In children of the same age who were breastfed for longer than 12 months, their obesity rates were less than 1%.
Convenience
Okay, yes, breastfeeding does have its perks for the parents. While, at this age, many parents have to pack lunches and meals for a day out with their toddlers, breastfeeding mothers just have to take their boobs. As little A eats more and more, I have started taking along a few snacks, but the majority of the time he’s content with eating from me.
Protects Teeth
Wait, what?!
I know, but it’s true. Many breastfeeding mothers are told to stop when their baby starts getting teeth because the milk will sit on them and cause cavities. Children’s teeth (or milk teeth) are very fragile, and an untreated cavity can quickly and easy rip through one. It was recently discovered that breastmilk actually contains a component, lactoferrin, which kills the strep mutans bacteria. This bacteria was also found to be the leading cause of tooth decay in children.
Ear Protection
Ear infections are terrible, awful things for a child to go through. And parents definitely understand the struggle. Many infants and toddlers have several ear infections early in life because they often follow after illness. According to Dr. Sears, breastfeeding can help protect those delicate little ears.
While I understand that breastfeeding is not for everyone, it is well documented that it is highly beneficial for toddlers. And, I would appreciate not being made to feel like a sexual predator when I am feeding my child.
Until next time,
Savannah

 

Author: Savannah Baker

Savannah is a full-time mom of one, and can often be found outside on one of her various adventures. She enjoys carving her own path through natural and holistic living, as well as discovering ways to use food as medicine.

  • I was able to breastfeed both of my children. I am shocked at how others today are so mean to mom's who are trying to feed their kids! Thanks for sharing these benefits! #KCACOLS

  • I have only really started my breastfeeding journey as my baby is 4 months old. I love breastfeeding it has so many benefits. I am going to try my hardest to fit it around work when i go back in October xx

    #KCACOLS

  • Breastfeeding trends changes with the food available. In earlier times when agriculture wasn't as widespread kids were breastfed up to the age of five just because there wasn't as much food, or anything soft that could be mushed up. In the middle ages it lowered to ago of two. Now it's the first twelve months because we have the access to food, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't or couldn't be done.
    Great post.
    #kcacols
    http://www.queerlittlefamily.co.uk

  • There certainly seems to be a lot of benefits to breastfeeding.Xx #KCACOLS

  • There certainly seems to be a lot of benefits to breastfeeding.Xx #KCACOLS

  • I'm going 11 months now and don't plan on stopping in a months time'! Lol! I'll go as long as he needs or wants it. He has less in the day now become eats so well. #kcacols

  • I love this. I originally planned to nurse 'at least 8 months' and then 'probably just until a year' but Babystar is 11.5 months and I don't see an end in sight any time soon. Where on earth did I even get those arbitrary deadlines?

  • Min

    I'm still breastfeeding my 22 month old and no plans to stop. *sending virtual high five to you across cyberspace.* Its crazy how people-mainly, in my case-my own mother-seem to think that's strange just because it's not "the norm." #KCACOLS

  • Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Sarah!
    I TOTALLY get what you mean about proper etiquette. Andrew is the saaaaame way. When I'm holding him, he'll just throw his body to the side and try to pull at my shirt, so I'm trying to teach him that's a no-no. He's definitely beginning to eat much more food as well, so nursing throughout the day is limited. Night time and mornings are an always thing here as well (:

  • Thank you so much for your comment! It really is so convenient. I think it's important to go as long as your kids want to. Some wean earlier, some later <3 Andrew definitely nurses MUCH less than he was even two months ago. I mostly just follow his lead #KCACOLS

  • Arthur is 16 months and still breastfeeds – he loves it and is showing no signs of wanting to stop and that's fine with me. I've had lots of illnesses and bugs this year and I am positive that the reasons Arthur hasn't suffered or has suffered much less than me is because of the antibodies he is getting from my milk – if he is sick, my body will register from his saliva and start producing antibodies to help him combat the nasties. I am trying to teach him good etiquette though. At the moment if he wants to feed he pulls at my top and says "milt!!!" He likes to have them both out ready so often I keep the feeds to when we are at home. He usually only asks if we are at home, and during the day this is usually only if he wants to snuggle, has hurt himself or is upset. He always feeds before bed and in the morning and still a few times over night too – which can be hard as it is so tiring. He still hasn't slept through the night even once! Our bodies were made for this – it is a shame that there are so many negative comments on your Instagram. X. #KCACOLS

  • I breastfed until 18 months and would have for longer, but my kids just didn't seem interested any more. It was so convenient though, as well as having all of these benefits. Thanks so much for linking to #KCACOLS this week, hope to see you again next week