Posts Tagged ‘benefits of nursing’

Benefits of Nursing Baby Past Six Months

Friday, May 30th, 2014

The Benefits of Nursing Past Six MonthsMany women start out on a nursing journey after their child is born but quit soon after. For some, it is a health reason or personal choice that stops nursing. According to breastfeedingbasics.com, 77 percent of mothers nurse at birth, but less than 47percent are still nursing at 6 months, and only 25 percent continue past 1 year. But what about those women who are still nursing when baby is older? There are many benefits to nursing baby past 6 months, even after they have started eating solids.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends “exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months, with continuation of breastfeeding for 1 year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant.”  While we all know breastfeeding is best for baby, what are some of the benefits baby’s receive the older they are from nursing?

  • Continued immune benefits from mother’s milk
  • Easy way to comfort an older infant and soothe to sleep if needed
  • Breast milk is best for children who may be allergic or have a low tolerance for formula or cow’s milk.
  • Positive influences have been shown on baby’s social and intellectual development in many studies.

Nursing past 6 months is beneficial for moms, too!

  • Delayed return of fertility
  • Lowers risks of breast and ovarian cancers
  • Lowers risks of cardiovascular disease
  • Helps moms who are still losing baby weight

The benefits outweigh any stigma you may feel about nursing a baby who can walk or talk. The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine states that “breastfeeding past infancy is the biological norm.” Around 6 to 9 months, getting my daughter to sleep at naptime was a struggle. It was so nice to have a way to soothe and comfort her while calming her down for naptime. During her first 13 months of life, she was never sick. After weaning, we had three ear infections at 15 months back to back.

The benefits of nursing are endless. Keep on nursing and keep on giving your baby their best start, whether it’s a start at life, a start at crawling, or a start into toddlerhood. You can do it!

Karyn Meyerhoff lives and writes in Northeast Indiana. She can’t wait to nurse her son!