Wednesday 5 August 2015

Positive About Breastfeeding - Beyond Babyhood

Thanks for hopping over from Another Bun or Dad Thoughts, and welcome to my post for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt - Day 5: Extended Breastfeeding.
We have over £700 worth of breastfeeding and baby goodies up for grabs, including prizes from More4Mums, providing a set of 'Hot Milk' Lingerie; a signed hardback limited edition copy of Milky Moments; and a £30 voucher from Milk Chic. 
Full details of the Grand Prize can be found here and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.


 Extended breastfeeding, or as it ought to be known, full-term or natural-term breastfeeding, is generally considered to be still breastfeeding a child over the age of 1 year, though there are many, including a lot of health care providers, who seem to think that it refers to anything over 6 months!  The World Health Organisation state that, "Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond." This isn't just for those in developing countries, as is often thought, but refers to children all over the world.

I think sometimes there is a fear that allowing a child to continue to breastfeed as long as they want will mean that their mother will be tied to the settee for years, but nursing a toddler is very different to nursing a newborn. The near constant feeds reduce. Breastmilk is no longer the main source of nutrition. Snacks and toys and noises and the possibility that something interesting might be happening somewhere else can all distract from feeding. It is during toddlerhood that the ability of breastfeeding to comfort and console really comes into its own. And when the penchant for putting all manner of germy things in their mouths can be counteracted by the continued antibacterial and antiviral properties of breastmilk. Breastfeeding can even be more enjoyable during the second year and beyond. Little ones no longer rely only on mum for everything; nursing time is accompanied by books and toy cars, and feeds are shared with soft toys, thrust at our breasts by overly-keen mini lactation consultants; the gymnurstics begin.

Breastfeeding Toddler
See! I told you I could do yoga at the same time!
Some toddlers feed several times during the day, but not at all at night; others are too busy to feed during waking hours, and save their milky time for the quiet of the night; others are random and unpredictable; and some get themselves into quite set routines. B nursed loads, day and night, until I got pregnant with M, and had to help her to cut down because I had an awful nursing aversion; M feeds when she wakes - too early! - in the morning, to get to sleep for her nap and at bedtime. If she wakes in the night, which isn't too often now, then she will usually feed back to sleep, though I sometimes have to poke the Hubby, with instructions to take her downstairs and bring her back asleep. She only really feeds for her nap during the day, but if shes bored or hurt or ill, she'll feed at other times too. Generally though, she is far too busy, and having a big sister is a big distraction too!

Toddler in Wellies and a Shower Cap
She dressed herself - do you think
I could force her to breastfeed?!
I have heard others say that extended breastfeeding is all for the mother's benefit, but I would beg to differ. It's a struggle to force a toddler to do anything, let alone lie still and have a feed. If they don't want something, they put up a fight, and I, for one, don't want a struggling, toothy toddler anywhere near my nipples!

The longer a woman breastfeeds her child, the more energy and fat her milk will contain. And all the nutrients her milk has always contained are still there, but in more concentrated form. A toddler will be having shorter, more infrequent feeds, and yet will still be getting a huge amount of goodness.

"In the second year (12-23 months), 448 mL of breastmilk provides:
  • 29% of energy requirements
  • 43% of protein requirements
  • 36% of calcium requirements
  • 75% of vitamin A requirements
  • 76% of folate requirements
  • 94% of vitamin B12 requirements
  • 60% of vitamin C requirements" (Dewey, 2001)
Toddlers are notoriously picky when it comes to food. Why would we deprive them of such an easy source of nutrients? KellyMom has a fantastic page on Extended Breastfeeding - check it out.

Toddler feeding dollAnother lovely result of breastfeeding a toddler is seeing them feed their dolls. Breastfeeding is such an important part of their lives, and it's normal to them. When they are role playing and practising being grown ups, it makes perfect sense to them to feed their babies the way they are fed.

It's also really great when you can talk about feeding with your kids. M is 20 months, but she tells me her milk is tasty. And the glee on her face when she's about to be fed is infectious. I remember B telling me that milk tasted like strawberries too. And she named my breasts - Pirate and Eye-Patch - so that she could request them by name!

Now enter the competition using the Rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


For more extended breastfeeding experiences please hop on over Renegade Feminist, where you can gain further entries into the grand prize draw. 
Full terms and conditions can be found on the Keeping Britain Breastfeeding website. 
UK residents only.

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