breastfeeding past one year+

Codie - posted on 12/23/2010 ( 83 moms have responded )

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please don't take me as being rude, i'm really just curious! please explain to me why some mothers continue to bf well past a year into 2 or 3yrs. i just don't understand. how can you be comfortable with breastfeeding a child who is old enough to either ask for the breast or go ahead and lift your shirt to attempt a latch all on their own? you stop passing the immune support at 6mo and at the 12m mark they can have cow's milk and regular table food. so why continue?

like i said i'm not trying to be rude or hurtful, i'm only trying to educate myself. i currently am bf my 6mo along with feeding solids and formula. i plan to bf until my baby is either walking or 1yo...which ever comes first.

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[deleted account]

Janelle, The article also said right after that that the problem of food sugars is easily solved by good teeth brushing. So if you brush baby's teeth after eating then these sugars won't be there when you nurse. I understand that your son may have had other factors involved that caused cavities, but breastfeeding is frequently blamed and alone it's usually not the cause. Genetics, sugary foods, pre-existing teeth problems, etc. play a huge role.

Becky - posted on 12/27/2010

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if i may ask.. why is when your baby "walking" have to do with when you would stop BFing??? My 8 month old just started walking.. stopping BFing him because he is taking steps would never make me stop feeding him...
I plan to exclusively BF him to one year and then feed him in teh morning and night after that ( i am a full time nanny and bring him along but will be working somewhere else after his first birthday so won't be able to feed him during the day (so when he is 12 months during the weekdays during the day he'll get cow's milk)
breastmilk is extremely beneficial to a child's immune system up to age 2. So if he still wants to breastfeed up to age 2 , then i will do it freely.. I am teaching him the sign for Milk right now and he's doing pretty good at it.

Jannelle - posted on 12/27/2010

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Sara, thank you for the article but it did mention exactly what I said previously.
"However, when a small amount of sugar was added to the breastmilk, the mixture was worse than a sugar solution when it came to causing tooth decay." The mixing of solid foods and juices with breastmilk. Don't get me wrong, I breast fed my son until he was around 18 months old. Breast feeding is best and I will breast feed all of my children as long as they want it still. My post was just about my experience with it. It shocked me to hear that about the breast milk. The article also mentioned that some children may be more prone to caveties. My guess is that my son is more prone, bacteria is held in his upper lip area due to the large tight muscle, and the sugars mixed w/ the breast milk. I wish I would have been more informed about this and that is why I wanted to bring it to other mothers attention.

Kelly - posted on 12/27/2010

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I fed my son until he said he was too old for it. He was just over two and a half. It was just right for us. We enjoyed the special bonding time, and I wanted to keep it going until we were both ready to stop.

Amy - posted on 12/27/2010

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i just took it as it came and my son self weaned at about 15 months. It's just what worked for us. As for cow's milk - it is very hard to digest. My doctor told me at a year to try rice or almond milk [if there was not history of nut allergies]. He said soy milk and cow's milk was hard for young tummies to digest. I think America has some kind of stigma against it. Not sure why. Maybe just because we are taught to look out for US. I know some moms who wean because it's "easier" and I think that's just kinda lazy. The child should come first. Each child is different and there is no set age when to wean. I feel there is a great bonding that I missed out on with my daughter because I didn't breastfeed. I was uneducated and trusted others that formula was the best thing. It was NOT. I wish I knew then what I know now. I pumped and gave my son breastmilk until he was about 18 months, I think. Then switched to the almond/rice milk because of the nutrients. He didn't have cow's milk until 21 months. Another plain reason we breastfed as long as we could was...well, gee, it's free. We were/are on one income. Milk is expensive if they're going through it like crazy. My daughter was walking at 10 months. I think that's too early to wean. It's ultimately up to you when and how you wean, just asking you to not just go by mom's on here....go get a few books and do some online research. You'll be amazed at what you find and may nurse a bit longer.

Amanda - posted on 12/27/2010

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I also am not trying to be rude. You seem to be terribly misinformed. If you look up the American Academy of Pediatrics you'll see that they suggest breastfeeding beyond the first year. Immune support does not end at 6 months. And at a year, their stomachs are able to HANDLE cow's milk, which is a lot different than saying its the best thing for them. I know you didn't say that its the best thing for them, but thought I'd point that out.
I mostly weaned my daughter at 14 months, but continued nursing her at bedtime and when she woke up until 18 months, and she is the healthiest child in my family. She's had normal sicknesses with fevers and coughing, but I have never had to take her to the ER, she has never had an ear infection. And after I did the first weaning, she didn't insist on eating at times other than those I set, so there was no shirt lifting. It was still the best thing for her, along with regular food. You don't have to breastfeed all day to keep your milk, you can keep it for a long time with just one or two feedings, and it still helps their health, so that is why I did it. I commend you for trying to get both sides of the story.

Alecia - posted on 12/27/2010

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my daughter weaned herself at 5 mnths despite my efforts to do whatever i could to keep her going (my boob and her mouth were not a good match). i would still be BF her now at 15 mnths if she had continued. i want to bf my next one as long as possible. its the best thing for them and so good for mommy too

Merry - posted on 12/27/2010

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http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detsleepth...



http://www.aafp.org/online/en/home/polic...

THis is what the American academy of family physicians says about breastfeeding beyond infancy-

""As recommended by the WHO, breastfeeding should ideally continue beyond infancy, but this is not the cultural norm in the United States and requires ongoing support and encouragement.69 It has been estimated that a natural weaning age for humans is between two and seven years.70 Family physicians should be knowledgeable regarding the ongoing benefits to the child of extended breastfeeding, including continued immune protection,71 better social adjustment,72 and having a sustainable food source in times of emergency. The longer women breastfeed, the greater the decrease in their risk of breast cancer.73 Mothers who have immigrated from cultures in which breastfeeding beyond infancy is routine should be encouraged to continue this tradition. There is no evidence that extended breastfeeding is harmful to mother or child. Breastfeeding during a subsequent pregnancy is not unusual. If the pregnancy is normal and the mother is healthy, breastfeeding during pregnancy is the woman's personal decision.******* If the child is younger than two years, the child is at increased risk of illness if weaned.********** Breastfeeding the nursing child after delivery of the next child (tandem nursing) may help provide a smooth transition psychologically for the older child."""



it's just too bad most American family physicians don't follow what is advised here. :(

Merry - posted on 12/27/2010

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http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detwean.ht...
This is about how humans naturally wean.we as a species are designed to breastfeed for 3-7 years.
We as a society don't approve of that in many countries, but world wide the average weaning age is 4.
So really, weaning before 4 years is weird.
Most 4 year olds in the world are still breastfeeding so we are the weird ones not letting our kids get the full natural time they are designed to have at the breast.
I want my son to have every good thing he can out of life,and breastfeeding is an obvious benefit that I could never take away from him.
My boobs are here only for him, so why would I make him stop before he is ready.
He says boob when he wants to bf, and I think it's good for him to know that boobs are FOR children.
There is no other reason we have them but to feed our children. So theres no expiration date.

Jannelle - posted on 12/26/2010

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My son also has an abnormally tight upper lip. The dental surgeon told us that it was the most muscular upper lip he has ever seen which could have also contributed to the caveties. (we've also been trying to figure out if my son has a myostatin defficiency, abnormal amount of muscle mass. But struggling with his current pediatrician to do tests) He did also mention what I did previously about the breast milk mixing with the solid foods. Perhaps the only reason my son had caveties was because of his lip and had nothing to do with breast milk.

[deleted account]

Jannelle, my son is 2 years 9 months and still breastfed.... and the dental hygenist we saw a couple months ago said his teeth look great. My girls were only nursed til 15 months, but at 9 years now.... they've never had a cavity yet and been eating solids since they were 3.5 months old. ;)

Jannelle - posted on 12/26/2010

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I breast fed my son for over a year. I have that special bond and plan on breast feeding all future children as long as it is possible. However, I do have a warning to all mother's who are breast feeding after your child starts solid foods. My husband and I brush my sons teeth regularly and have since they came in. When he had his first dentist appointment we found out he had a couple caveties. This was pinned on breast milk. Breast milk is great for a child's teeth and helps protect them. That is until they start solid foods and it mixes. Then it turns into a playground for plaque and bacteria. I was warned by the dentist and a few articles that I was given that you should stop nursing at the age of one just because of the teeth. I plan on nursing with my next baby only until they are one (even though the connection is what made it hard to stop w/ my 1st) but I feel that one year is probably long enough to help boost their immune system and give them a healthy start.

Katie - posted on 12/26/2010

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Good to know! My daughter has really sensitive skin and it's so sad when she gets irritated and has no relief. I find wipes make it so much worse, we always wash them with warm water before we use them and that helps. She's sadly not nursing anymore but I'll file your tip away for eventual baby #2. Thanks!

Lise - posted on 12/26/2010

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Katie, my daughter showed an allergy to cow's milk when she drank it and woke up SCREAMING - bright red all over down there. I applied some fresh breast milk, and she immediately calmed down. I just let her little body air dry and then applied another coat of my milk and let it dry again. The next morning when she woke up, the diaper rash was gone. We've done this three times.

When she was littler, I found that she'd easily get diaper rashes (I think now that maybe it was when I drank too much milk). We'd stop using wipes and just wash her with a wet wash cloth and apply some breast milk at night before bed, and she'd go months without another diaper rash. I really recommend it! If nothing else, it takes away the pain of them.

Katie - posted on 12/26/2010

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Lise, this is slightly off topic, but I was just wondering how breast milk cured a horrible diaper rash? My little one has gotten a very very sore bum when teething and do you apply the milk to the diaper area? We eventually needed a prescription for her rash, and hope to avoid anything like that in the future. I've never heard of using breast milk for that purpose. And was the rash a yeast rash? Would the sugars in the milk exacerbate that problem? So many questions!

Lise - posted on 12/26/2010

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My daughter has been "asking" for breast milk since the night she was born. The fact that she now using signs or vocal language for it doesn't change the fact that it's the same mand she's done since birth.

She's also been latching herself on since 3 months....

Your milk NEVER loses its immunity. It is always beneficial. Breast milk is amazing stuff. In addition to feeding my daughter, it's gotten rid of a horrible diaper rash, cured her pink eye, and cured her ear infection. Breast feeding is also amazing. It offers her food/drink, comfort, and reconnection with me. My daughter is 14 months old.

I enjoy breastfeeding her, and she is so attached to it. Why fix what isn't broken? It's better for her than formula, has benefits no solid food ever can, and offers amazing benefits to me.

Why would you stop? I'm just as curious about that as you are about my decision to continue. What miraculous change does a baby go through from 11 months 28/29/30 days to 12 months? Or from crawling to walking? My daughter started walking at 8 months; there is no way I would have stopped then.

My daughter is lactose-intolerant; she reacts badly to cow's milk. She's been having table food since 6 months old, but that doesn't decrease the benefit she gets from my milk, so I see no need to change anything.

Becky - posted on 12/26/2010

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Breast feeding is the best thing for a baby/child both nutritionally and emotionally. The benefits for both mother and child have only just begun to be discovered, IQ, less obesity, immune system, reduced risk of breast cancer.
All other milk is second best, this doesn't suddenly change at 6 months 1 year or more. for a child there is a natural time when they no longer ask, thats when they don't need it any more.
For my four boys that was between one and a half and two and a half years, I'm still feeding baby Lottie she is fourteen months, she asks "booz mummy" and i feed her.
I would feel uncomfortable not feeding her she has taken the time to learn to ask and it is a special quiet time for us together, she likes it, i have it, why wouldn't you!

Savona - posted on 12/26/2010

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Yeah Ive heard the facts about Breast-feeding being good for their immunity up to 2 years aswell >.> I dont see how many mothers are able to breastfeed that long, Kudos to you guys =D, it was hard enough for me to reach as long as I did which was only 6 1/2 months.
I personally think for others who manage to breast-feed past a year they enjoy the bonding? Im not sure, my mother breast-fed my sister till she was two and then my sis bit her and shes like "nope youre cut off" heh... was always difficult at dinner time ^^! Thank goodness I dont gotta listen to her scream like that anymore lol.
Eitherway, goodluck with you and your bub =)

[deleted account]

So true, Didi! My orignal goal was one year. I thought I "had to" wean since that is the attitude in the U.S. As we approached a year I felt like we weren't ready to wean. I did research and found out that you still reap all the benefits of breastfeeding past a year. So here I am pregnant and nursing a 20 month old and I love it.

Lydia - posted on 12/25/2010

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it's not true that the immune support stops at 6 months... and there are plenty good reasons to continue.

Sylvia - posted on 12/25/2010

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Um, no, you don't "stop passing the immune support at 6mo". Where on earth did you hear that? o_O

I can tell you still have a very young baby :) I also used to be unable to imagine nursing an older child (I didn't think it was weird or gross or wrong or odd, just couldn't picture myself doing it), but you know, you don't suddenly go from nursing a tiny baby to nursing a three-year-old; it's only in hindsight that you see how different the one is from the other, because every day is only a tiny bit different from the day before it. By the time you're nursing a three-year-old, it seems just as normal as nursing a six-month-old did when you were doing that.

As for why? Well ... lots of reasons. If she still needs it, she still needs it. It's still passing on immunities, it's still human milk for a human baby/toddler/child, it's still free and environmentally friendly and always available, it's still #1 at heading off tantrums and soothing owies, it still helps her get to sleep, it's still a way to comfort and cuddle ...

I guess my question would be, Why not? :)

Celeste - posted on 12/25/2010

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So true, Didi! I never thought I'd nurse as long as I did. My first daughter, I said that I'd nurse until she got teeth or 6 months, which ever came first. Then I said a year. That came and went. My twin boys, I set a limit but I surpassed those as well.

Didi - posted on 12/25/2010

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Most women don't plan to nurse a toddler, it just happens very slowly one day at a time. I think you will be surprised at how much a baby they still are at one year old.

Nursing is still the number one tool in my mothering arsenal. I use to put my 13 mo old down yo sleep, when he hurts himself, for bonding (he is busy so nursing is the only time I can cuddle him) and, of course food.

There are great benefits for mom too. The one I like the most is the decreased chance of breast cancer for every year you nurse.

There is some great advice above! I would recommend visiting a lll meeting and asking them the same question. They'll have a library you can check out books on the subject and see toddler nursing first hand.

Noreen - posted on 12/25/2010

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I am still breastfeeding my 15month old. As far as not passing the immunities after 6mo, that is FALSE. You still continue to pass immunities to your baby/toddler as long as you are nursing them. It is just a myth that you don't pass immunities or that it isn't beneficial to your child after 6months of age.

My reasons to continue to nurse until ATLEAST 2 is because for one, she is SEVERALLY allergic to cow's milk. Babies still need high milk fat into their 2nd year of life. Soy milk or almond milk do not have the high milk fat in them like breastmilk or even cow's milk. Not only that, I am not to fond of the idea of giving my daughter soy milk with all the controversy about it and the allergist highly suggested that I don not give her almond milk until 2. He also suggested that I breastfeed until 2.

Another reason why I breastfeed my toddler is because she is not a cow. Breastmilk is SO much better for her then cow's milk (even without the allergy) so why not give her the best when I am able to provide the best?? She doesn't lift my shirt to get milk, but she will fuss and sign milk until I give it to her.

I am very proud to say that my daughter has NEVER had a single bottle with either breastmilk or formula in it or a single drop of formula. She is all breastfed and has been since birth! :)

Allison - posted on 12/25/2010

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Well the other ladies have great advice, and after nursing my son 2 1/2 years I concur wholeheartedly :) The immunities are there as long as the milk is there, there is no reason to give cow milk (which doesn't have the right nutrient balance for humans, anyway), BF has health benefits for mom, and a WHOLE bunch of comfort reasons.



As others said, my son NEVER was allowed to just lift my shirt or anything like that. He also used signs, and talked pretty early, so he would ask and I would say yes or no depending on situation, time of day, etc. He is almost 4 now, and one of the most calm, respectful, healthy and well-balanced kids I know - honestly :)



I never planned a "stopping" date, and told people that when they asked. You aren't on any kind of deadline, and it's your child to raise in the most healthy way possible. Like others said, I just took it one day at a time, and it worked so well I saw no reason to quit. And we didn't ever need to "wean" - which was SO much better than what all my early weaning friends went through at 6 months or 12 or 18 months!!! At 2 1/2 he was only nursing in the morning and bedtime, anyway, and was clearly seeking more independence from mom, and I was feeling quite ready to be done, so one day I asked if we could just skip the nursing that night and he said OK - and never asked for it since!



A few of my favorite benefits:



When sick, especially from about 12-18 months old, he would often ONLY take breastmilk. If he had a stuffy nose and having trouble eating or drinking or nursing, I would nurse him IN a warm bath and it would instantly clear his nose, hydrate him, and put him to sleep :)



Because my immunities passed directly to him, except for a couple of colds he NEVER got whatever nasty bug I may have picked up! That includes severe strep throat (which I got about 3 times), a couple of flu-like bugs, and a severe sinus infection I got when he was about 16 months. Breastmilk is SUCH amazing stuff!!!



I worked full time from 2 months on, so it was a great opportunity for us to reconnect at the beginning and end of the day.



We also flew quite a bit (about once every 4 months), and he never ONCE threw a tantrum on a flight, because like the other ladies said, I just nursed him at take-off and landing, which usually just put him right to sleep :)



Also, if we were in any really stressful situation (delayed flight, crowded bus stop, etc) and couldn't get food, or he got hurt or was scared, if other methods of soothing didn't work the boob ALWAYS did. This was ESPECIALLY helpful when he was first walking (and falling a lot) and again at about age 2 when he was potty training, or when he was stubborn about taking a nap or going to bed (nursing = sleep ANY time!!!). Not that I popped him on the boob any time he was sad, but it was really a life saver at times, even as my friends' toddlers were rolling on the floor in a rage :) I feel like until at least age 2, kids really need something like nursing for that really close, comforting, familiar support to return to when they are tired out from exploring, making new friends, and trying new, and for them sometimes scary, things.



One last thing - although kids can start solids at 6 months, they aren't always the most consistent, healthy eaters every single day - so I felt that at least for a while, I could be sure I was supplementing his nutritional needs with my milk. Now that he is almost 4, he loves cow milk but we still alternate with almond and soy milk so he's not overloaded on it.

Melanie - posted on 12/24/2010

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I fell pregnant with my 4th bby when i was bf my 3rd bby. He was 8mths and my milk some reason stopped :( My son up till then never had a cold or infection. 3 weeks after i stopped bf him He had a cold, took him 2 the drs and he had a chest infection and an ear infection in both ears!! I belive if he was bf still he would have been ok. My 4th bby is 3weeks old now and i plan 2 feed her for as long as she wants :D x

Celeste - posted on 12/24/2010

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Please read those links that Sara provided and read the threads that explain the benefits of nursing past one. Immunities DO NOT disappear at 6 months. Immunities, as well as other benefits continue as long as the child nurses.

To be honest, after nursing 3 children well past 1, I don't understand why a child meeting a milestone, whether it be walking or talking, makes nursing "weird" or "wrong" all of a sudden. So what if they can walk and talk?

It also seems that you have some misconceptions about a nursing toddler. My children never just lifted up my shirt and helped themselves. You can set boundaries and teach nursing manners.

Nursing has also helped my children through illness-through diarrhea, through RSV, flu. They didn't feel like eating anything but they still continued to nurse. I truly believe that nursing helped them get through their illness quicker. And to add to that, their pedi ENCOURAGED me to continue nursing them.

[deleted account]

All the links for the facts are above, so I'll just tell you about my personal experience with breastfeeding a 16 months old. First of all, she is absolutely thriving. Bar one little cold in january, the first time she got really sick was about six weeks ago. First vomitting bug, than throat infection. She wouldn't eat any solids at all for a week and not that much after that for quite some time either. But she nursed! Not once was I worried about her food or fluid intake as I knew she was getting enough. On our way back from holidays we were stuck on a plane for four hours after a night of travelling in the car. She was the only baby on the plane not having major tantrums because every time I could see one coming on I latched her on and she calmed down. Also, she is a really bad sleeper, and breastfeeding and co-sleeping helps both of us to get more sleep. I also feel she still needs that connection with me. For how much longer I don't know, but I am happy to let her have. I think as time goes by your perception might change as well. It's hard to imagine nursing an older child when yours is just a baby. But month after month passes and it still feels normal. It might start anoying you or becoming inconvenient but I don't think it'll ever feel weird to you. Anyway, enjoy your research. I found all the facts on the subject really fascinating when I first started reading up on it. Good luck to you.

Momof1 - posted on 12/23/2010

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It is actually recommended until the age of 2. My son is 13 months and I still like knowing that he is getting all the nutrition he needs, especially if he doesn't eat enough fruits/veggies a day. This way I don't have to give him juice!!! I don't really know how much longer I will continue. We can do anywhere between 5 times a day to 2 times a day. Bryce doesn't actually ask for it. He doesn't say "milk or boob" and he can't lift up my shirt, either. I don't have a problem breastfeeding (from the breast) til age four, although that is not for me! But after that, I think it is too much to be on the breast, but I would have no problem with somebody pumping and giving their older child milk.

I don't know (personally) anybody who has even breastfed for as long as me. The only person I know who is close is my friend who has a son 4 months behind Bryce. My husband/mostly everybody he knows thinks it is weird, but that is coming from people who chose to formula feed (for reasons....) Anyway, I don't find it weird, to me it is the same as under one, except way quicker. It's not like, "hey, my kid is one, lets boot him off the breast." Whole milk doesn't have many nutritious factors to it. He only gets whole milk when I work on weekends. If I were you, I would def. go to a year, even if your baby is walking. Just do more research on it. I've read that the average age is 4 years. For me, personally (as I've said above), I want some time off between breastfeeding and getting pregnant again. Not to mention not having my period for 21 months (not the same for every woman.) Unfortunately that ended this past Saturday.

[deleted account]

I respect your opinion not to nurse past one year, but you are not informed on how breast milk works. The immunities NEVER go away. As long as your child nurses you will pass those immunities to them. As they get older they usually nurse less frequently. To make up for that our breasts make milk that is richer in antibodies and fat. It's amazing what our bodies can do. I have nothing against cow's milk (I grew up on a diary farm), but cow's milk is not made for humans. Why give cow's milk when you can give something made specifically for your child? I don't let my 20 month old come up and lift my shirt. She has to ask for milk by signing milk (she can't say milk yet). I established nursing manners early so that she wasn't doing thing like grabbing at me because I don't like that. Another reason I've continued: my daughter has rarely been sick. Recently she had her worst illness to date: a stomach virus. She had diarrhea 8-9 times in a day for four days straight. She refused all table foods, water, pedialyte, etc. All she would do was nurse. If she wasn't nursing I'm certain she would've suffered from dehydration. She's never had to be on antibiotics either. Breastfeeding will always be beneficial to your child no matter what their age. There are also countless benefits for mom. One of the big benefits is the reduced risk for breast, ovarian and uterine cancers. If you breastfeed for 2 years total in your life you can reduce your breast cancer risk by 50%. That's pretty amazing to me. As I said before, the benefits of breast milk never go away. Here's some info:

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/bfextended/eb...

http://www.llli.org/NB/NBSepOct07p196.ht...

Michelle Carpenter - posted on 12/23/2010

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Well, there are as many varied reasons are there are mother/child pairs, I'm sure. IYou could do some research online about this. Immune support is passed on for much longer than 6 months. The World Health Organization has now recommending breastfeeding to at least age 2. There is a special bond that mommy and baby have while continuing the breastfeeding relationship. My son is 16 months and like you and I only planned to continue to 1 year. Breastfeeding my daughter was a difficult and stressful time for both of us for various reasons, but my son loves breastfeeding and it helps him stay healthier. There have been times when he is sick that he only holds down breastmilk. Also, when he has picky eating days, I know he is getting a lot of great nutrition to help him grow. I could probably go on and on about the fun it is to have this time but, again, I would recommend doing some on-line research and I'm sure other moms will post also!

Good luck to you and your baby!

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