What are the Pros and Cons of Breastfeeding a Toddler

Wondering whether you should continue breastfeeding into your child's second or third year of life? Check out the pros and cons of breastfeeding a toddler.

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!

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

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.

Related: Breastfeeding in Public: Is it Indecent or Natural?

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!


20 thoughts on “What are the Pros and Cons of Breastfeeding a Toddler”

  1. It was neat to read all of the comments and to see how long everyone breastfed for. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing it just weeks or months, or choosing not to do it all. Regardless of what you do, feeding a baby takes time!

  2. My kids lost interest in breastfeeding about the time they could start solid foods. That was okay with me because once they started getting teeth, it hurts when they bite.

  3. I was lucky and my daughter nursed until she was 14 months old. It was an amazing experience i would recommend to anyone.

  4. Ann Bacciaglia

    I was able to breast feed my kids till about a year old. I would have loved to go longer but i did not produce enough milk.

  5. When to stop is totally up to mom and baby. I stopped at 6 months of age because I grew tired of my babies using me as a chew toy. Those little teeth really hurt!

  6. I think nursing is perfectly natural and is up to the kids on when they want to stop. I nursed my middle daughter for only about nine months and am proud I did.. meanwhile, my youngest went to almost 18 months. I let them show me when they were ready :)

  7. I think the appropriate age to stop breast feeding is the one that the mom and the child are comfortable with. It’s all an individual thing.

  8. I would breastfeed as long as I could. For my oldest, my body stopped producing milk around 4 months. i was not happy.
    My 2nd I lasted until 6 months until I dried up. Again I wasn’t happy. I wanted to make it at least until 1 year.
    Then my daughter, I actually was doing well but SHE weened herself at 8 months. Goodness, I have no luck, I can’t comprehend how people can keep breastfeeding into toddler-hood.

  9. I love breast feeding! Yes it is hard on the body, but I think it is so worth it! My baby is so healthy and as long as I eat right and work out I stay feeling really well!

  10. I breastfed my son until he was one year old, but it was rough on my body. I stopped at one year old because I felt that he had received a lot of benefits already, but I had problems with yeast infections throughout nursing. It was definitely a decision where I balanced the pros/cons of my own health and his.

  11. Robin (Masshole Mommy)

    I think over a year old is too long to keep breastfeeding. Maybe breast milk from a bottle, but I think they need to be weaned.

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