By Fredrica Syren:
I am fortunate to have breastfed three kids. I nursed my last one the longest, for 22 months, and he just stopped on his own. I have to say that I was not ever really prepared for when my kids would stop nursing, and it always left me feeling a bit sad that that time was over. What I will not miss, however, is others’ endless questioning of why I was still nursing my child and for how long I planned to do it. The funny thing is that I could understand why they would ask that after one year, but I got that question as soon as my kids turned 6 months — as if it were wrong to nurse beyond 6 months.
My first and second child self-weaned at 9 and 8 months. One day, they both lost interest and, after 48 hours, I took it as notice of an end to the milk contract between us☺ My third child, however, kept going and, since I believe in keeping going until one of us gets tired, we did … for 22 months.
Nursing a child after the age of one has it benefits. If you are one of the lucky to have breastfed your child through his/her first birthday, you can congratulate yourself on having provided him/her with the best nutrition he could possibly receive. Of course, as the child becomes older, breast milk is not as critical from a nutritional standpoint, but the truth is that there are many proven health benefits for your child. Breast milk contains immune boosting properties, and at no point does breast milk become nutritionally negligible. Furthermore, breastfeeding a child after the age of 1 year also provides a source of profound comfort and security, which lays the groundwork for a confident, happy and healthy future.
But there are more good reasons for breastfeeding beyond 1 year. Longer breastfeeding also lowers a woman’s risk for breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease.
So, you can bet that I feel darned proud and happy to have breastfed not just one or two, but three kids — and one of them beyond his first year.
More about benefits of breastfeeding: