Pros and Cons to Breastfeeding Past 12 Months

Wondering about the Pros and Cons to Breastfeeding Past 12 Months? We'll help you out with our tips that let you decide the best way to feed your baby!

Check out the pros and cons to breastfeeding past 12 months. It seems to be more common or well known these days that breast milk is still beneficial for children past 12 months.  They call this ‘extended nursing’.  It is no secret that breast milk has nutrients and minerals that just can’t be replicated by formula.  They can try but it just isn’t the same. Like all things, though, there may be downsides.

Related: What are the Pros and Cons of Breastfeeding a Toddler

Pros and Cons to Breastfeeding Past 12 Months

Western culture seems to be the only one that has viewed extended breastfeeding as abnormal.  If you decide to continue to breastfeed past your little one’s first birthday, you will most definitely be dealing with comments and dirty looks from strangers but maybe even friends and family.  Use this opportunity to educate them, they may just not know the benefits of extended breastfeeding.

For starters, if this is something you and your child enjoy, then why stop?  It is not harming anyone.  In fact, it is very beneficial to both.  Your child may be going to daycare or just having play dates, in which he will be more exposed to sickness and illness.  Because you are breastfeeding, he will be sick less often than his non-breastfeeding buds.

Related: Breastfeeding On Demand: Is it Right for Your Baby?

You actually have benefits too!  Because you continue to nurse, your risk of breast and ovarian cancer is lowered.  One other (possibly) little known fact is that breastfeeding can delay your period.  I say ‘can’ because everyone is different.  Nursing your child is a source of comfort, for both of you.  Picture the mom walking her crying, inconsolable child around.  Then picture you nursing your upset child.  He is content right?

There can be some downfalls to breastfeeding past 12 months, but it is all a matter of opinion really.  Like I have said before, you will have to deal with stares and comments from others who just don’t understand.  For some reason, we as a culture think that when a child hits his first birthday that is the absolute measure of when nursing should stop.  It is a personal choice.  People might say that your child is too attached to you.  I still do not know why that is a bad thing.  I want my children attached to me, in the sense that they know they can come to me as a source of comfort and safety.  Extended breastfed children actually show more independence and self-esteem than others.

The bottom line is that extended breastfeeding is a very personal choice.  One only you can make for the benefit of you and your baby.  Or you can choose to not make that decision and stop whenever you feel comfortable.

 Is extended breastfeeding something you are thinking about doing?  Maybe you have seen some moms doing this and you wanted to know the pros and cons to breastfeeding past 12 months?  Share your personal stories with us below!  Moms all need to stick together!

20 thoughts on “Pros and Cons to Breastfeeding Past 12 Months”

  1. I love reading these articles, I mentioned to my husband the other day that I wanted to nurse at least to the 12 month mark and he thought I was crazy. That it was “way to long” silly man, I wonder what he would think about this? In the end he agreed that as long as everyone was happy nursing there was no reason to stop, we’ll have to see how our baby does with nursing in the first place!

  2. I loved the bond breastfeeding created. I nursed my son until he was almost 2. I would have gone longer, but we wanted to have another baby, and I couldn’t get pregnant while nursing.

  3. I have two boys and my eldest I nursed until he was just over 3 years old. His brother, who is 23 months old, I am still nursing. I have absolutely no problem extended nursing. I know the benefits are amazing for both of us and I love the closeness it creates. :)

  4. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)

    I always thought it was standard to stop at 12 months, but then again, I didn’t do it at all.

  5. I wish I could have breastfed longer, but I did not produce enough milk. I am not sure how long I would have breastfed if I had a good milk supply, but I think women should do whatever feels right for themselves and their family!

  6. ‘ Because you continue to nurse, your risk of breast and ovarian cancer is lowered. ‘ i did not not know this

  7. Elizabeth Matthiesen

    I’m afraid that in the days when I was breast feeding it wasn’t really the thing to do, bottle feeding was in and there was little or no help with breast feeding. My first I only nursed for 9 weeks – mainly due to the fact that I was told/ordered to weigh him before and after each feed and if he had 10 gr too little then I had to mix up 10 gr and feed him from a bottle. I also had to keep to a strict 4 hourly feeding – I just didn’t know any better at the time. As more children came along I did learn more and in the end I was feeding on demand, which was also quite exhausting as the babies often came every 2 hours. One I did feed for a year but had to stop since I had a cyst in my breast. I did enjoy nursing my babies and am glad that there is now more info out there for those wanting to nurse.

  8. I nursed my children for over a year and loved it. My daughter had a son 4 months ago and so far so good! She’s been a nursing pro and I hope it continues!

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