Breastfeeding infants is met with incomprehension and prejudice by many people. You will feel like a long-term breastfeeder if you are the only one around you who is still breastfeeding your child and the question always comes up how long you want to do it.
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The Length Of The Breastfeeding Period – How Long Is “Normal”?
First of all, there is no recommendation for the length of breastfeeding. Depending on the society in which you live, you may feel that a certain length of breastfeeding is “normal”.
Breastfeeding Time Is Culturally Influenced
If children were allowed to decide for themselves, they would generally not wean until they were between two and four years old. In the vast majority of cultures, breastfeeding goes on for a long time – far longer than we are used to in Western countries. Here, we are used to mother and child both becoming autonomous as quickly as possible. The way to achieve this is, among other things, a breastfeeding relationship that is limited in time.
Why Is The Duration Of Breastfeeding So Variable?
The answer is self-evident. If a mother breastfeeds her child before it is able to care for itself, it is doomed to die. In humans, it’s different: a baby can survive not only on its mother’s milk. There are sufficient food substitutes.
Social Weaning Decisions
When the woman wants to go back to work, or the child goes to daycare, many choose to wean earlier.
Breastfeeding is often an emotional issue. How comfortable do I feel about it? What does my partner say about it? The influence of the father on the duration of breastfeeding is observed in many cultures.
What Are The Advantages Of Long-term Breastfeeding?
Long-term breastfeeding always means a particularly intensive, physical bond between mother and child. It brings numerous health benefits.
Your child is optimally supplied with nutrients. Even after the first year of life, breast milk supports your child’s immune system.
In the second year of breastfeeding, it even contains higher concentrations of certain antibodies. Defensive substances that the mother has already formed against infections benefit the child. In addition, children who are breastfed longer are sick less often.
The risk of allergies, infections, and obesity, is reduced.
Are There Disadvantages?
Long-term breastfeeding has few disadvantages. Most arguments against long breastfeeding are based on various prejudices. Opponents of a long breastfeeding period often argue that this would be too exhausting for the mother. However, this does not matter as long as the mother eats a balanced diet.
Does Breast Milk Still Have Enough Nutrients?
Many people fear that after a certain age, breast milk no longer contains enough nutrients. However, this thought is wrong, because breast milk, even with long breastfeeding, always adapts to the needs of the child. Of course, complementary food is also necessary from the second year of life.
PrejudicesAagainst Long-term Breastfeeding
Mothers who breastfeed their children for a long time are often subject to prejudice. Many outsiders think that long-term breastfeeding would spoil their child too much. Breastfeeding in public is also considered inappropriate.
Simply respond to criticism with confidence.
The Psychological Side of Long-term Breastfeeding
All the prevailing prejudices can put tremendous pressure on a mother. Many are suddenly concerned whether long breastfeeding, could not harm the development of their child.
However, this must be questioned. No one has ever been harmed by breastfeeding. The National Breastfeeding Commission also emphasizes that the introduction of complementary feeding is not the same as weaning. The timing of weaning is still an individual decision.
On the one hand, breast milk is touted in our society as the best thing for the child, and on the other hand, some people never tire of viewing breastfeeding with suspicion – the baby could perhaps be overindulged by having free access to the breast.
The fact is, long-term breastfeeding is not harmful. There are no disadvantages as long as the children are gradually introduced to other foods. There is no upper time limit for breastfeeding.
With regard to the duration of breastfeeding, mother and child must follow their own rhythm.