Friday, January 21, 2011

Extended Breastfeeding

My son turned a year old last month and I'm still (exclusively) breastfeeding him. Note that for our family, "breastfeeding" is really bottle-feeding him with expressed breastmilk.

Breastfeeding was just something I considered doing when I got pregnant. Before we conceived our son, it never really crossed my mind and frankly, I didn't care. When Swe-cha was born and we were working towards getting him fed exclusively on breastmilk, I was ecsastic when my milk started coming in.

Now, my son is almost 13 months old and I'm amazed and very thankful that we have reached this point and we still have milk coming in. I don't have any plans on stopping, I figure, we'll just do what we can for now and switch to toddler formula or fresh milk when my milk dries up.

Last week, my friend and I were talking about how, despite being tired and jetlagged, I pushed myself to get up and pump just so I could maintain my supply & give my son breastmilk so that the antibodies can help him get well faster (he had cough & colds, eye and ear infection). She said something which struck me, "hindi naman ganon kalaki yung benefits ng breastmilk pag ganito na yung age ng bata diba ? meron pa bang benefits ?"

Hindi nga ba ? So I did some googling and this was what I found:

From this site:
- The American Academy of Pediatrics advises breastfeeding for 6 to 12 months.
- The World Health Organization advises mothers to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months and recommend mothers to breastfeed for 2 years or longer.
- That breastfeeding for 6 months to a year benefits both the mom and the baby. Baby gets antibodies that help his immunity and factors that lower his risk of ear infection, respiratory infection and other diseases. Mom's risk of getting breast cancer, ovarian cancer and type 2 diabetes are lower than average.
- There aren't really a lot of studies done for breastfeeding beyond 1 year so just because there isn't any research documenting the benefits of doing so, it does not necessarily mean that there isn't any benefit at all.

From this site:
- extended breastfeeding can provide your child with vitamins and enzymes which he may not be getting from his diet (this is a big deal for me as my son is a picky eater)
- increased IQ is a benefit of breastfeeding at any age and the benefit only increases the longer you breastfeed
- it is thought to prevent diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and central nervous diseases like multiple sclerosis.

There are many other sites that echo the above statements... but all the articles I've read emphasize one thing - do not let the pros and cons sway you. Extended breastfeeding should be decided by the mom and the child.

1 comment:

Mylene said...

I agree, do what's best. My nephew breastfed until he was 2 and he is very healthy!