More than 90% of mothers breastfeed after childbirth. Breast milk is extremely healthy for the newborn: the child is supplied with the milk via the milk with all the important nutrients it needs for healthy development.
But over the time infants should ideally be breastfed, there is disagreement between doctors, midwives, and scientists.
When to stop breastfeeding is a topic that always raises dust each time we talk about it in our forums. Because not everyone agrees with what the medical experts says. It all depends on you. Some mothers go 12 months, while others don’t even want to breastfeed for 3 months. As you can see, it’s quite relative and it depends on what you want.
How long is breastfeeding?
How long is breastfeeding? This question concerns many mothers and spreads a great deal of uncertainty. The World Health Organization advises all mothers to breastfeed their baby for six months and then slowly feed them.
How long does the normal breastfeeding take?
Prehistoric-era bones, biblical interpretations and historical records show that breastfeeding in our latitudes used to be significantly longer than today.
Researchers assume that at that time the children were not weaned by the mother’s breast until about two to three years. Breastfeeding of toddlers was by no means the exception until well into modern times.
From the point of view of evolutionary behavioral research, long-term breastfeeding is not a malicious behavior, but a typical human standard. But the question of “How long to breastfeed” is still not completely answered. Which factors speak for or against breastfeeding?
The mother’s breast as an optimal food source for babies and toddlers
Basically, for breastfeeding, the nutritious breast milk, which adapts not only in terms of the amount available, but also in their composition optimally to the needs of the child? Breastfed children receive all important vitamins and are well protected from pathogens.
In the U.S., the average breastfeeding takes just under seven months. About 21 percent of women still breastfeed their nine-month- old baby.
In one-year-old infants only eight to nine percent receive breast milk. Fully breastfed, that is, without any complementary food, the U.S. children are about until their fifth month of life.
Breastfeeding mother surveys showed that very few people had planned to breastfeed their child for more than 12 months from the beginning.
What accounts for the long-term breastfeeding?
- For many women, it just feels good and right. They enjoy the nursing process itself and the physical proximity to their child.
- It has been proven that children who have been breastfed for longer are less likely to be overweight in their later lives.
- Breast milk protects the child from pathogens beyond the sixth month of life .
- The risk of getting an allergy is significantly lower in children who have been breastfed for longer than in non-breastfed children.
- Long-term breastfeeding prevents dentition anomalies.
Incidentally, despite the potentially damaging effects on jaw and teeth development, most people find it normal to have two or 3-year-old running around with their pacifiers in their mouths. For healthy children keep their sucking instincts until the fifth, and sometimes even up to the age of seven.
How long is breastfeeding? — A Decision to abstain
It has been proven that, in Western countries, women’s working conditions have made a major contribution to changing the societal perspective on the natural diet of babies.
Logically, it is much more difficult to nurse a child in the factory than in a field in the highlands of Nepal. As a result of these influences, the inner evaluation of breastfeeding by the mothers themselves has changed in the industrialized countries.
Even though no one denies the benefit of breast milk, many people are irritated when a two-year-old pushes up his mother’s sweater and begin to drink, in response to the question of how long to breastfeed; one of the following reasons for weaning is often used.
Women often give the following reasons for weaning:
- Serious illness and/or medication.
- Breastfeeding problems that cannot be solved by pumping , homeopathic remedies or breastfeeding counseling.
- The child does not want the breast anymore.
- The occupational situation no longer allows longer breastfeeding.
- Breastfeeding, pumping out and feeding are altogether too expensive.
- The man reacts jealously.
- Appetite for certain foods and alcohol.
- Yearning for independence. The desire to go out again or sleep through the night.
- Renewed pregnancy.
Note: A woman who decides to stop breastfeeding should not have to justify herself!
How long to breastfeed or when to stop?
Breastfeeding for four to six months.
Six months after birth, only 30% of mothers still breastfeed.
Breastfeeding issues such as a lack of milk or sore nipple pain continue to increase, and many mothers stop breastfeeding in the first few months.
For many years, breastfeeding for six months was considered a general recommendation for mothers. In the first six months should be exclusively breastfed, and then added to the diet slowly.
Recent research suggests, however, that it could be healthier for the toddler to feed the first after only four months.
Breast milk protects against many diseases
In the first few months of the new life, breast milk is the best possible food for the baby. More so, breast pumps can supplement feeding the baby. In its ingredients, it is perfectly tailored to the needs of the child and provides exactly the vitamins, minerals and trace elements needed for the development of the body.
Breast milk thus strengthens the immune system and protects the infant from many pathogens; it is easily digested and has the ideal temperature.
Because the milk promotes the development of the immune system, it is believed to play an important role in protecting against allergies, which can be formed by a weak immune system.
In addition, regular breastfeeding characterizes the bond between mother and child , experience security, closeness and warmth. In addition, breastfeeding helps the mother to lose weight after pregnancy, because her body consumes some extra calories for the production of breast milk.
Long-term breastfeeding could increase the risk of allergies
In order to give the best possible protection to the child, mothers should, if possible, fully breastfeed for at least the first four months after the birth, at the earliest at the beginning of the fifth month should be started with the gift of complementary food .
New findings suggest that children who have been fully breastfed for only four months have no higher risk of allergies than children who have only been breast-fed for six months.
Too long a full breastfeeding, in turn, could increase the risk of developing allergies and iron deficiency. After the end of the fourth month, the child should therefore be brought slowly to the complementary foods and thus started with the nursing .
For those who do not manage to fully breast-feed their child for four months, they do not have to feel bad about it. Thanks to constant research and development, baby food is now a good substitute, even without breast milk infants can grow up perfectly healthy.
Long-term breastfeeding: mother and child should feel well
Even if breastfeeding ceases after six months at the latest and supplementation with breast milk should be given, there is no fixed time for weaning. As long as mother and child feel comfortable with regular breastfeeding, it may continue to take place.
If a child is still occasionally breastfed after his first birthday , the medical world speaks of long-term breastfeeding. For the development of the child , long-term breastfeeding through the numerous healthy ingredients in breast milk is quite beneficial.
Studies show the health benefits:
While a child is breastfed, their immune system is much less susceptible to all kinds of infections. Long-term breastfeeding has also been shown to lower the risk of overweight, allergies, and adult-onset asthma.
The myth that mother’s milk is harmful to older children has already been refuted. Those who opt for the long-term breastfeeding, enjoys the close bond with the child.
But the mothers are also limited in their daily routine . Breastfeeding not only costs time, it can also limit the independence of the mother. More so, mothers who breastfeed a child over one year old are still rarely seen in public.
How long to breastfeed or when to stop?
So, if you ask yourself when the ideal time to stop breastfeeding has come, then you should pay attention to your own feelings about breastfeeding and the child’s reactions.
A general point in time cannot be mentioned, as long as the mother and child feel comfortable when breastfeeding, the close bond may be continued.
Why many women only breastfeed for a short time
“The best fast food in the world — that’s breast milk,” says experts.
Nevertheless, around half of the women are breast-feeding shorter than the recommended six months. There are several reasons.
The recommended breastfeeding time frame is six months and then breastfeeding and supplementation until the age of two. If desired, breastfeeding can be continued for longer.
WHO, as an international organization, also considers special cases, such as serious infectious diseases such as contaminated water: in less developed countries, breastfeeding reduces infant mortality. These could shorten the time frame.
Many are overwhelmed by breastfeeding in the first exhausting time. In addition, all the pictures of happy nursing mothers suggest that it is the simplest in the world. But that just shortly after birth, some problems such as pain or breast infections may occur, usually gets out of focus.
How can this be changed? The course for successful breastfeeding is already set in the hospital after birth. However, there is often a lack of proper care, criticized by Garden, who is also a member of the National Nursing Commission (NCP), a body promoting breastfeeding.
If the child is misapplied, the mothers often have such pain after two or three days due to hurting nipples which made them to quit. And that, before the milk flow really got going.
Experts see the mothers a great uncertainty: their belief in themselves — and thus the intuitively correct behavior of the baby — are increasingly lost to young women. To give the bottle and, for example, to know exactly how much the child has drunk suggests in the end more control.
But also in this country, mother’s milk is considered optimal nutrition for infants and conducive to the bond between mother and child.
Both sides benefit from health: The baby’s risk of infectious diseases, allergies and asthma drops. Breastfeeding in mothers can reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. At the same time, milk substitute food is so balanced that even children who are not breastfed can grow up healthy.
However, social behavior is likely to influence breastfeeding in practice. According to a recent study commissioned by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, explicitly negative reactions to public breastfeeding are rather rare.
However, one in four respondents was ambivalent or negative about breastfeeding in public places. For every tenth of the surveyed mothers who had already weaned, the negative attitude in public was a reason for the weaning, it was said.
Discrimination in the cafe
Especially in restaurants and cafes, breastfeeding can be perceived as inappropriate, as a year ago, a case from Berlin showed. A young mother clashed with a Café owner and then petitioned for legal protection of breastfeeding in public.
Although the topic was widely discussed, its demand remained without consequences in the end.
The National Breastfeeding Commission, wants to encourage women to breastfeed in public. In a statement, she advocates a clear appeal to the population and to mothers: Breastfeeding is healthy and cannot wait – no matter in which circumstances.
Every mother should try to fully breastfeed her baby for at least five to six months.
However, unless a mother can or wants to breastfeed for so long, she does not need to have a bad conscience. Appropriate infant formula from the vial does not compromise the baby’s health.
The term “long-term breastfeeding” is relative.
From a pediatrician point of view, children who have been breastfed for a very long time, if they are fed in accordingly, do not suffer any disadvantages.
Ultimately, the feelings of the mother and her child are always crucial. As long as breastfeeding pleases both, it can be continued.