The Benefits of Breastfeeding Past One Year - Milkful

Free Shipping on Subscriptions

The Benefits of Breastfeeding Past One Year

July 03, 2018

The Benefits of Breastfeeding Past One Year

Many mother’s feel pressure to stop breastfeeding and wean once their child has reached one year of age. But this timeline is not rooted in scientific or medical knowledge. Breastfeeding beyond infancy is recommended by many health organizations as it provides nutritional benefits to the child and offers mothers long-term health benefits.

Breastfeeding for Two Years or More

Both the World Health Organization and UNICEF encourage mothers to breastfeed to two years and beyond.

The World Health Organization and UNICEF recommendations on breastfeeding are as follows: initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour after the birth; exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months; and continued breastfeeding for two years or more, together with safe, nutritionally adequate, age appropriate, responsive complementary feeding starting in the sixth month.

Is breastfeeding beyond infancy natural?

Absolutely! The Mayo Clinic shares that, “Worldwide, babies are weaned on average between ages 2 and 4. In some cultures, breast feeding continues until children are age 6 or 7.”

Historically, breastfeeding played a crucial part in lowering infant mortality rates and children were rarely weaned until they self-weaned.

Milk Composition Changes with Extended Breastfeeding

Studies have found that extended breastfeeding leads to a higher concentration of fat and energy per ounce of breast milk.

"Thirty-four mothers, of term, healthy, growing children, who had been lactating for greater than one year (12-39 months) were recruited. Control subjects were 27 mothers, of term infants, who had been lactating for 2 to 6 months. Fat contents of the milk samples were estimated as creamatocrit (CMT) levels. Energy contents of the milk were measured with a bomb calorimeter.

Human milk expressed by mothers who have been lactating for greater than one year has significantly increased fat and energy content, compared with milk expressed by women who have been lactating for shorter periods. During prolonged lactation, the fat energy contribution of breast milk to the infant diet might be significant."

So as your body continues to produce milk, that milk continues to support your growing child.

Are there nutritional benefits to breastfeeding past one year?

KellyMom shares the nutritional benefits of breast milk for children in their second year. In the second year (12-23 months), 448 mL or 15 oz 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

Can breastfeeding benefit mothers?

Breastfeeding has many long-term health benefits for women. The Cleveland Clinic reports that women who have breastfed are at a lower risk for different cancers, diabetes and several diseases.

Breastfeeding may result in:

  • Lower risk of breast cancer
  • Lower risk of ovarian cancer
  • Lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
  • Less endometriosis
  • Less osteoporosis with age
  • Less diabetes
  • Less hypertension decreases blood pressure
  • Less cardiovascular disease

Remember breastfeeding provides comfort.

"Breastfeeding is a warm and loving way to meet the needs of toddlers and young children. It not only perks them up and energizes them; it also soothes the frustrations, bumps and bruises, and daily stresses of early childhood. In addition, nursing past infancy helps little ones make a gradual transition to childhood." -Elizabeth N. Baldwin, Esq. “Extended Breastfeeding and the Law”

The notion that breastfeeding must stop at year one is a recent and arbitrary date. For as long as you and your child wish to continue, breastfeeding past infancy should be encouraged.

Keep Reading #MomTalk: Tales of Pumping at Work ›

Disclaimer: Some portions of this site may provide you with health-related information or information about Milkful products based upon information that you provide. However, that information and other content provided through the site (collectively, “Content”) are presented in a summary fashion and intended to be used for educational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as a recommendation for a specific treatment plan or course of action. Your use of this site or the Content does not create a doctor/patient relationship. This site does not offer medical advice and nothing provided through this site, including any content, is intended to constitute professional advice for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this site or any Content to diagnose a health or fitness problem or disease. Use of this site or any Content does not replace medical consultations with a qualified health or medical professional to meet the health and medical needs of you or any other party. Do not disregard the medical advice of a physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of any information you obtain from the Site.


The Benefits of Breastfeeding Past One Year>

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in The Milkful Blog

Does Having a C-Section Affect Your Breast Milk Supply?
Does Having a C-Section Affect Your Breast Milk Supply?

October 16, 2018

There are specific post-partum practices after a cesarean that can lower a women's breast milk supply. Read how to prepare for these breastfeeding hurdles.

Continue Reading

Why All Breastfeeding Moms Should Advocate for Skin-to-Skin Contact
Why All Breastfeeding Moms Should Advocate for Skin-to-Skin Contact

October 16, 2018

This precious bonding time allows for mothers and babies to breathe in each other’s scents, lower each other’s heart rates, and warm up together. Skin-to-skin care (or kangaroo care) also opens up the window for a mother to initiate her first breast-feed and has shown to have a positive effect on long-term breastfeeding habits.

Continue Reading

Folate and Folic Acid – What Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women Need to Know
Folate and Folic Acid – What Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women Need to Know

September 09, 2018

Folate and folic acid play a vital role in embryo development, healthy pregnancies, and infant survival rates. Up to 50% or more of neural tube defects could be prevented with proper folic acid supplementation prior to conception, reports The American Academy of Pediatrics. Read more about this important micronutrient for women of childbearing age and learn the recommended daily intake as well as foods that provide folate.

Continue Reading