In so many other cultures, breastfeeding toddlers is common and not at all taboo (like it seems to be here in the US). There must be benefits to continuing to nurse if so many people around the world continue to do so. Aside from it being cheaper than formula (ok, free) what are the pros and cons of breastfeeding a toddler? Let’s talk about that!
Pros and Cons of Breastfeeding a Toddler?
Breast milk is loaded with nutrients and fats necessary for development. Does that mean your formula-fed child will not develop properly? No, not at all! It is just that breast milk is natural and how cool that it comes with everything our little ones need? For example, after the first year of breastfeeding your child is still getting almost 100% of their daily B12 requirements (that is in about 448 ml of milk). A toddler is going to be eating solid foods, so having breast milk is just an added bonus! Your breastfeeding toddler may be sick less often than his friends. The antibodies in breastmilk increase after 2 years. That’s a definitely “pro” in the pros and cons of breastfeeding a toddler!
As your child grows and becomes more independent, you still have that special bonding time while you nurse. And why stop a good relationship? Some studies show that the children who are breastfed longer have better social relationships and mental health. Do not feel you are depriving your toddler if you choose to stop breastfeeding! Simply put, there are many benefits to continuing to nurse. Sort of like the icing on the cake of your well rounded child. Just giving them a little bit more to grow and live healthy.
With all of the positives to breastfeeding a toddler, there are some downsides. For one, they have teeth. Need I say more? Aside from the possible physical pain that might accompany nursing a toddler with chompers, there is the social stigma you might face from judgemental people. Whether you breastfeed at night in the privacy of your own home or in public at times, you will no doubt be faced with some criticism, While we know it is no one’s business how we choose to feed our children, people always feel the need to give their opinions and tell you that you are wrong.
People might feel the need to tell you that you are hindering your child’s independence, or making them more attached to you. This just simply isn’t true. Kindly use the opportunity to educate such people, and be sure to smile. Kill them with kindness (and knowledge).
What did you do with your children? If you breastfed, did you continue to do so as they grew into toddlers? What sort of pros and cons of breastfeeding a toddler did you experience? How did people react to your decision? Share your stories with us below!